Courtenay-Alberni Green Party candidate Glenn Sollitt is not giving credence to the idea that Greens will split the vote for the Oct. 19 federal election.
“I just don’t buy into it,” the first-time candidate said.
“I think the Green Party pull attraction equally from all the parties.”
In fact, Sollitt said that much of the support his campaign has gotten has been from the traditionally Conservative Oceanside voters.
“The notion—that the NDP say—that a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the Conservatives is exactly wrong,” he said.
That fear that the Greens could actually win seats is why Green Party leader Elizabeth May hasn’t been invited to take part in the debates, Sollitt added.
“I think everyone would agree that Mr. Harper is very smart and very good at winning elections,” Sollitt said. If a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the Conservatives, Sollitt added, “why wouldn’t [Harper] want Elizabeth May in all the debates? Why wouldn’t he want the Green Party to do well?”
Vote splitting is only one of the misconceptions Sollitt said he wants to clear up about the Green Party.
“We are absolutely not anti-industry,” he said.
“We have more policy around the economy than we do about the environment.”
That policy, Sollitt said, is about “getting more out of the resources we’re extracting.”
Sollitt wants to see a lot less unprocessed products being shipped overseas. Here in the Alberni Valley, that means fewer raw logs leaving town.
“What I want to bring to Port Alberni is jobs,” Sollitt said.
“We absolutely need forestry but what we really need is as many jobs per cubic metre as possible.”
He sees the transition from hydrocarbons to renewable energy as a boon, not a negative, for Port Alberni.
“There are an awful lot of jobs in renewable energy, all of which would come to a place like Port Alberni.”
Sollitt believes that the first jobs would come in energy efficient construction.
“It’s cheaper to conserve energy than it is to create it,” he said. The jobs would come via construction crews that would renovate existing buildings that currently leak 50 per cent of their energy; fixing that, Sollitt said, would both create jobs and slow climate change.
But in order to manufacture in the Alberni Valley, companies need to be convinced to process their goods here.
According to Sollitt, the Green Party would use a mix of regulation and funding to encourage more manufacturing within Canada.
“I don’t see just regulating them against their will but I think specifically the forest industry could use money in research and development to figure out how do we adapt the existing mills to better suit foreign markets,” Sollitt said.
On the regulation side, he said that rewriting the free trade agreements between Canada and other countries, most notably in Asia, will force companies to process products here at home.
“I think that the free trade agreements we keep rushing to sign too favourably assist the foreign countries…of course Asia is going to want us to bring raw logs,” Sollitt said.
Corporate profits should not be considered more important than factors like the environment, human rights and jobs here in Canada.
“My feeling is that we need to write fair trade agreements not free trade agreements.”