- We spoke with Montreal candidate Clement Badra about the Green Party platform, his party's plans to woo young voters, deliver for Montrealers, and address climate change.
- We're interviewing candidates from 5 federal parties in the weeks before the federal election on October 21. Stay tuned!
This is MTL Blog’s Election Interview Series.
Over the course of the next few weeks, leading up to the Federal Election on October 21, we’re speaking to candidates from Canada’s major federal political parties, including the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the People’s Party of Canada.
Today, we're speaking to Clement Badra, Green Party candidate for the Mont-Royal riding, about the Green Party platform. We discussed what priorities the party has on climate, immigration, public transport and more.
Badra's career with the Green Party began 2 1/2 years ago. He got involved in politics because he noticed a severe lack of action on climate change.
This is Badra's first campaign.
All questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
An environmental activist, Bara chose to run with the Greens because they best represented his views.
As the former executive director for the Mont-Royal Green Party, Badra knows what it takes to campaign in his district. Furthermore, Badra says he is on the pulse of what young people are looking for out of the Green Party.
He had the role of the Youth Representative of the Green Party of Quebec at the onset of his career.
He worked in collaboration with Green Party organizations across Canada, holding the federal Green Party accountable to the needs of their youth organizations.
Badra admits that his riding isn't the most environmentally-friendly or even the most progressive riding in Montreal. He'll be facing an uphill battle.
Comprising of Hampstead, T.M.R., Côte-St-Luc, and Côte-des-Neiges, Badra's riding has been Liberal since 1940.
What are the top priorities for you and the Green Party?
Obviously, the first one would be to start the fight against climate change — because we really need to take action quickly on this issue. We also want to reduce inequality in general in Canada and fight against poverty.
We have a plan for universal income that is part of our platform and this would also allow people to have access to affordable housing when they actually need to.
And another important part of our platform would be to put in a representative democracy, and we want to do that by implementing reform and a proportional representation system instead of the one that we have right now.
Why should young Canadians vote for the Green Party?
I think they should vote for the Green Party because it's the most progressive party on the political spectrum in Canada. It's the one that's really fighting for things that matter for them and we're working for future generations more than any other party. The good thing we have within the Green Party is a large youth wing that has a strong voice within the party.
We have many territories that work together to bring up to the leaders of the Party the issues that matter to young people. And the idea is that we want to fight against climate change because young people are going to be the ones suffering the most from the impact of climate change.
We want to leave young people the best chance possible to succeed in life. And we want to implement stuff like the tuition-free education and solve federal student loan debt, that's the kind of thing that would help young people going forward because we're going to be in the situation where the market is less stable than it used to be for the older generations.
We have to see how we have to adapt and be open to new ways of doing things, that I think other parties are not ready for that.
In trying to adapt, how is the Green Party planning to break through Canada's apparent two-party system that we have?
It's been a two-party system — kind of a two-party system for a while. So, we have the ability to work through it well with the younger generation. What I think we should do is vote with our values, instead of thinking safely.
So if we all go out and vote with our values we're going to have a House of Commons that's a lot more representative of what we want to see, rather than if we try to vote strategically according to what the polls have to say.
For a young person who's undecided and doesn't know what to do — if it's their first time voting, how does the Green Party try to convince that person to join them?
I think it's about getting the information about our platform out. I've checked out a lot of the things that have been done in the past and I'm really pleased about what the party has put forward in terms of the platform itself, and I think we need to be more informed about what the public wants and how we can implement those things and how realistic they are.
But I think our party is pushing forward something that's pretty realistic and I think, for undecided voters, it's awesome. When you see what's been going on in Europe for example, with the climate strikes and politics, the Green Parties there have really forced other parties to consider issues that they have not considered before.
A few years ago, the Conservative Party was not even talking about climate change, and even though it's not a great one, they put out a platform for climate change for this election. It's mostly because young people have pushed that into the agenda for these elections. They have to consider those things even though they're unhappy about it because it doesn't work with the rest of their agenda.
So I think what should be a part of this election is really thinking about what your values are, what you see be represented within the House of Commons, and cast your vote depending on that.
Other than the Green Party's climate initiatives, how does the party plan to change Canada for the better?
I think it's making Canadian society more resilient because our economy is based on non-renewable resources, which at some point we're going to run out of. It's something that's pretty frustrating because there are a lot of opportunities within Canada for renewable energy.
We have a wide variety of opportunities for renewable energy across the country, and if you promote that, we're going to be able to create a lot of high-paying jobs within the country and that's good for our economy as a whole.
We need to invest a lot more in education and make it available and affordable for everyone because that's something that's a priority. It's the same thing with the healthcare system.
We need to be able to develop our medicare. We need to make it accessible for people, so they don't have to pay for their medication, which is a huge expense for many people right now.
How will the Green Party consider Quebec and its unique issues right now, such as language and immigration?
One thing that's important about the Green Party is that within our constitution, there is the right for self-determination, which means that the Green Party recognizes the right of people having a word to say about their choices. We have a pretty good understanding of that in the Green Party of Quebec.
In our vision document, there is a section that's specifically focused on Quebec because we have a history that's different from the rest of Canada and French is very strong here compared to everywhere else. It says that if Quebec feels that they want to freely and democratically determine its full sovereignty through a majority vote in Quebec, that'll be something the Green Party would recognize.
It's all about the process of it though and has to be recognized obviously, by the International community and everything else, but in general, we have some autonomy as the Green Party of Canada in Quebec because we have a Quebec wing that works on issues within the Province.
We definitely don't see immigration as a problem. It's important to be able to have the structure in place to be able to get people better integrated into our society. We need to support them so they can learn our language and our culture.
In Montreal, public transit is a big issue for people, and we've seen the Liberal Party make a few investments into that this summer. How would the Green Party invest and improve Montreal's public transit system?
It's really all about investing. We know what we need to do and there is a lot that has been done which tells us what are the best improvements to put into the new subway, for example, or which the parts of Montreal are lacking public transit. We have a plan that will be able to coordinate the needs of the different governments like the municipal, provincial, and federal.
We will ensure better financing and the autonomy of cities to be able to choose where they want to be on those projects because they are the ones that know better what needs to be done. Valérie Plante knows better than anyone what Montreal needs right now and I think that's something we should recognize and respect.
Obviously, we don't have any specific lines or directions right now because it's the city that should have that say. We want to invest in public transport to be able to reduce the number of cars within the city.
I mean, it has such a negative effect on health, it's something that should be reduced quite drastically if we want the chance to have livable cities in the future.
Missed our other interviews? Check them out here:
The Canadian Federal election is happening on Monday, October 21st, 2019.
Voting for the first time? Want to know more about how our electoral system works? Check out our this handy guide from our colleagues at Narcity Canada!
Stay tuned for more from the Greens and all the other Federal political parties in Canada.