BC Greens candidate Françoise Raunet: We need strong, healthy, sustainable communities

BYELECTION 2011: Candidate says that being "neither left nor right" has its appeal.

While much of the media's attention has been focused on the face-off between B.C. New Democratic Party's David Eby and Premier Christy Clark, the B.C. Greens' Françoise Raunet presents herself as a candidate who transcends the usual vicissitudes of right and left.

As an eco-minded minded mother with experience living in Asia, Raunet's ideas will likely strike a chord with many voters in the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election May 11. 

Raunet shared her views with VO about the economy, the environment and how her days as a newcomer in a foreign country helped her understand the situation of new Canadians in her riding.

In what way would you work toward creating a strong economy while also ensuring sustainability for the environment?

Our current economic model is based on GDP growth, increased consumption and unsustainable use of our planet's natural resources. As a mother of an adorable two-year-old, whose future is very important to me, I believe we need to ask ourselves this question: is our current use of resources limiting the economic possibilities of future generations? 
It's time for us to take a step back and think critically about how we can build strong, healthy and sustainable economies that will survive well into the next century and beyond. Infinite growth is not possible on a planet with finite resources. Instead of measuring the health and success of our economy by how quickly it grows, we need to start looking at how well it does the things we want an economy to do. How well does it create jobs? Are the jobs being created fulfilling and well-paying? How well does the economy support families to keep a roof over their heads and food in the bellies of their children? Is the wealth created by our economy distributed evenly across all members of society, or is it increasingly becoming concentrated in the hands of a small few (often at the expense of everyone else)?
Here in B.C., we have shockingly high rates of child poverty, many people are just one or two paycheques away from being homeless. We are losing manufacturing jobs in resource communities every year, and school boards across the province are cutting educational services as they struggle to pay the bills.
The Green Party of B.C. thinks that it's time to start moving away from GDP growth as the main economic goal and start re-investing in smaller, localized, regional economies. Our hope is a future where regions use the resources that they have at hand to produce more of their own food, generate more of their own energy, and build local infrastructure to create strong, healthy and inclusive communities. Obviously, these changes cannot happen overnight, but it is essential that we start planning for the economy of tomorrow today. If we wait until we run out of oil, gas, fish and other resources before making the necessary changes, then the shock to our system and way of life will be severe ... if such a transition will even still be possible.
To support the development of sustainable, regional economies, the Green Party of BC has many good ideas, including:
- Shift the tax burden off of average families and onto economic activity that causes social or environmental damage. Basically, we will tax "bad stuff" (pollution, waste) so we don't need to tax "good stuff" (local food, our paycheques).
- Immediately end the $350 million in subsidies that the oil and gas industry receives in B.C.
- Support small business, cooperative, not-for-profit and public jobs over large multi-national or out-of-province corporations
- Invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency to create new "green collar" jobs and to shift BC to a low-carbon economy
- Introduce a "Buy Green BC" campaign to encourage consumers to buy made-in-BC green products and services
- Offer tax credits for green business initiatives


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