Motions to be considered at May 28th Policy Convention: Energy East, sales tax and much more

Policy motions to be considered at May 28, 2016, general meeting of GPA members

Note:  For already adopted policy go to http://greenpartyofalberta.ca/policies/

Another note:  If you want to comment on a motion please include the motion number so everyone’s clear on what is under discussion.

  1. Policy area: Water resources (watershed health)

Motion:  The Green Party of Alberta supports measures requiring the management of the Rocky Mountains’ eastern slopes landscape to move away from logging and focus instead to protection of the headwaters of our rivers.  In particular, the GPA supports the creation of an eastern slopes conservation authority.  Relatedly the Greens would drastically reduce the area over which off-road vehicles can be used in the eastern slopes and would strictly enforce laws and regulations on their use.

GPA policy context:

There is already considerable policy adopted on water.  See http://greenpartyofalberta.ca/policies/ “Water resources”

From the GPA general statement on water:

Like other places in the world, water looms as a major and immediate challenge in Alberta. Indeed water is a critical resource in this water-scarce province.  We have to deal with both the quality and the quantity of this most amazing and vital resource. [Alberta’s] seven watersheds each have their own attributes and requirements. We must protect, conserve, and reuse our water in innovative and socially responsible ways.

Rationale:

According to Kevin van Tighem, “Management of the eastern slopes has to change in order to “give ourselves a more secure water supply, reduce flood risk, restore grizzly bears and create high-quality recreation for all of the people of Calgary and Alberta.”

“The solution is really to get the old-boy foresters club out of the business of managing our headwaters and create a headwaters conservation authority,” said Van Tighem. “If we manage that landscape optimally for water, then by default we get a better landscape for bears, we get a better landscape for wildlife, we get better fish, we get hiking.”

These two articles highlight van Tighem’s views on conservation of the eastern slopes

http://calgaryherald.com/storyline/conservationist-kevin-van-tighem-calls-on-province-to-stop-managing-the-eastern-slopes-of-the-rockies-for-timber-and-start-managing-the-landscape-for-water

http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2016/01/27/watersheds-in-peril-says-to-alberta-wilderness-association.html

The above motion is proposed by Janet Keeping and is based on the recommendations of Kevin van Tighem

 

  1. Policy area: Transition to sustainability

Motion:

The Green Party of Alberta recognizes that we are entering a period of transition, the result of which none of us can be certain.  We hope we can maintain and improve our current quality of life at the same time as ensuring a sustainable future for the generations of Albertans to come.   A Green government will follow our 6 guiding principles to navigate the trade-offs that a society always has to make between various values, and where necessary will invest in sustainability at the expense of current material standard of living.

GPA policy context and rationale:

This motion goes to the heart of what it means to be committed to sustainability one of the Green Party of Alberta’s 6 key principles.  Commitment to sustainability informs many of the policies already adopted by the GPA.  This motion spells out what that commitment means if and when advancing the goal of sustainability runs up against calls for the maintenance or expansion of “material standard of living.”  It relies upon the distinction between “quality of life” (e.g., good health, individual, family and community security and protection of human rights and civil liberties) and “material standard of living” which is an important one for Greens to highlight.

The above motion is proposed by Peter la Bastide.

 

  1. Policy area: Energy

Motion 3A:  The Green Party of Alberta opposes approval and construction of the proposed Energy East Pipeline.

The GPA Policy context:

The GPA already has policy adopted by the membership that is relevant to future development of the tar sands and the construction of pipelines that would serve to support expansion of the tar sands.  For example, the following existing GPA policies are relevant:

The Green Party of Alberta will place a moratorium on development of additional tar sands projects until the impacts of existing and approved projects on the environment, infrastructure and society are assessed and an overall development policy is created.

The GPA opposes the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

The GPA opposes the Keystone Pipeline.

Rationale:

Shipping tar sands crude over 4000 km across Canada is an exceedingly dangerous proposition.  This pipeline would carry over a million barrels a day – one third of the enormous ramp up in production that Alberta is planning.  The pipeline carrying this chemical laden bitumen would follow the St Lawrence and loop down into New Brunswick, crossing the Kennebecasis River, and other water systems, to be shipped from terminals on the Bay of Fundy with its 40 foot tides and high winds.  The water systems and wetlands put at risk by the corrosive attributes of this product are immense.  According to David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, 280 streams and rivers would be endangered just in his province alone.  The refineries in St John cannot handle this product so it will all be shipped to foreign refineries.  It is very difficult to ascertain many benefits – the risks are obvious.

It is worth emphasizing the point that Greens are opposed to the present approach to development of the tar sands and building Energy East facilitates further development along the same damaging lines.

Several other arguments can be made against Energy East, perhaps the most important of which is that going ahead with this project prolongs Alberta’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels at the very time we need as soon as possible to be getting off that extreme dependency, for both economic and environmental reasons.

The above motion was proposed by Diann Duthie.

 

The following two motions are related to the above motion on Energy East:

Motion 3B:  The Green Party of Alberta supports the idea that we should live within our existing pipeline means and thus opposes the approval and construction or expansion of any pipeline the purpose of which is to transport tar sands production from Alberta.

 

Motion 3C:  Although the matter is largely within the jurisdiction of the federal government, the Green Party of Alberta supports the tightening up of all laws and regulations concerning the transport by train of tar sands production and all other hydrocarbons and dangerous goods.

 

  1. Policy area: Public finance

Motion:  That the Green Party of Alberta supports introduction of a sales tax for Alberta.

GPA Policy context: The GPA strongly supports sustainability in its policies and opposes using non-renewable resource revenues for on-going programs.  The GPA urges a more progressive income tax system than we presently have but in the past has also acknowledged that there could be a place for a sales tax.

Rationale:

Longstanding deficits and debt amount to our generation borrowing from our children for present gratification.  This is unethical.  We are supposed to leave our descendants better off, not burden them with debt.

Virtually everyone, at least in theory, follows Keynesian economics, which opposes perpetual deficit financing.  Instead, deficits should be limited to recessions, and the amounts should be recouped with equivalent surpluses during prosperity.

The present fiscal situation in Alberta clearly shows that we have a revenue problem much more than a spending problem.  If we set aside oil and gas revenue in the Heritage Fund, as our party wishes to do, it is impossible to imagine break-even public finances without tax increases.

Alberta is the only province in Canada without a sales tax and a sales tax is almost the only source of potential new revenue for the province.  People concerned about Alberta’s “tax competitiveness” might consider the following:

A 3% Alberta sales tax harmonized with the present 5% GST would result in an 8% combined tax.  Compare this with the harmonized rates in Saskatchewan of 10%, in B. C. of 12% and in Ontario of 13%.

At 5% Saskatchewan’s sales tax is the lowest of any province which has such a tax.

In the UK the equivalent tax (the Value Added Tax, or VAT) is 20%.

People are rightly concerned that sales taxes are regressive, as they hit the poor hardest, but the federal experience with GST rebates to low-income Canadians shows this problem can be solved.

Opponents of tax increases apparently believe in the tooth fairy (manna from Heaven will pay for our expenses) and their naive belief that no tax is a good tax should be rejected.

The above motion is proposed by Phil Elder

 

  1. Policy area: Health

Motion:  That the Green Party of Alberta supports inclusion of basic dental care – regular check-ups, teeth cleaning and treatment of problems detected – in the services provided by AHS.

GPA Policy context: The GPA strongly supports publicly-funded health care and is especially supportive of measures that prevent disease and ill-health.

Rationale:

  • It is generally recognized that there is a connection between overall and oral health. According to Health Canada:

“Oral health is not only important to your appearance and sense of well-being, but also to your overall health. Cavities and gum disease may contribute to many serious conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory diseases. Untreated cavities can also be painful and lead to serious infections. Studies are also currently examining whether there is a link between poor oral health and heart disease and between poor oral health and women delivering pre-term, low birth weight (PLBW) babies.”

  • Canadians are committed to health care coverage for all regardless of ability to pay. Accordingly, it is only reasonable that basic dental care be included in the coverage provided by Alberta Health Services.
  • The most likely objections to this policy concern cost. In response:

o          Money will be saved through health care costs avoided when oral health issues become serious.  It may well cost the tax-payer more to keep people unhealthy (because e.g., they end up in emergency departments) than to provide dental care as needed;

o          Many people will be that much more productive because with access to dental care they can stay healthier and thus greater tax revenues will be generated;

o          Alberta Greens support bringing in more revenues through taxation, for example, through more steeply progressive income taxation and/or implementation of a sales tax, where the provision of essential services cannot be achieved without that additional revenue;

o          It is profoundly unfair that some people can afford dental care and some cannot.  Whether a person has ready access to dental care is a serious socio-economic divider – it is part of the growing gap between rich and poor.  This is a pressing problem that is evident in the community:  from observations during the recent by-election campaign in Calgary-Greenway, the divide between haves and have-nots was obvious when people opened their mouths to speak – in the poorest areas residents’ poor oral health was obvious;

  • The Green Party of Canada’s platform for the 2015 federal election included the following:

o          “Expand health care to cover … public dental coverage for low income youth (under 18 years of age), …  It is appalling that in a country as wealthy as Canada, our children do not have guaranteed no-cost access to high quality dental care. In order to address the crisis among the most marginal in our society, we will expand our public health care coverage to include dental coverage for low-income Canadians under the age of eighteen.”

  • Green Party of Alberta policy should be bolder and more socially just: coverage should not be limited to low-income Canadians under the age of 18.  Paul Allison, Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry, says “Canada’s most vulnerable populations have the highest rates of dental decay, pain and disease, but the worst access to this much needed health care service.”
  • According to Allison, a report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences… states that “a whopping 95 per cent of dental care is paid out-of-pocket or through private dental insurance and is delivered in private dental offices. The remaining 5 per cent is covered through a hodgepodge of public health programs offered federally and provincially, targeting the needs of specific populations, with many falling through the cracks.”
  • Who are the Canadians without dental insurance?: They are, according to Allison, “commonly, new Canadians, the elderly, people working in insecure jobs and for low wages, and their children”.  So the discriminatory nature of who now has dental insurance and who does not is obvious.

References:

Paul Allison “Why dental care should be included in the public health system”:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/why-dental-care-should-be-included-in-the-public-health-system/article20614696/

Health Canada Bulletin on “The Effects of Oral Health on Overall Health”:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/dent-eng.php

The above motion is proposed by Janet Keeping.

 

  1. Policy area: Health

Policy area:  Health

Motion:  The Green Party of Alberta supports changes that would see the cost of prescription drugs covered by our provincial healthcare program.  The Green Party recognizes that the costs to government of providing pharmacare will be less if implementation of this program is put in place and coordinated across the country.  For example, the provinces will be able to get a better price on many drugs if they purchase them jointly rather than province by province.  Accordingly, the Green Party strongly supports a pan-Canadian approach to implementation of pharmacare but wants to see the province of Alberta show leadership on this issue.

GPA Policy context:  Social justice is one of the GPA’s six fundamental principles.  It is profoundly unjust that the cost of prescription drugs is not be covered by AHS:  more affluent people get the drugs they need while others do not.

Rationale:

Every developed country in the world with a universal health care system provides prescription drug coverage, except Canada. Truly universal health care means guaranteeing that all Canadians have access to the medication they need, and the Green Party of Alberta will fight to expand public health care to cover prescription medication.  Pharmacare will especially benefit senior citizens and others with chronic illnesses and conditions, the people who spend the most on prescription medication.  It will provide much needed coverage to the many Albertans who have to pay out-of-pocket for prescription medication every year.  (Much of this rationale is taken from the Green Party of Canada’s argument in favour of a national pharmacare program.)

The above motion is proposed by Carl Svoboda.

 

  1. Policy area: Health

Motion:  Alberta Greens would provide funding for visits to professionals who specialize in giving advice on how to live healthier lifestyles in order to help people avoid or alleviate avoid chronic diseases and conditions.

GPA policy context:

Our introductory statement on health policy posted on the GPA website includes this:  “Green Party policy on health stresses the importance of wellness and prevention of illness through the elimination of poverty and homelessness and environmental policies that will keep our air, water and land free from contaminants which cause disease.”

Included in the policies already adopted by GPA members on health are these:

  • “The Green Party of Alberta supports a preventative approach to healthcare” and
  • “A Green Party government would work with health care professionals to empower individuals to improve their own health.”

Rationale:

Doctors tell patients to change their lifestyles but many need help and monitoring to do that.  Many of the conditions that Albertans (and other Canadians) suffer from are at least partially preventable.  So paying to help Albertans life healthier lives will reduce ultimately health care costs, reduce suffering and enhance quality of life.

It is not known who proposed the above motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Housing

Motion: The Green Party of Alberta supports policies aimed at ensuring there is sufficient affordable and appropriate housing to meet the needs of all Albertans.

GPA Policy context:  Social justice, sustainability, diversity

Rationale:

This includes those who cannot afford market-priced housing and, in particular,   Albertans suffering repeated or chronic mental-health issues who require not only affordable housing but housing in appropriate facilities such as family homes, group homes, supported living apartments, etc. in which mental-health supports are integrated and readily available.

It is not known who proposed the above motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Housing

Motion: The Green Party of Alberta supports the new small house philosophy and will develop policies to help accommodate this style of housing.

GPA Policy context:  Social justice, sustainability, diversity

Rationale:  ‘Livability, sustainability and affordability’ are all enormous advantages to people, neighbourhoods and cities. Building a group of small houses that share a common green space or building back lane houses are two of the interesting possibilities with great potential. More and more people are interested in these options.

It is not known who proposed the above motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Housing

Motion: Adopt a building code for straw and earth structures.

GPA policy context:  Sustainability

Rationale:

This change will allow for access to inspections, insurance and mortgage borrowing for people who want to build more sustainable housing, but are impeded by the fact there are no current codes that provide standards for such buildings.

It is not known who proposed the above motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Housing

Motion: A Green Party government will revise and update the current provincial social housing regulations, and will develop a long-term capital plan for additions to and maintenance of that portion of the social housing supply that is owned by the Province.

GPA policy context:  Sustainability, social justice

Rationale:

The provincial government owns or supports 26,500 social housing units, which are administered by 340 organizations, the largest of which are the Calgary Housing Company and the Capital Region Housing Authority. The proposed motion addresses the current needs of the administering organizations.

The Calgary Housing company (http://www.calgary.ca/CS/OLSH/Pages/Calgary-Housing-Company/Calgary-Housing-Company.aspx) manages almost 10,000 low income and subsidized housing units in Calgary. It is a subsidiary of the City’s Office of Land Servicing and Housing. Their current stock is 9722 units, of which:  CHC owns 1772, the City owns 2561 and the Province owns 2817.

In addition, they administer 2572 rent supplement agreements. The rent supplements are funded by the province. Otherwise, there is no provincial funding for operations, and the Company is self-financing through its rental operations. Affordable housing is a provincial responsibility under the Seniors ministry. There has been no construction of new provincial units since 2012. In the past, the province has been more active. If it wanted to build more, it would have to get land, permits, etc. Neither the city nor the province owns much suitable land. The province has more capacity to build housing than does the city, because it has more borrowing power. Not likely to happen under current conditions.

Their wish list from the province is (1) Revision of the Provincial social housing regulations ( appendix to the Residential Tenancies Act), as they are out of date; (2) A long term plan for maintenance of the province’s housing stock. Presently it is done on an ad hoc basis, and (3) Decision on what to do with provincial properties that are coming to the end of their financing agreements (paid off).

The above motion is proposed by Carl Svoboda.

 

  1. Policy area: Housing

Motion:  The GPA calls for imposition of a (modest) “accessible housing levy” on all real estate transactions in the province to ensure there are funds to support the commitment to provide sufficient affordable and appropriate housing to meet the needs of all Albertans.  All revenues collected from this levy would go towards the provision of accessible housing which means towards social housing (free to those with no money and available for lower than market rent to those who can afford to pay some rent) and for purchase housing for those who can afford to buy but not at current market rates.

GPA Policy context:

  • Social justice is one of the Green movement’s foundational principles.

Rationale:

  • Adequate housing essential to dignity and social justice

It is not known who proposed the above motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Human Rights (Hiring equality)

Motion:  The Green Party of Alberta supports amending the Alberta Human Rights Act to require prospective employers to eliminate names, gender, and age from initial hiring and application processes in order to reduce discrimination.

Green Party of Alberta policy context:

Green principles speak quite directly to this matter:  Respect for diversity and Social Justice.

This is the general statement on human rights from the GPA web site:

Respect for human dignity and individuality lies at the heart of human rights. The Green Party of Alberta supports robust legal protection for the human rights of all Albertans. The Party would ensure that the Human Rights Commission functioned effectively to promote respect for human rights in the province.

Rationale:

Studies have shown that “common” names on resumes are overall received more positively than obviously “ethnic” names.  So the purpose of this motion is to better protect equality of opportunity in employment.  Eventually employers will become aware of the identities of the people they hire but this moment should be put off as long as possible to achieve greater fairness.

There may be circumstances where this requirement could be impossible for employers to comply with fully, for example, where an applicant’s gender or age is essential to the job opening.  For example – this was taken from the Ontario Human Rights Commission web site:  “A job program for people under 25 is put into place to combat youth unemployment.”

However, the Alberta Human Rights Act already takes this situation into account:  when what would otherwise be discriminatory – for example, advertising a position as restricted to women only – will not be contrary to the Human Right Act if being female is a genuine requirement for the job.  Some personal care positions are legitimately restricted to one gender to the exclusion of the others.

In circumstances where complying with this requirement were to impose too great a burden on the employer (it’s called “undue hardship”), human rights law allows for exceptions.  This might be the case for some small companies or organizations.

The following is a good article on how eliminating this kind of identifying data can prove useful to reducing discrimination in hiring:  http://blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2016/03/09/how-to-beat-the-hidden-discrimination-at-the-heart-of-the-job-hunt/

As the above article states, making this kind of change will not alone eliminate discrimination in hiring but it can help reduce the incidence of it.

The above motion is proposed by Thana Boonlert.

 

  1. Policy area: Education

Motion: Under a GPA government the province will provide the academic, social and structural requirements for students in the public system. Curriculum planning and implementation will be the responsibility of the teachers, the principals and the schools.

GPA policy context:  The following is the GPA’s general statement on education –

The Green Party of Alberta unequivocally supports a strong, consistent public education system, the focus of which is to prepare every child to be an engaged, empowered and contributing citizen of a vibrant, diverse democracy.

Rationale:

Replacing one bureaucracy with another is not the direction the Green Party wants to go. Teachers must have the flexibility to exercise their own creativity and ingenuity in their own classes with their own students. Teachers are the experts and stifling their skills with excessive top down intervention is a great loss to all involved.

The above motion is proposed by Diann Duthie.

 

  1. Policy area: Education

Motion: Children will rarely be subjected to any type of testing before Grade 9.  Instead teachers will be responsible for and communicate frequently their assessment of students’ understanding and progress in each course.

GPA policy context:

The Green Party of Alberta unequivocally supports a strong, consistent public education system, the focus of which is to prepare every child to be an engaged, empowered and contributing citizen of a vibrant, diverse democracy.

Rationale:

In Canada even very young students (estimates are 30% or more) are unhappy and under extreme stress. Producing stressed out robots is not beneficial to the students or society.

The above motion is proposed by Diann Duthie.

 

  1. Policy area: Democratic reform

Motion: That the Green Party of Alberta begin developing a public social networking platform to eventually provide Albertans with a viable alternative to foreign- and privately-owned platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

GPA policy context:  One of the GPA’s six fundamental principles is participatory democracy

Rationale:

Enter The Information Age:

We have entered the information age and there is no going back. Going forward, digital communications will continue to supplant traditional methods for communicating information between individuals and groups. Until recently we were in the “wild west” phase of the internet, but over the last half decade a real centralization has occurred as effectively all citizens in western countries are now online and most are using social media in some capacity. Over the first two   decades of life with the internet, social media was in use but not in a major or dominating way, and a wide variety of social media platforms had similar usage levels – relatively small online communities were comprised of often anonymous users, mostly accessing multiple platforms simultaneously.  But the converse is now true:  centralization has taken over, and there is an immense potential for either an incredible increase in corporate tyranny (in a novel ability to predict and manipulate electoral outcomes) or for a heretofore impracticable but now wholly realizable capacity for individual liberty in a fully participatory democracy.

What do we mean by tyranny here?  Data will be generated by the daily use of online social networking so long as users stay active; data sets will be stored and algorithms will be applied with ever increasing efficiency; and the meta data produced thereby will be utilized by someone, for some purpose.

The two questions here are:  By whom will the metadata be used, and for what purpose?  If data sets are in the hands of private American corporations, being pestered by individually tailored product marketing will be the least of our worries.  Foreign institutions entirely unaccountable to Albertans on any level will come to know us better than we know ourselves.  “They” will be able to decipher our thoughts before we think them, predict our course of action, first collectively (in elections, in our reaction to global events, etc.) and eventually even individually (and at that point its “game over” for people like me).  This sort of “precognition” may sound like the plot of a dozen science fiction novels but it is nonetheless fast becoming a reality.

We still have time to restrain this process and put it under public control, but every day their data sets increase.

And Make It Green!

The Green Party of Alberta has the power to propose a viable alternative to foreign owned, private social media platforms. It would not be an insurmountable expense to launch and maintain a simple Nexopia.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexopia)  Nexopia was Alberta’s original social networking platform that Facebook killed.  It was simple, efficient and locally owned and operated clone that would be accessible to GPA members, who could post a profile and enter forums to add discussion topics including a polling response option that would allow us to vote and so make collective decisions online. We could treat this as a pilot project in digital consensus building.  If we can demonstrate an ability to build consensus online within our party, then we’ll have something new and unique to offer Albertans in the next election when we can propose to launch a full version of our party specific site for all citizens.

Imagine the possibilities for recruitment:  “Join the Greens for just $5 and you can post a profile and join our forums where you can express your concerns, propose policy and help us build consensus right now for a sustainable society tomorrow!” This would be a great way to boost youth engagement. Many remember what the internet was like before Facebook – multiple profiles on various sites, migrating from one to another for various reasons, running divergent personas on alternative platforms etc. It would not be unrealistic to imagine people signing up to use a specifically political social media platform in addition to the other sites they’re already accessing.

Currently, our low levels of political engagement among youth especially are a function far more of disillusionment than of apathy. There is widespread already a significant desire to engage politically online, as is evidenced by reams of comments on various news websites and youtube which are all little more than farts in the wind at best, a contribution to a foreign corporation’s data set at worst. But if people are given the opportunity to have their posts actually count for something socially admirable and politically productive, they might be more than eager to participate.

This would also be a great way to spark much needed dialogue between our urban and rural communities by directly connected these two on one level field, alongside unmediated connection with aboriginal, small town and other ethnic communities that tend seldom to mix IRL or on the presently ascendant social media platforms. (Unlike Facebook or Twitter style platforms where users tailor what content they’re viewing regularly by curating a list of desired connections, which often fosters social stagnation or even isolation online, a simple attention sensitive forum based platform like that once employed by Nexopia is structured such that content which generates more user replies gets progressively pushed forward evenly in queue for every user, regardless of the degrees of separation between users, which favours more active users and the most important issues rather than popular users and disseminated content.)

Nor is this idea some isolated fancy that I’ve just invented:  there are “pirate parties” all over the world and many in Europe (notably in Denmark and Iceland) are quickly making significant electoral gains. By hitching these digital ideas that are common in that discourse to our green priorities locally, we have the opportunity to make a real impact, in Alberta of all places. Don’t shy away from big ideas! To survive in a globally connected world, we’ll need planetary perspectives.

The above motion is proposed by Jayden Walker

 

  1. Policy area: Democratic reform (Citizen engagement)

Motion: Project applications (for pipelines and types of projects) must include evidence of pre-application stakeholder involvement in project planning, using an appropriately structured multi-stakeholder advisory committee.

GPA policy context:  Participatory democracy is a Green principle.

Rationale:

Public engagement in project planning will lend credibility to the assessment of risks and benefits and encourage cooperation in resolution of issues.

The above motion is proposed by Susan Stratton.

 

  1. Policy area: Public finance

Motion: The Green Party of Alberta vigorously opposes all P3 initiatives.

GPA policy context:  Sustainability, including sustainable public finance

Rationale:

Whether these enterprises are suggested for schools, hospitals, long term care facilities, or infrastructure they are not acceptable. They not only lessen or take away public control they also increase costs, often dramatically. With healthcare they are often the first step in privatization of the system. Governments can borrow funds at very low rates. Private companies pay the going rate plus they also have to provide profit for their shareholders both of which add to the final accounting.

It is not known who proposed this motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Infrastructure

Motion: The density of all linear developments (roads, utility corridors, pipelines, railways, power lines, telecom infrastructure, right of ways, etc.) within a watershed must be assessed and regulations must be developed to eliminate the harm perpetrated by these interventions. Switchbacks, vegetative margins, reclamation can lessen the negative impact.

GPA policy context:  Sustainability

Rationale:

Road development can interfere with natural patterns of overland flow through a watershed, interrupt subsurface flow, and increase peak flows (Smith and Redding 2012). Roads are also one of the most significant causes of increased erosion, as road construction exposes large areas of soil to potential erosion by rainwater and snowmelt while the roads themselves intercept and concentrate surface runoff so that it has more energy to erode even stable soils (WAP 1995a). The eroded fine sediments can be easily delivered to water courses during wet periods.

It is not known who proposed this motion.

 

  1. Policy area: Democratic reform

Motion 20A:  Alberta has an important stake in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Alberta Greens demand that Albertans have a voice in all aspects of CETA that have potential to impact this province.

Motion 20B:  The Green Party of Alberta supports the public bodies, such as municipalities and school boards, which have asked to be exempted from CETA.

GPA policy context:  Participatory democracy, sustainability

Rationale:

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the European Union have been negotiating since May 2009.  Proponents of CETA see it as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining our democratic options for the future. The Canada – EU trade deal could:

  • Unfairly restrict how local governments spend money and ban “buy local” policies
  • Add up to $3 billion to the price of drugs
  • Increase Canada’s trade deficit with Europe, leading to significant job losses
  • Empower European corporations to attack environmental and health measures
  • Undermine protections for health care and culture in past trade deals
  • Create pressure to increase privatization of local water systems, transit and energy
  • Strip farmers of their rights to save seed

The above motions are proposed by Diann Duthie.

 

 

 

 

 

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