Our policy is created with the guidance of four concepts: Vision, Hope, Compassion and Honesty. The platform of the Green Party of Alberta is a vision of hope for a better future. We will start with compassion from where we are, understanding that everyone is doing the best they can and we can ease into a sustainable society. The party will campaign in an honest way, attempting in all our endeavours to be open and transparent.
The Green Party of Alberta appreciates that Aboriginal people have been treated very badly by all levels of government in the past. The Party recognizes government’s duty to help facilitate the reconciliation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Albertans in every facet of society. This commitment to reconciliation would permeate all policy development, law-making and day-to-day government operations.
Specific policies adopted by the membership
A Green Party of Alberta government would abide by both the letter and the spirit of the constitutional duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples when the Crown’s conduct impacts Aboriginal or Treaty rights.
A Green Party of Alberta government would negotiate revenue sharing with Aboriginal communities affected by resource developments.
A Green Party of Alberta government would negotiate co-management regimes with Aboriginal communities affected by resource developments.
A Green Party of Alberta government would enforce compliance with requirements set out by the authority responsible for issuing licences and permits allowing a project to proceed.
A Green Party of Alberta government would make available to Aboriginal communities loans and advances against shared revenue.
The Green Party of Alberta supports extending formal learning opportunities past high school into post-secondary education and beyond, to life-long learning for all Albertans whatever their educational needs and desires. The Party recognizes that continuing education is key to ensuring that Albertans are well prepared for the employment opportunities presented by the new, greener economy.
Policies must ensure that people who want to upgrade their education, technical skills or English language abilities can do so without going into burdensome debt.
The Green Party of Alberta supports policies to keep agricultural lands in the hands of farmers and ranchers and to limit encroachment of towns and cities on those lands. The Party would act to encourage the production of organic food by Alberta farmers and ranchers and supports measures that encourage Albertans to buy from local food producers. The Party would also ensure that farm workers were treated with dignity and respect by extending Workers’ Compensation coverage to them.
Specific policies adopted by the membership
Around the world bees are dying at alarming rates. Beekeepers and farmers are advocating a stop to the use of these chemicals which appear to be strongly implicated in bee population decline. The Green Party would immediately put a ban on the use of all neonicotinoid anywhere they would be considered dangerous to the health of bees.
A Green Party government will engage in a dialogue with farmers focusing on sustainable agriculture and measures that would contribute to achieving this end, knowing that farmer acceptance and support is absolutely essential for the success of any agricultural policies.
Alberta Environmental Farm Plan
A Green Party of Alberta government will provide assistance to all producers to certify under the existing Alberta Environmental Farm Plan process and to continue applying the prescribed environmental protection measures.
A Green Party government will establish priorities for research focusing on sustainable soil use and cropping practices.
Farm product associations
The Green Party of Alberta would engage with producers to restructure the farm product commissions into producer member-led producer commissions to facilitate their voice in policy and advocacy.
The Green Party will seek to improve marketing options for farmers by encouraging competition, increasing training for butchers, bakers, millers and processors, and encouraging local sourcing within publically run operations (farm to hospital, farm to school, etc.)
Glyphosate resistant crops
The Green Party of Alberta recognizes gains that have been facilitated by the advent of glyphosate resistant crops and a Green Party government will not act to restrict access to those crops already on the market until an adequate alternative is available. (Adopted October 2016)
Long term effects of agrochemical weed control
A Green Party government will begin immediate funding for publicly available and transparent research into the long term effects of agrochemical weed control, including the effects on human health, soil microflora, nutrient retention, and soil erosion. (Adopted October 2016)
Participatory crop development programs
A Green Party government will fund projects that bring together agricultural stakeholders in participatory crop development programs in order to work toward cropping systems that maintain soil health in a sustainable manner. (Adopted October 2016)
Support for individuals and families
Inequality is growing in Alberta and people with lower incomes are falling further behind. Poverty and inequality cause human suffering but also impact all Albertans through less vibrant and inclusive communities, higher costs for health care and the justice system and lost economic opportunity. The Green Party of Alberta will work together with communities to implement a comprehensive strategy to end poverty and to achieve a more equitable distribution of resources.
Policies adopted by the GPA:
Guaranteed annual income
The Green Party of Alberta supports implementing a Guaranteed Annual Income in this province. Implementing this program would eliminate many of the current bureaucratic, highly administrative interventions that now exist; their ineffectiveness only exceeded by the humiliation they perpetuate. The current income tax system can administer this program without any additional bureaucracy.
The GPA would supplement the guaranteed annual income where needed.
Seniors, long-term care and community support policy
The Green Party supports the creation of a coordinated, publicly-funded and delivered support system for seniors who require care. The system will be based on principles of dignity and respect and will focus on quality of life including emotional, spiritual and social needs of seniors as well as health-care needs. We will expand home care to bring the care people need into their own homes. For people who can no longer remain at home we will provide long term care options in improved facilities that are more home-like and that follow best international practices.
The Green Party will expand and adequately fund comprehensive home care to ensure it is responsive to both health and personal care needs of the patient and the family so that people are able to stay in their own homes as long as possible rather than having to move for care.
Child care and early development services
The GPA will increase support and funding to provide affordable, high-quality not-for-profit child care and early childhood development spaces as required.
Culture and the arts
The Green Party recognizes that a flourishing cultural scene contributes hugely to the well-being of Albertans, in terms of both quality of life and employment opportunities and other forms of economic development. The Party believes that government has a role to play in supporting culture and the arts.
The Green Party of Alberta is committed to re-invigorating political life in the province by practicing honest, trustworthy politics.
The Green Party supports policies to build confidence in government, such as maximizing the transparency of all government operations and putting in place serious campaign finance regulations with significantly lower maximum allowable contributions.
The Green Party of Alberta supports electoral reform to introduce proportional representation in Alberta.
Specific policies adopted by the membership:
Annual payment per vote
The Green Party of Alberta supports the public funding of political parties by means of an annual payment of $2 to each registered party for each vote cast for that party in the most recent general election.
It is important to re-invigorate politics in the province. One task is to strengthen political parties so they can function better. Annual payments of this kind ensure that funding follows each voter’s choice and they encourage more people to cast ballots.
Proportional Representation (Adopted October 2016)
The Green Party of Alberta supports replacing our current winner-take-all FPTP voting system with one that produces results significantly more proportional to the way Albertans cast their ballots.
A GPA government would strike a Task Force to study alternative proportional systems, consult with the public on those options and make recommendations to the legislature.
The proportional system adopted would be used for at least two general elections after which time a referendum would be held to determine if Albertans are satisfied with the change or want to go back to the old system.
The Green Party of Alberta would lower the voting age in provincial, municipal and school board elections to 16.
Individual contributions would be limited by a Green Party government to a maximum amount to be determined on the basis of further research.
A Green Party government would make all charges, findings and penalties imposed under the Election Act, as well as any subsequent, related legal proceedings (for example, appeals) publicly available immediately on the web site of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Government transparency and accountability
A Green Party government would review and amend the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to maximize the availability of government-held information to Albertans and remove all unjustifiable exemptions.
A Green Party government would also amend the Conflicts of Interest Act so that the responsibility for reporting meetings between government officials and others would fall on the shoulders of those government officials. (With this change made there would be no need for a Registrar of Lobbyists.) Government officials would be required to display all such meetings in their daily agendas which would be posted in real time on their web sites. Monthly summaries of these meetings with participants and topics discussed included would also be posted.
With the objective of enhancing the free flow of information to the public about what government is doing A Green government would disband the Public Affairs Bureau.
A Green Party government would establish an independent, non-ad hoc process for setting MLA and Cabinet Ministers salaries, benefits, and compensable expenses. Before making a choice of process, it would review how these issues are handled by other Canadian jurisdictions which use such processes, such as Manitoba, Ontario and PEI.
Since the position as currently defined has only to do with conflicts of interest, not ethics, a Green Party government would rename the Ethics Commissioner the “Conflict of Interest Commissioner.”
The Green Party of Alberta would strike a Citizens’ Assembly to advise and consult on how all dimensions of provincial government operations can be made more genuinely participatory and transparent to Albertans.
Tax credits for political donations
The Green Party of Alberta recommends adoption of the federal government’s donation framework with a 75% credit available for donations up to and including $400, 50% for the next $350, and 33.3% for the following $525 to a total credit limit of $650 for donations up to and including $1275.
Having the provincial and federal schedules in synch will simplify donation credits and increasing the credit at the lower end will provide a larger incentive for smaller donors.
Donation Credit Actual Cost
$50 $37.50 $12.50
$100 $75.00 $25.00
$200 $150.00 $50.00
$400 $300.00 $100.00
$500 $350.00 $150.00
$1000 $558.00 $442.00
$1275 $650.00 $625.00
Currently in Alberta the credit for donations up to and including $200 is 75%, from $201 – 1100 it’s 50% and from $1101 – 2300 it’s 33.3%.
School board elections
The Green Party of Alberta supports tightening up the campaign finance and expenditure rules which apply to school board elections. As a first step, the GPA would make school board elections subject to campaign expenditure rules that are at least as rigorous as those which apply to municipal council elections.
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. Indeed, the Green Party of Alberta supports the achievement of excellence in all our public institutions, such as in education and health-care.
Specific policies adopted by the GPA:
A Green Party of Alberta Government will amend the Alberta School Act so as to prevent the funding of any school the purpose of which is to serve only certain racial, ethnic or religious groups.
Not all choice-based schools threaten Canadian democracy and civic values, but some do – particularly those that segregate children along lines such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or economic status. Respect for diversity is not enhanced by segregation on such grounds. On the contrary, public education celebrates diversity by educating children together so they may come to understand and value everyone’s unique individuality.
Race, ethnicity and religion are particularly troublesome in this regard. The history of racial and ethnic segregation and discrimination against gays and women by religious institutions is notorious. None of these practices should be allowed to infect public education.
The GPA supports school programs geared to improving civility and eliminating violence and bullying.
An example of this is The Roots of Empathy program, created by Canadian Mary Gordon. This program facilitates year-long monthly visits by neighbourhood families with new babies to classrooms. The program helps children develop tolerance and respect for others by imagining their baby’s perspective.
The Green Party of Alberta would hold a provincial referendum on whether separate school boards in the province should be disbanded and combined with the public system.
Because the special benefit given Catholics through the separate school system in Alberta is embedded in the Constitution, it cannot be ended simply by amending the School Act. Albertans would have to vote on whether the separate school system should be disbanded and rolled into the public system.
A Green Party of Alberta Government would add a requirement to the School Act that every proposal for a new alternate program or school will be subjected to a formal assessment of its impact on Canadian civic values which include democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. Where that impact is significantly negative, and cannot be mitigated, the proposal must be refused. All existing alternative programs shall be subject to periodic review, and, if no longer compatible with Canadian civic values, will be terminated.
Choosing a school or program is not like choosing a product – toothpaste, for example – from the store shelf. It doesn’t matter what kind of toothpaste other Albertans use. But taken cumulatively, parents’ decisions on schools or programs have a huge impact on the continued well-being of neighbourhoods, the broader community and on public education itself. Much of that impact – for example, of establishing a golf academy within the public system – may be unintended, so all involved need to be more aware of the consequences of their decisions.
In order to minimize fragmentation and segregation, every proposal for a new alternate program or school should be subjected to a formal assessment of its impact on the civic values necessary to keeping Alberta a healthy, pluralist democracy. This impact would be assessed by the relevant school board or, in the case of charter schools, by the Minister of Education.
The Green Party of Alberta would reduce public funding for private schools from 70% (the current level) to 50%, which was the level of funding first introduced by the Lougheed government.
Exceptions would be made only for schools which offer programs that are educationally necessary for disabled students and are not available in the public system.
The money saved by this funding reduction would be ear-marked for improvements to the public education system.
The effects of the funding reduction would be studied and further reductions considered on the basis of that study.
Investing in Education
Universal public education has long been the pride of Canadians. Education is an essential building block of our society and a well-educated province will be a top priority for Green MLAs.
Today’s education policy reflects yesterday’s knowledge and practices and is in need of a significant upgrade. It marginalizes opportunities for the learning disabled, gifted learners, older teens, and Alberta First Nations. It falls short of providing students with the knowledge and experience they will need to meet future environmental and social challenges.
The focus for Greens is on the individual needs of students with different abilities and interests to make sure all students receive a strong education. The Green Party of Alberta supports an education system that develops all Albertans’ strengths, potential, natural desire to learn, and curiosity. Lifelong learning and the skills needed for students of all ages to participate meaningfully in society are strong Green Party commitments.
Green MLAs will work to develop solutions to reduce costs for students including tuition charges for universities, colleges, and trade schools.
It is unacceptable that students leave higher education with extraordinary levels of debt.
A Green Party government will work to improve affordability and accessibility as we move towards a more equitable system of adequate stable funding of education.
The GPA Government will reinstate funding for extra-curricular sports, fine arts, and student clubs that encourage healthy community spirit, creativity, and leadership.
Schools should not be stressful places for children.
But 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. Finland, which follows the principles listed below, tops global educational results. Accordingly the GPA supports the following:
Formal instruction will not begin before a child is six years old.
Daycares and early childhood classes will encourage play and outdoor activity when at all possible.
Special education must be such an integral part of the system that it has no stigma attached. Early identification and resolution of problems will be the focus and necessary support resources will be available.
A Green Party government’s required educational outcomes will include teaching tolerance, good citizenship and sustainable, healthy living that includes human sexuality.
Schools as focal points in the community:
The Green Party of Alberta supports transforming schools into community centres offering programs such as libraries, recreation facilities, technology and training areas, fine arts theatres, and studios in partnership with municipalities and the elementary and secondary schools.
Employment and Immigration
The Green Party of Alberta recognizes that for most ordinary Albertans employment – a good job – is key to their financial security and sense of well-being. The Party also appreciates that the move to a smart, greener economy, which it supports, will provide more good work, not less, and thus will improve the lives of Albertans and that of newcomers to the province.
Specific policies adopted by the membership:
Foreign and out-of-province credentials
A Green Party government will establish a commission to review the processes whereby foreign-trained and out-of-province professionals are certified to practice in Alberta.
The Green Party of Alberta recognizes climate change as a serious threat to humanity globally. The Party also recognizes Alberta’s ethical obligation to contribute to the solution of climate change and supports an orderly transition from dependence on fossil fuel exploitation to reliance on the full range of renewable energy sources available in the province, including wind, solar power and geo-thermal. The Party endorses the fastest possible retirement of Alberta’s coal- burning electricity plants and is against any expansion in the rate of production from the oil sands.
Specific policies adopted by the membership
The Green Party of Alberta would 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 Green Party of Alberta is opposed to construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
The Green Party of Alberta is opposed to construction of the Keystone Pipeline.
The Green Party of Alberta opposes the proposed Energy East Pipeline.
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 bitumen production from Alberta.
The Green Party of Alberta will improve government monitoring of all pipelines.
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 bitumen production and all other hydrocarbons and dangerous goods.
The GPA supports a thorough independent review of the economics of the Northwest Upgrader project and, if so indicated, the termination of provincial participation in it.
A Green Party government would terminate government funding for carbon capture and sequestration.
The Green Party of Alberta supports research into power storage technology that would make intermittent alternative power sources more viable, for example, technology that would store excess wind power for use when the wind is not blowing.
The Green Party would phase out the use of coal for electric power generation, with the goal of complete elimination by 2030. A Green Party government would replace coal generation with renewable power, improved efficiency, small-scale cogeneration, demand response, and natural gas peaking capacity.
The Green Party of Alberta supports the introduction of laws and regulations that would create a level playing field for geothermal energy, both for heating and for generation of electricity. In particular, the GPA supports creation of a licensing system for geothermal wells.
The Green Party would set a goal of a 50% renewably powered grid by 2030. It would provide economic incentives for the transition through a combination of carbon taxes, feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, and regulation.
The Green Party of Alberta would re-envision the Alberta electricity grid to give preference to decentralized power minimizing the need for long-distance transport from large, centralized power plants.
Recognizing that the Alberta grid is relatively isolated, the Green Party supports support the development of an interconnected national grid.
The Alberta Greens support the phasing out of coal leases.
The Green Party of Alberta does not support the large scale use of crop land, forest and other vegetation for conversion to bio-fuels.
Since energy efficiency is the cheapest, easiest and quickest way to drastically reduce our energy consumption, the Green Party supports initiatives to facilitate it. For example, the Green Party of Alberta would require all homes to have an energy efficiency rating at point of sale or re-sale. The benefits of this policy “include rewarding energy efficiency, encouraging upgrades, improving health and comfort and creating jobs”. (Pembina Institute, Nov 19, 2012)
The Green Party of Alberta supports the provision of government subsidies, based on income, to offset or pay for installation costs for home based renewable energy technology.
The Green Party supports the immediate implementation of feed-in tariffs. A Green Party government would require power companies to compensate customers for their power input at a substantial premium over the cost they pay for their power and to guarantee such arrangements for a term of 10 years.
The Green Party strongly supports renewable energy, especially solar power. A Green Party government would immediately facilitate the construction of solar power stations.
Further to the goal of encouraging the development and use of solar energy, Alberta Greens would require developers/builders to offer an optional solar package to all new home buyers.
The Green Party recognizes that in the move away from carbon-based energy sources to benign renewables other values must also be protected, for example, bio- diversity and the agricultural land needed for food security. (Adopted October 2016)
The GPA resolves that the province’s overall renewable energy strategy be designed to take into account the mix of available local energy sources. (Adopted October 2016)
A Green Party government would act to promote research and development of geothermal energy in Alberta, either through the creation of a Crown corporation analogous to AOSTRA or through a much stronger emphasis on geothermal research at Alberta Innovates. (Adopted October 2016)
Hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells – fracking – gives rise to serious problems which need to be better addressed by public policy. The Green Party supports the following changes.
· No hydraulic fracturing shall be permitted above 100 vertical meters below the lowest potable water horizon. This would effectively eliminate most fracturing in coal-bed methane wells.
· The concentrations and compositions of all additives to fracturing fluids shall be made available on a public database for all well fracture treatments. This change would give effect to the public’s “right to know.”
· Regulatory policy shall encourage the use of non-potable water for frac fluids, and/or the recycling of fluids.
With ecological wisdom and sustainability two key Green principles, environmental protection lies at the heart of Green Party thinking. The Green Party would beef up every aspect of environmental protection and weave environmental criteria into other policy areas whenever appropriate. For example, when provincial electoral boundaries are next redrawn, the Green Party will urge that ecosystem boundaries be included as a mandatory consideration.
Specific policies adopted by the GPA membership:
The Green Party of Alberta supports much more rigorous regulation of the oil and gas industry. Regulation by the provincial government and by the agencies that operate under provincial law, such as the Alberta Energy Regulator, should apply the following principles:
- The precautionary principle: a project should not be approved unless the evidence presented by the company proposing the project shows that the sustainability of Alberta’s ecosystems will not be threatened by it;
- Strict enforcement of the laws regulating the industry is essential: penalties for infractions must be large enough to change the way companies do business and stop- work orders should be used as often as necessary to achieve compliance;
- The polluter must pay: the costs of pollution, reclamation and restoration must be paid over the life of a project and not put off until the end of it (as by then the companies involved may no longer exist or have the funds to pay them);
- The regulatory process must be fully transparent;
- The public, including public-interest advocacy groups, should have the right to greater participation in the regulatory process. (Adopted October 2016)
Prescribed burning of forests
The Green Party supports prescribed burning as a forest management tool.
Prescribed fire is the knowledgeable and controlled application of fire to a specific land area to accomplish planned resource management objectives. These fires are managed in such a way as to minimize the emission of smoke and maximize the benefits to the site.
Prescribed fire appears to be the most effective means for controlling the rate of spread and severity of wildfires.
Public education on prescribed burning
A Green Party government would initiate a public education program to inform Albertans about the benefits of prescribed burning, and how a return to it benefits forest health.
Forest fires are viewed negatively, but, fire is a natural phenomenon that rejuvenates forests by promoting new growth, reducing disease and increasing productivity by limiting specific types of reforestation.
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. Green policy would encourage an individual, patient-centred approach to the delivery of health services. The Green Party would work to ensure the sustainability of Alberta’s universal, publicly-funded healthcare system and to extend the coverage of that system, over time, to cover basic dental care and other critical health services.
Specific policies adopted by the membership
The Green Party of Alberta is strongly in favour of maintaining a publicly-funded, government-operated health care system.
The Alberta Greens recognize the overwhelming importance of exercise to the health of Albertans and of the harm to any Albertan denied full opportunity to exercise. The Green Party of Alberta would provide funding to remove barriers to participation such as access to facilities, transportation, childcare and other support services.
The Green Party of Alberta supports a preventative approach to healthcare.
The Green Party of Alberta supports inclusion of basic dental care in the services covered by AHS. (Adopted May 2016)
A Green Party government would extend Alberta Health Care coverage to all health professionals falling under the Health Professionals Act.
A Green Party government would work to reduce unnecessary and redundant prescriptions, tests and other inappropriate use of health services.
The Green Party of Alberta would investigate the current application within Alberta of Nationally Allowed Guidelines for cadaver organ transplants, in particular the donation after cardiac death (DCD) as well as after brain death.
A Green Party government would work with health care professionals to empower individuals to improve their own health.
The Green Party of Alberta supports increased funding to improve dignified end of life treatment, specifically, to improve palliative care, pain management, community and home care resources and grief counselling.
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.
The Alberta Green Party will work vigorously to bring continuity to our badly fractured mental health system by providing appropriate resources and follow up treatment.
One in every five people in Alberta is affected by mental health issues. Bits and pieces of the system work effectively but results are measured by output rather than outcome. Afflicted people and their families are often left in desperate circumstances due to both lack of resources and appropriate follow up and treatment.
The GPA will support research into environmental factors contributing to mental illness.
The GPA is committed to high ethical standards and knows that any government will be judged by the way in which it treats its most vulnerable members, including those that face mental illness. The GPA recognizes that mental health services and facilities in the province have long been inadequate and that Albertans have a right to much better, that is, to as good mental health care as our society can collectively afford.
All health care professionals and front line workers in the emergency, health, education and social service sectors – e.g., police, peace officers, teachers, nurses, nurses-aids, doctors, dentists , social workers and others – will be trained to recognize and deal with the manifestations of mental ill-health.
This includes such things as knowing where specialized services can be found and responding appropriately (e.g., with skill and compassion and with an emphasis on dignity and respect) to those suffering problems with their mental health.
A GPA gov’t will ensure that there are a sufficient number of appropriately-trained and licensed mental-health specialists in Alberta to meet the needs of all Albertans.
Greens take very seriously the need of Albertans for affordable, suitable to their needs and sustainable, for example, energy efficient, housing.
The following are specific policies adopted by the membership:
The Green Party of Alberta supports the new small house philosophy and will develop policies to help accommodate this style of housing.
The Green Party of Alberta supports adoption of a building code for straw and earth structures.
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 stock that is owned by the province and municipalities.
The Green Party of Alberta encourages affordable cooperative housing. (Adopted October 2016)
The Green Party of Alberta supports the approach to ending homelessness known as “Housing First.” The GPA recognizes that Housing First is an empty slogan and cannot be successful anywhere in the province unless there is an adequate supply of affordable and supported housing for those needing it. A GPA government would ensure there is an adequate supply of both affordable and supported housing and other required resources throughout the province. (Adopted October 2016)
Greens would require all municipalities to facilitate alternative approaches to more sustainable housing, such as housing cooperatives and co- housing. The purpose of these facilitators (in essence, case-managers) would be to assist groups wanting to build or retrofit existing buildings for cooperatives, co-housing or other alternative approaches to housing, in getting through the approval process successfully and as quickly as possible. (Adopted October 2016)
Greens would require all municipalities to review their bylaws, regulations and procedures so as to remove unnecessary or unreasonable barriers to meeting the need for affordable and alternative forms of housing, including for cooperatives and co-housing. (Adopted October 2016)
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 Alberta Human Rights Commission functioned effectively to promote respect for human rights in the province.
Specific policies adopted by the membership:
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.
The Green Party of Alberta would apply sustainability principles to proposals for new infrastructure. For example, the question of new transmission lines would have to be evaluated in light of the need to transition to production of electricity from renewable sources which by their very nature tend to be more dispersed than huge coal-burning plants. Greater decentralization may mean less need for transmission lines and cost savings.
A well-functioning and fair legal system lies at the heart of Canadian democracy, including our democracy here in Alberta. Alberta Greens would be vigilant in keeping our legal system strong where it is still in good shape and to improving it where weaknesses are developing or are already evident.
Specific policies as adopted by Green Party of Alberta members:
Improving legal aid
The GPA urges increasing legal aid in this province by the $30 million recommended by Alberta’s criminal defense lawyers.
The amount Alberta provides for legal aid trails that provided by other provinces. Worse, that already inadequate amount was recently decreased further. The consequence is a backup in the system with people incarcerated needlessly for long, costly periods.
The Green Party supports law and public finance reform that would better recognize the key role that city governments play in meeting the needs of Albertans.
A GPA Gov’t will amend the Municipal Government Act to give Alberta municipalities the power to require that developers make a certain percentage of their projects affordable housing. More research would be needed to establish the precise criteria for implementing inclusive zoning.
Alberta municipalities are eager for more authority and greater taxing powers so as to better meet the needs of their citizens. For example, Calgary and Edmonton are in negotiation with the provincial government for city charters which would give them greater autonomy.
But in the meantime the Municipal Government Act needs amending in order that Alberta cities can govern in a more sustainable and fair way. One specific need concerns the provision of more affordable housing units through mandatory inclusive zoning, which as Calgary Mayor Nenshi has explained: “compels builders to apportion a percentage of the units they build to affordable housing (between 5 and 20 percent).” Under current law, Alberta cities do not have the power to make such demands of developers.
The GPA will provide meaningful discussions with the municipalities to develop a definition of grey water leading to further discussions on the secondary use of grey water and storm water runoff.
The Green principles of social justice and sustainability bear on public finance policy. Accordingly, the Party would avoid incurring debt that would limit the ability of future generations of Albertans to meet their needs.
The Party also believes that Albertans should “act like owners” of publicly held resources and impose higher royalty rates on their development.
Specific policies adopted by the membership
A Green Party of Alberta supports a progressive income tax in the interests of social justice.
A Green Party government would reinstate the 2001 corporate tax rates which are higher than current rates.
The Green Party of Alberta supports introduction of a sales tax for Alberta. (Adopted May 2016)
The Green Party of Alberta will implement a Carbon Tax to cover as many greenhouse gas emissions as evolving monitoring and technology make practically possible.
The Carbon Tax price level will:
- Result in a carbon price at or near the highest level among OECD national or subnational jurisdictions;
- Include a plan for defined annual escalations over five year horizons, to the extent practical;
- Be based on the intention that the pricing plans will be regularly reviewed in order to balance achieving required reductions in GHG emissions with a desire to be consistent with the efforts of the developed world in general.
Revenue from the Carbon Tax may be used to:
- Fund research and development of sustainable technologies and governance;
- Offset any undesirable impacts of the Carbon Tax on individuals;
- Reduce personal and corporate income taxes;
- Add to the Heritage Fund.
The Green Party would research all available information on fossil fuel royalties so as to create a regime that optimizes Albertans’ share of production.
The goal in 1976 was to contribute 35% of royalties to the Heritage Fund. A Green Party government would settle for nothing less.
Public libraries, accessible to all in the community, are essential if we are to have a vibrant and fair democracy.
Specific policies adopted by the GPA membership:
As is the case in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the GPA supports putting into law “specifically and unambiguously” our citizens’ rights to free universal public library access.
Alberta is the only jurisdiction in North America where the majority of libraries charge for library cards. This places an unnecessary burden on many who find it impossible to pay the annual fee for each member of their family.
The Green Party of Alberta supports the immediate restoration of funding to our public libraries to compensate for revenue they would lose by providing free library cards.
The Green Party recognizes the importance of flourishing rural communities to all Albertans and believes the pitting of urban Albertans’ interests against those of rural Albertans, or vice versa, is unethical and counter-productive.
One of the 6 Green principles is Sustainability. The recognition there is only limited scope for the material expansion of society within the biosphere and the understanding we need to maintain biodiversity through the sustainable use of renewable resources will permeate all policies adopted by the Green Party of Alberta.
Transition to Sustainability
The Green Party of Alberta recognizes that the heyday of fossil-fuel dependent economies is over and that in order to ensure a prosperous future Alberta must move as quickly as possible to a much greener and more equitable economy. The Party believes Albertans’ creativity, training and intelligence can be marshalled to usher in a new era of smart sustainability.
Policies adopted by the membership:
Transition to Sustainability
A Green government will follow our 6 guiding principles (ecological wisdom, participatory democracy, respect for diversity, social justice, sustainability and non-violence) to make the difficult choices a society may have to make between material standard of living and quality of life for future generations and, where necessary, will prioritize the latter. (Adopted October 2016)
The Green Party of Alberta supports the creation of community-owned renewable energy projects. (Adopted October 2016)
The GPA supports creation of mechanisms for financing cooperative businesses. (Adopted October 2016)
The GPA would encourage the transition of existing businesses into cooperative businesses when the alternative is closure. (Adopted October 2016)
The GPA resolves that the move to renewables be managed with consideration for local social conditions and with as much engagement, buy-in and participation of local communities as possible. (Adopted October 2016)
The Green Party of Alberta supports forms of transportation that are consistent with the need to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The Party is supportive of developing and expanding public transit systems wherever feasible in the province.
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. The seven watersheds each have their own attributes and requirements. We must protect, conserve, and reuse our water in innovative and socially responsible ways.
Our biggest variable is climate change. Rapid melting of our glaciers and warming temperatures drastically decrease our window of opportunity to divert outcomes that we must avoid. No technological interventions will ever give us the sustainability that fully functioning watersheds have the sophistication and complexity to provide.
The GPA affirms that all water in the Province of Alberta is, and should remain, the property of the Crown, to be managed for the common good. While the Crown may grant licences for the use of water, this does not, and should not, grant title to the water itself.
The GPA affirms that water, being essential to life, is more than a simple commodity and should not be bought and sold as such. Recognizing that the needs of licensees may change over time, the Crown may permit the transfer of water licences in whole or in part, subject to conditions to protect the public interest and promote conservation.
A Green Party government will provide for the review of existing water licences at least every 20 years in order to adapt to climate change, future water needs, and First Nations rights, and will allow increased public participation in the granting of water licences.
The GPA affirms that The Crown should have the right to rescind or restrict existing licences where water is being used wastefully.
The GPA endorses the July 28, 2010 United Nations resolution recognizing the human right to safe clean drinking water and sanitation. This is a foundational principle of GPA water policy.
Water resources should be held as a public trust. This is consistent with the broadly held Canadian idea that water is the property of the Crown. To classify water allocation problems through the public trust lens is to suggest that there are social principles that are based on four beliefs: (1) that the public benefits from private development, but that the public interest is greater than the sum of private interests; (2) a belief that property ownership must be respected but that property rights in water are not absolute but can be regulated and adjusted in reasonable ways for the good of the polity as a whole; (3) a belief that wasteful uses of public resources are wrong; (4) a belief that our water resources are more than commodities; that they are foundational to life and have a touch of the sacred about them.
Historically, the North-West Irrigation Act vested all water in the property of the Crown. Water rights were allocated on a first-in-time, first-in-right basis. However, rights were not granted to water itself, and water licences did not grant property rights to water. The 1999 Water Act provided for the creation of watershed management plans and permitted the transfer of water licences without the transfer of associated land. The 2002 South Saskatchewan River Basin management plan enabled market transfers of water in southern Alberta, subject to strict conditions. There has been little activity in this market, the most notable being the arrangement between the Eastern Irrigation District and the Cross Iron Mills development.
The GPA will assess and regulate the density of all linear developments (roads, utility corridors, pipelines, railways, power lines, telecom infrastructure, right of ways, etc.) within our watersheds in order to minimize the harm associated with or resulting from these interventions.
Road development can interfere with natural patterns of overland flow through a watershed, interrupt subsurface flow, and increase peak flows. 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.
Riparian reserve margins must be designated for all waterways according to size of the stream/river, the fish etc. Management areas will border and protect the reserve areas and must follow specific restricted guidelines.
The loss of riparian borders can change water temperature, increase erosion and sediment and reduce nutrients available from bank areas.
A Green Party government will improve surface and ground water surveys to generate regional modelling of water resources. Survey data and modelling results will be available and actively distributed to interested parties and the general public in the form of Open Data.
A Green Party government will complete a water management plan that identifies and enforces a science based Ecosystem Base Flow (EBF) for all major Alberta rivers at a low – flow threshold.
Because of the increasing demands on water from oil sands development, the lower Athabasca region and the Athabasca River should have first priority for water source modelling and the establishment of an Ecosystem Base Flow (EBF). In the interim the low – flow threshold for the lower Athabasca River will be set to at least 100cubic meters per second. (Solving the Puzzle, 19 Steps to Responsible Oilsands Development – Pembina Institute April 2011)
A Green Party government will restructure the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program and replace as a comprehensive and scientifically robust monitoring system. This system shall be compatible with and integrated with regional water modelling.
Where supported by data from an enhanced water quality monitoring system, a Green Party government will act vigorously to stop water source pollution, including but not limited to:
(a) pollution of water bodies by runoff of agricultural chemicals
(b) aquifer contamination by feedlot effluent
(c) physical or chemical contamination of water and watersheds by industrial, mining, oil and gas, or forestry operations
(d) use of recreational vehicles
Management of the Eastern Slopes
The Green Party of Alberta supports measures requiring the management of the Rocky Mountains’ eastern slopes landscape to focus on protection of the headwaters of our rivers.
The GPA supports the creation of an eastern slopes conservation authority.
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.