September 9, 2015 1:07 pm
Updated: September 9, 2015 8:37 pm

Green Party platform promises cash for infrastructure, eliminate tuition

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WATCH ABOVE: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May unveiled her party’s campaign platform that included how the party will pay for the promises it makes. Vassy Kapelos spent the day with the Green Party leader to discuss the federal election.

VANCOUVER – Elizabeth May is anticipating an important third-party role for her Greens as she predicted next month’s federal election will yield a minority government.

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“A minority parliament can be a four-year period of respectful, deliberative, productive work for the people of Canada, or it can be a year or two of hyper-partisan squabbling and bickering,” May told a packed room of hundreds of green-clad, placard-waving supporters.

“The difference between those choices is how many Green members of Parliament are elected to work across party lines to give Canadians the government they want.”

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While calling a formal coalition between the Liberals and New Democrats a “healthy” idea, May shied away from any suggestion of a Green merger.

“We would like to sit in an opposition in a responsible parliament, which means our job would be to hold the government accountable,” she said.

The Greens are the first of Canada’s federal parties to release a full election platform, pledging billions of dollars for the environment, health care and support for seniors – without running a deficit.

A key plank is the expansion of universal health care to cover prescription drugs for all Canadians, who, the party said, would collectively save $11 billion a year through government bulk buying.

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The Greens also want to see $6.4 billion put toward municipal infrastructure, and cuts to Veterans Affairs, Canada Post and the CBC rolled back.

May promised to put a price on carbon, and to return the money generated to Canadians aged 18 and older through a “carbon dividend.”

The party is pledging to protect Canada’s coastlines from oil pipelines and tankers, promising staunch opposition to transporting unprocessed bitumen “whether west, south or east.”

The Greens are also calling for a national housing strategy, university tuition to be axed by 2020, and the repeal of the anti-terror bill, C-51.

To pay for the promises, May said the party would scrap government subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry, and restructure the tax system.

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The biggest change would be to hike taxes for large corporations to 2009 levels – to 19 per cent from 15 per cent. May said that would bring an extra $7.5 billion into federal government coffers per year.

“Talking about a corporate tax rate of 19 per cent for large corporations is not going to lead to capital flight,” she said.

May also proposed legalizing and taxing marijuana to help fund her promises.

“Apparently this stuff grows well in Canada,” she said to laughs from the crowd. “It’s a very large illegal economy. We’d like to make it legal and tax it.”

May spoke on Wednesday in front of 20 aspiring Green MPs, including two high-profile candidates.

Jo-Ann Roberts is a well-known former CBC Radio host running in Victoria, while Lynne Quarmby is a Simon Fraser University scientist best known for her outspoken opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline proposal.

The Greens had two seats in the House of Commons going into the election campaign.

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© 2015 The Canadian Press

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