What We Can Do

Integrity is a big word slung around Ottawa these days, and depending on party policies, there might be a difference in its definition. As an Independent, I am working to change that. Working with the members of this amazing community without the constraints of party policies and their obligations will ensure my only priorities are the intentions and ambitions of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding.

My platform is created based on conversations I have had with hundreds of members within our community. As I listened to the ideas and opinions from those who vote and those who do not, I found common ground that both sides could agree with. Nanaimo-Ladysmith wants to elect the best person and not obligatory party policies.

In my talks with members of the community, three topics are in every conversation:

The Crisis Facing Mental Health and Addictions

If we are going to shift from the language of “climate change” to “climate emergency” then let us call the opioid epidemic what it is. There is a national crisis regarding mental health and addictions. From coast-to-coast Canadian communities are struggling to deal with the staggering cost of addictions and mental health issues that in large, stem from the plague of opiates. Taxpayers are continually shouldering the cost while the pharmaceutical industry continues to profit from the sale of these drugs (Pescod, 2019; Mikulic, 2019).

When the oil and gas sector has an environmental disaster, we expect the company responsible to pay for the cleanup. How is this any different from expecting pharmaceutical companies to contribute to the cost of mental health and opiate addictions due to the drugs they produce?

A priority for the next Canadian government is a national Pharma care program (Canada L. p., 2019; Canada C. p., 2019); this idea is a potential windfall for the pharmaceutical industry. I intend to propose one of two options to secure funding in order to pay for the ever-growing cost that this issue is pressing upon our communities.

All Pharmaceutical companies who wish to become part of Canada’s national Pharma care program pay in to a fund that directly pays for the rising cost of mental health and addictions treatment.

If the pharmaceutical industry declines to participate voluntarily then the federal government should press criminal charges against those companies who hold the patents for the opiates that created our current appetite for drugs.

We must hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for their actions and practices and bring in binding legislation that directly contributes to fund our addictions and mental health programs.

Based on lawsuits in the United States it is clear to legal experts that the federal government does have grounds to press criminal charges to force the pharmaceutical industry to help Canadians clean up this mess (Lenny & Zezima, 2019).

Again, I ask you how is this any different from when the oil and gas sector has an environmental disaster? We expect the industry responsible to pay for the cleanup, why is this any different?

What We Are Worth

Middle-income Canadian households are currently feeling the pinch of record high household debt (EBT, 2019).

More and more of us are either dipping into savings or using credit simply to get by month to month. The federal government needs a fresh perspective to help alleviate the burden faced by the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. I intend to introduce and advocate for three main pieces of legislation:

Every Canadian parent knows the fear and frustration of trying to find suitable childcare but make sure it’s affordable. By creating a national program, we could alleviate a giant financial burden that all Canadian families share This legislation is to level the playing field for those who have typically found it harder to access public funding. The benefits to a program like this are numerous, within one generation we would see a change in Canadas’ global standing on education, technology, and leadership (Mahnken, 2017). With this approach, we could drastically reduce the number of families that face generational poverty. Thinking of negatives against a program like this is very hard to argue.
We all know someone who has traded in his or her vehicle before it was fully paid for, rolling the remainder of an old loan into a new one. While this fuels our auto industry most of that money goes to either the financial institutions or the big auto manufacturers who Canadians continue to subsidize. I suggest the following. By reducing amortization periods and changing the regulations, we could influence how Canadians borrow. This shift in purchasing habits would result in lenders having to reduce interest rates on auto loans rather than extend the number of years to a loan. Neither the average Canadian nor the economy benefits from watching household purchasing power diminish. In fact, most households in Canada are going deeper in debt simply to maintain the same lifestyle that they have always had (EBT, 2019).
I had the opportunity to learn firsthand the benefits of co-op housing as a kid on the mainland. It was, as I remember a positive experience personally. However, for my family it was a great path that took us from some average (being generous) apartment blocks to becoming part of a vibrant and eclectic community. This was made possible by the federal Cooperative housing programs of the 70’s and 80’s.

Programs of similar nature could be implemented here in Nanaimo- Ladysmith to help alleviate the housing crunch facing many of our population from the elderly to young adults. Ideas such as phase 2 of the federal community housing initiative are steps in the right direction (Canada C.-o. h., n.d.).

Our Impact on the Environment and the Roles our Community Members Play

As voters, we are currently being told that our choice is environment or industry, more taxes and a shift in how we live our day-to-day lives.

There are other options that are NOT being discussed which I feel should be brought to the forefront of this conversation. The technology exists in Canada to change how we burn fossil fuels in our day-to-day lives.

There is an option that involves:

• Gradual rather than drastic shifts in day-to-day life
• Reduce carbon emissions from natural gas combustion by one third
• Reduce the carbon tax placed upon natural gas by one third

A Canadian company based in Calgary has developed a hydrogen extraction technology (Proton Technologies, 2017). When used in the oil sands this technology produces clean burning hydrogen while producing zero carbon emissions. Using our current natural gas infrastructure, tomorrow we could:

• Inject 15% hydrogen
• Reduce CO2 emissions from natural gas by ⅓ (Laboratory, 2019)
• Become a world leader in a rapidly growing clean fuel industry (Stecher, n.d.)
• Have the opportunity to create jobs in new industry using current infrastructure

Hydrogen Quick Facts
(Proton Technologies, 2017)

• Hydrogen creates zero carbon emissions when burned; only pure water
• Hydrogen has almost three times more energy per kg than natural gas, so less is needed
• Hydrogen use can directly reduce carbon emissions from all natural gas usage by one third – Hydrogen can now be made at a lower cost than natural gas

This makes practical sense on more than one front:

• If we can reduce, the carbon emissions associated with natural
gas by one third
• We can reduce the carbon tax on natural gas by one third
• That is saving Nanaimo-Ladysmith households money and can help with the cost of living
• If we can reduce, our carbon emissions associated with natural gas by, one third we as a country could meet or exceed the levels set by our former government at the 2015 Paris Agreements

I believe we do not need to abolish an entire industry in order to save the environment. There are many in our riding who have employment directly tied to a strong energy sector. By making a shift from one fuel to another, we can achieve both our environmental and economic goals. There is an opportunity to become a global leader in:

• Clean energy use
• Clean energy export
• Reuse and repurpose the present-day energy infrastructure system by taking these measures Canada could drastically reduce, its carbon emissions while at the same time continue to have a strong energy sector.

For more information

Hydrogen extraction technology (Proton Energy, 2017) – www.proton.energy

Canada’s carbon, greenhouse gas emissions – the government of Canada’s environmental website- www.canada.ca

How much carbon dioxide is produced from the burning of different fuels – www.eia.gov

For more information regarding provincial and territorial natural gas and energy use, please visit www.neb-one.gc.ca