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A nice article about Frank and the Green Party

Posted in Green Party News by rkorus on September 20, 2007

Green Party Leader Frank de Jong
http://www.cbc.ca/ontariovotes2007/parties/dejong.html

Frank de Jong has been trying to bring up election issues since the spring –
and not just the ones one might expect from a party called the Green Party
of Ontario.

In April, the 51-year-old teacher issued a news release favouring the merger
of Ontario’s Catholic and public schools into a single school system.

In July, the Toronto resident promised new provincial funding for his own
and other municipalities, funded by pollution and carbon taxes.

The issues of provincial funding for municipalities and for religious
schools didn’t became hot topics for the Tory, NDP and Liberal leaders until
August, two months before the Aug. 31 election.

But even though de Jong raised the issues earlier, his views received scant
attention from the mainstream media.

The Green Party was founded in 1983, but has never held a seat in the
provincial legislature.
De Jong, who has been the party’s first and only leader for 14 years, has
recognized publicly that his party “will never get elected as a party of
nature conservation.” “We tried that for 10 years and got less than one per
cent of the vote for our efforts,” he wrote in an article published in the
party’s newsletter in 2003. De Jong has instead tried to focus on issues
such as health promotion and “green economics.”

Proposals on taxes, environment, health

If his party is elected, de Jong plans to bring in policies such as taxes
based on land value rather than building-based property values, in order to
discourage urban sprawl.

The party favours taxes and incentives to encourage recycling, waste and
packaging reduction, and development of renewable power; and to discourage
the use of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power.

Beyond environmental issues, the Greens are pushing their health policy,
which focuses on disease prevention.

They have also proposed making further changes to the electoral system, such
as allowing 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds and non-Canadian residents to vote.
Meanwhile, de Jong and his party are still struggling to be noticed for more
than their biodiesel campaign vehicle.

Successes as party leader

De Jong grew up on a dairy farm in rural southern Ontario, just north of
Guelph. The son of Dutch immigrants, he became an elementary school teacher
and an activist for causes such as a woman’s right to choose abortion,
protection for old growth forests, a ban on nuclear weapons and the
promotion of human rights in Central America.

He later moved to Toronto, where he now lives with his partner, Kelley
Aitken. De Jong joined the Greens in 1987, when the party was a leaderless,
poorly organized group.

Six years later, he was elected leader. In fact, he has steered the party
longer than any of his opponents have steered theirs, and the party has
grown steadily under his leadership.

During the 2003 general election, the Greens fielded 102 candidates – almost
double the 58 it had in 1999 – and earned 2.8 per cent of the popular vote,
up from 0.7 per cent in the previous election. That catapulted it well
beyond other small parties, who rarely break the one-per-cent ceiling.

This year, the party’s biggest breakthrough might not be a jump in its own
vote count, but referendum result favouring the mixed member proportional
(MMP) system proposed by the Liberal government-appointed citizens assembly
on electoral reform. The party has come out strongly in favour of the
proposed system, which would give it representation in the legislature if it
earns the support of three per cent of voters – something that is likely
within reach.

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One Response to 'A nice article about Frank and the Green Party'

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