The One Issue Campaign, Not! Sewage is About Choices and How They Are Made
I was on CFAX yesterday.
This is what I said.
Well our campaign is going to be very simple.
A by-election is not about changing the Prime Minister and the government, it will make no difference to how Parliament will be run or bills introduced, instead this by-election will be a mandate on what matters to Victoria, it is a rare chance to marry Federal politics to local politics.
So a vote for Paul Summerville, that’s me, will give voice to Victorians to tell Stephen Harper that steep local tax increases to help fund a billion dollar secondary sewage treatment plant – I like to call it the billion dollar boondoggle – is something we don't need and is fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.
And amazingly, this mad plan makes strange bedfellows because the NDP says it can’t be stopped, and it can, that’s not true (ed's note -- i used the 'l' word which I shouldn't have), and the Green Party says there should be treatment but not sure what kind.
The truth is that the other three parties WANT the plant and only one candidate is AGAINST it and that’s me.
And the case against the sewage treatment plant is overwhelming.
There are three key points.
First, the treatment plant is dismissive of scientists, health officials, and a former Federal Minister of the Environment David Anderson all who have rejected it as wholly without merit.
Second, this wasteful project will vacuum up all the federal and provincial infrastructure dollars that could be used for public investment in things like storm sewers, a 21st century transportation infrastructure a Victoria where people have a safe and efficient choice between walking, riding a bike, using a bus or a car, public investment that can have a defining impact on the success of our city for generations to come.
We can end up like the horrific Scarborough, Ontario where I escaped or the envied Geneva, Switzerland, where I lived, and this by-election gives us some choice in the matter.
Third, this mad plan will have a severe financial impact on seniors living on fixed incomes, families, single people.
To build and run this plant all of us, homeowners, renters, businesses; will face the consequences of steep local tax increases for years and years to come.
And this is coming at a time of not only a troubled global economy but a local economy as well.
For example, our real estate market is suffering its worst downturn in a quarter century and any local retailers will tell you that people are being very careful with their spending.
The secondary sewage treatment plant will be huge self-inflicted blow to a vision of Victoria as a powerful middle sized city that is the best place not just in Canada, but in the world, to live, work, and play.
So we will say to Victorians that the sewage treatment plant is not only bad science and fiscally irresponsible but it is bad for our city’s future Victoria and our citizens.
What is so powerful about the combination of this local issue with a Federal by-election is that allows voters to differentiate clearly between how Liberals think about Canada, and how the other parties think about Canada.
The easiest difference is always with the government --- particularly this one -- and the proposed plant being imposed on Victorians by the Harper government, is yet another example of a government that ignores science and scientists, claims to be small yet is big, claims to be fiscally responsible yet is the opposite, dumping debt and tax increases on all of us.
They are after all the most fiscally irresponsible Federal government in Canadian history.
This opens the door to a reminding voters how scientifically stupid the Conservative government has proven on issues like mandatory prison sentences that even Texas politicians and police say failed miserably, about dramatically reducing the questions asked on our census that business people, and I assume governments, rely on to help make informed decisions etc etc etc
And because both the NDP and the Federal Green Party are not opposing the sewage treatment plant it provides a real contrast to a difference approach to politics.
Listening to the NDP candidates last week on CFAX discuss all the things they want to do must have sent a chill down the spine of anyone on fixed incomes, running a business, or just trying to survive in the current economy, it did mine.
You can’t do everything, politics is about choices, and our argument is that at a minimum public investment should be rooted in science not ideology.
And I really I don’t get Elizabeth May’s support of the plant which is forcing Don Galloway’s hand -- a man of high intelligence -- on this issue of supreme importance to our city
It’s pretty rich when Elizabeth May is in the same policy bed with Stephen Harper.
Her position is just emotional environmentalism probably because she is afraid to alienate the Green crowd that has been convinced by Mr. Floatie that Victoria’s current system isn’t adequate.
Of course your listeners will know that all of our sewage is screened so that nothing bigger the size of an aspirin is released; and that Mr. Floatie is just the figment of a dirty mind.
We will show in this by-election that Liberal politics are different than the other three parties, that Liberal politics are the politics of inclusion and responsibility, facts and evidence, and reason and dialogue not dogma and ideology and emotion.
The secondary sewage treatment issue nails this in every respect and smokes out every candidate and frames every issue.
Of course, you are going to hear all three progressive candidates, and let’s face it both Murray and Don (ed's note -- I wrongly said Tom, many apologies) are highly qualified, outstanding and strong candidates, talk about a strong economy, fair government, and a clean environment, but the question is how to you get there?
The harsh light of the race will expose the difficult dilemma of finding balance between how points of view lead to different choices.
The Liberal point of view is that ‘we’re all in this together’ is much better than ‘you’re on your own’ and that liberalism is not an ideology, liberalism is a movement based on the trust in others to do the right thing, building efficient government to ensure a prosperous, fair, and clean country.
Liberals use science to find the balance between the environment, fair government, and the economy, while the other three Parties lead with one over the other because in the end ideology wins out.
Sadly, it’s this very ideology that is forcing on Victoria a secondary sewage treatment plant that we don't need and we don't want.
We will use our campaign to help stop this mad plan.
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