Halifax candidate Tony Seed answers questions from electors
What is your central issue?
To fight the cartel of political parties which are leading Canada to disaster. Everyone feels betrayed by these parties. There are serious dangers of economic crisis, fascism and war. Everyone should raise their voice. One way is to vote Marxist-Leninist. You would be voting in your self-interest. You would be voting to affirm your right, the right of Canadians, to be the decision makers over matters that concern us as members of society. This is very different to all the parties which say "We will govern on your behalf. Trust us" or "Elect more of us so we can keep some others accountable for their promises." This is sophistry.
These parties vying for power with their promises of putting money into people's pockets are attacking the whole notion of society taking care of its members. Everyone is to fend for themselves. People are to vote on the basis of who will pay us what.
Is voting MLPC a waste?
This concept that the election is a horse race with two main contenders is imposed to convince people there is no alternative. The "major parties" together with the media declare which is major, which is minor, monopolize broadcast time and use our tax dollars to finance themselves. The media in Nova Scotia no longer even report who is running. The Herald report on the Halifax riding did not even mention my candidacy. Nor did the CBC. And I was a registered candidate with Elections Canada. The right to an informed vote has been thrown out.
The question of majority or minority government is bogus. They represent a majority of seats for a party which is brought to power through election but they do not represent a genuine will of the people. Only 1.4 per cent of Canadians are members of parties. People are sidelined. They do not pick the platforms, they do not pick the candidates, they do not pick the policies, or the judges, or the ministers or anything else. Only 60 per cent of those actually registered now vote, yet they will claim a mandate to "make Parliament work." It is high time that we carry out a deep-going reform before matters get worse. We must, in place of party politics, put politics of responsibility in the first place.
How do you achieve this?
All those like-minded should actively support our candidacy because of the political program to solve the problems facing the people. We are here to serve the needs of the people and their collectives in terms of solving the problems they are facing. There are many possibilities of cooperation.
Concretely Nova Scotians very much need new political venues and mechanisms.
Since 2003 we have worked hard to establish Halifax Political Forums where citizens gather to discuss the problems facing the Canadian polity, and even make decisions. They were based at Dalhousie but people of all walks of life participate as do people of different ideologies and religions.
We need to establish such forums in communities. They would establish resolutions, provide education, build their resources. They could even work out ways to recall or defeat representatives -- MPs, MLAs, Councillors -- who do not represent their interests.
Take the controversies over development throughout the HRM. It is always presented as a fait accompli. On November 28 over 500 people met at Black Points Fire Hall to oppose building a luxury condo-marina-gated community in Ingramport on the St Margarets Bay. Both DFO and HRM endorsed the "right" of this one developer and rubber stamped his project. This hearing lasted four hours. Forty-one people spoke against. They brought forward many useful proposals: affordable housing, a heritage park, a recreational beach. On such a serious topic, they were restricted to five minutes. The three HRM councillors listened for four hours. They did not ask a single question. Then they took just three minutes to approve the $6-8 million development. These three men came in with their minds made up, listened, quickly amended the proposal with the developer's approval, and went on their way. All in three minutes. Monopoly property right was guaranteed, which Harper even wants to add to the Charter. So all manner of mechanisms exist in Canada to listen to the people. But there is no social responsibility. This was not what the people wanted. They were betrayed because they have no control.
The people in such neighbourhoods need to establish their own community-based political institution. If they can do that they will be far ahead when the next axe falls, instead of having to fight rearguard actions.
Is this direct democracy?
It is a starting point for a modern political process in which every member of the society can participate in developing and implementing an agenda that serves their interests.
Take the issue of Canada sending troops to Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan or Haiti. These were decided by cabinet, by Royal Prerogative. Canadians were not even consulted, let alone the Parliament. Chr?tien did not call the Parliament into session for two weeks after sending Operation Apollo to Afghanistan.
In the HRM, not one of the four MPs -- two Liberal, two NDP -- organized a single meeting of their constituents to consult as to their views, let alone be guided by their will.
What about the NDP's reputation for peace?
Their objection to the Iraq war was on the basis that the invasion should be "multilateral," through the UN. What if it had? What then? It would still be illegal, in violation of the UN Charter. Second, the NDP as a party did not mobilize anyone. Even when 8,000 Nova Scotians came out against war criminal Bush, Layton dared to say they should be polite. Many individuals within the NDP did mobilize and worked very hard, even some MLAs, but as a party it did not lift a finger.
In contrast, we worked together with other forces to create a regular public venue, the Halifax Political Forums, where informative talks were given, and people could consciously make up their minds based on the facts. By my own estimation we held 20 forums, and participated in and spoke at 45 actions and on 15 radio programs in three months.
How important an issue is homelessness and poverty?
There is a large concentration of poor and homeless people living in the HRM, including the working poor. Many youth and families are being driven into the city by the impoverishment of rural Maritimes. Along with the lack of affordable housing goes rent increases exceeding inflation. In the HRM planning for rich developers is facilitated at the expense of letting human beings go into homelessness and die on the streets.
The MLPC stands for a society that guarantees the rights and claims of all its members irrespective of economic status or other considerations. If the right to housing was guaranteed in law, it would make it a criminal offence to force someone to go homeless. Legislation must be enacted in order to guarantee all citizens and residents the right to a livelihood.
People also need immediate relief. Poverty can only be alleviated by ensuring that everyone has an adequate livelihood and humane working conditions. The unions need to step up to the plate and organize the un-organized. An injury to one is an injury to all.
Most importantly, political marginalization needs to be ended. Workers, women, youth should join the MLPC and take up this problem for solution. Unless we are an organized force, we will always be on the receiving end.
Should they be made a major public priority?
Why couldn't DND's Shannon Park, which was empty, have been converted as some NGOs demanded? There is no lack of space.
In 1996 homelessness was declared a "national disaster" but the Liberals did nothing to allocate resources to deal with the homelessness crisis. Housing for every man, woman and child cannot be considered a "policy objective." The Liberals allocated $11.2 billion for the purchase of weapons but allocated 0 dollars for homes for the homeless in the 2000/2001 budget. Now they claim there is not enough money, despite the fact that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is sitting on a $4.1 billion surplus.
In 1989 Parliament declared that child poverty should end by the year 2000. Child poverty today is worse. In 1989 16 per cent of Nova Scotian children lived in poverty. Now almost 19.2 per cent children live in poverty.
The increase in child poverty for Nova Scotia is greater than the average increase across provinces. Thirty-eight thousand children live in families where incomes are sufficiently low to create severe difficulties. One report states: "It is common for gaps between family income and the base low income cutoff to be in the range of $500 to $700 per month."
The annual cost of closing this gap in Nova Scotia is just under $147 million, an amount equivalent to 7 per cent of our annual health expenditures or the tax cut initiated for 2004.
What is the most serious environmental issue?
Environmental regulation is viewed as a negative cost of production; standards are steadily lowered. The lack of safe water, air quality, pollution of the harbour, the tar pond, invasive species, marine oil spills, clearcutting, spraying, dragging and the degradation of the seabed can be solved if the profit motive is not the deciding factor. The right of all Canadians to a healthy social and natural environment must be provided with guarantees. That is our position.
What is your view of the Supreme Court decision on logging?
The MLPC defends the hereditary rights of the Aboriginal peoples as a principle. I do not support the recent Supreme Court decision on Bernard and urge all Canadians to oppose it. It also negates the right of the entire people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, including people of Aboriginal origin, to set the direction of the economy and exercise control over the management and governance of the social and natural environment. The decision benefited the few who control "crown" lands. These lands were never legally surrendered by the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet. The covenant chain of treaties were peace and friendship treaties. No mutually suitable arrangements concerning public or private use of the forest lands have ever been concluded with the original occupants. On the contrary, it is the negation of monopoly right over the forests of Nova Scotia and in legislation that will open a path forward to guarantee the hereditary and treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet First Nations and the democratic rights of the people for a say in the use, preservation or development of the public forests and its mineral wealth.
The Mi'kmaq are also very knowledgeable about protecting the environment, and are developing initiatives for sustainable cultivation of the forestry and the inshore fishery.
Briefly describe your position on gun control.
We should not accept the hysteria of the media and the "major parties." This problem can be resolved if Canadians are able to decide for themselves how to regulate their lives. Look at the condition of the younger generation. Hardly any youth is inspired to participate in politics. Yet the three privileged parties all have in their platform that if youth commit crimes they will be punished more and more severely. A whole generation is being converted into a target of law and order. Black and minority youth are singled out. The case of Kirk Johnson is not isolated. They do not speak of the brutalization of the youth and others committed by this society.
Ms. McDonough and others point to the influx of guns through the port of Halifax and the U.S. border as the problem. They are mum that it is society which produces the kind of crime that affects them and which has gutted much needed social programs.
How is the consciousness and behaviour of youth shaped if not as members of this society? By punishing the youth this crime is not going to disappear. Canada and the U.S. have the highest recidivist rate in the world. People are just tossed behind bars. What about those responsible for the worsening of poverty and other social ills -- the brutalization of women, minorities, workers, fishers and the elderly? The MLPC calls on all justice-minded Nova Scotians to oppose this dangerous "law and order" agenda.
What policies would benefit the youth of our area?
Get Involved! Be Political! The youth is the best thing Halifax has going for it. They should demand that all sections of the people help them to sort out the problems which they and society are facing. I personally help them do that, through our publication, coaching sport and political affairs.
Why do so many children suffer from obesity nowadays? We need facilities for active recreation and amateur sport. Open up the gyms. Open up the schools. Build rinks and decent playing fields -- not Commonwealth Games and a spectator stadium. If the corporate sector wants a CFL stadium, let them pay for it. Abolish user pay fees. There is no shortage of funds: some $1.5 million from the big developers for parkland fees in the HRM is unaccounted for each year. Let us build a world where our youth have pride of place and their rights are guaranteed.
University tuition fees here are the highest in Canada.
Whose interests were being served? Need manpower? Technical training, "safety" programs and institutes were broadened for the oil trusts, as programs were cut, and people paid through the nose. The three parties will not say that education is a right. Every Nova Scotian who is qualified must be able to obtain a post-secondary education, free of cost for all students; the monopolies who hire them should be made to pay. Policy should be proposed by the interested parties, especially students, faculty and staff. It could be put to all Canadians for their decision.
What is your position on national unity as an issue?
It is a deliberate attempt to disinform the public to hear the Liberals, Tories and NDP talk about the need to defend the unity of Canada when their politics are partisan to annexation and the U.S. war preparations. In Atlantic Canada their interests begin and end with foreign-owned oil and gas, call centres and the navy, instead of a national economy where all regions flourish free of anarchic and unequal development, which we advocate.
Whether we speak of offshore or onshore, Canada is self-sufficient in energy resources, but it has been made dependent on the foreign, mainly U.S. oil trusts. Canada is -- absurdly enough -- a net importer of fossil fuels. The first ever pipeline constructed in Atlantic Canada was built at the end of the 1990s to transport gas from the Sable Island field directly to fuel the U.S. market. Now fuel prices are skyrocketing for Canadians.
Who destroyed the fisheries which provides food for the nation? The Liberals rented out the 200-mile zone to foreign fleets to cut deals with the monopoly processors to land their catch. Forty thousand Newfoundlanders, 12 per cent of its population, emigrated. Coastal communities are ghost towns. This is a national crime.
Now the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and Progress magazine call for integration with New England. They see Canadian sovereignty as an impediment to the global interests of Michelin, Stora, Irving, Clearwater and the forest, oil and gas monopolies. Is this not the betrayal of Canada?
When those like Belinda Stronach condemn the Bloc Qu?b?cois for breaking up Canada, what is going on? Is the Bloc calling for the annexation of Canada or Quebec to serve U.S. imperialism? No, the Bloc calls for the affirmation of Quebec sovereignty. It is up to Qu?b?cois and Canadians to make sure a sovereign Quebec opposes U.S. annexation of both Quebec and Canada. This would put a spoke in the plans of the annexationists in Canada who want to hand over a Canada holus-bolus -- including its heavy industry and ports -- to the U.S. as a strategic asset.
What is your fisheries policy?
We are for a genuine 200-mile limit and ending concessions to the foreign and Canadian monopoly fleets. Fishermen need immediate help. Abolition of the ITQ regime and "trust agreements," which allows the rich processors to grab up their licenses, public insurance, and no interest loans will assist fishermen and facilitate the growth of the fishery in the interests of the nation. We reject tariff wars.
Describe your view on language rights.
All languages are equal. The view that there are superior and inferior languages should be rejected. We reject the "two languages" policy.
Why shouldn't Mi'kmaq, Gaelic, Arabic and other languages be taught in school? By making everyone's language known, the entire wealth of human civilization is brought into play and our entire culture will be tremendously enriched. Short of a new Constitution, Nova Scotia should enact legal measures providing families with facilities and resources to have their children educated in both English as well as French and their own language, and guarantee their right-to-be.
Are you in favour of same sex marriages?
I am in favour of not interfering in people's lives. All harassment of people who choose whatever lifestyle they want should be outlawed. If all Canadians, men, women and children, were guaranteed a livelihood, then such issues as spousal rights and one person being dependent on another and the state deciding who is and who is not a legitimate human being with entitlements would not arise because everyone would have an independent means of living. This affects not just gay and lesbian couples, but also women and children and the elderly in the most acute way. When seniors marry, their eligibility for support is cut. The solution is to stop interfering in the human person and recognize the human rights of all. If this were done and recognized in law, then all homophobia would not be tolerated. No human being should be made "fair game."
In what ways do you envision helping seniors in our area?
(A) Healthcare is too important to be left to the market. We stand for seniors having basic human rights to health, education, welfare, social insurance, affordable housing, pensions, transit, etc. by virtue of being human. Funding of such programs are important social investments which guarantee the rights of all members of society.
(B) Seniors must champion their cause. We will help them do that.
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