Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May called today for the restoration of door-to-door mail delivery and daily Via Rail passenger service between Halifax and Montreal.
“We need to ensure that rural Canadians do not feel neglected and ignored,” May told a news conference outside local Green candidate Laura Reinsborough’s Beauséjour campaign office.
The Green leader explained that revitalizing Canada Post and Via Rail are key planks in the party platform.
“Under our plan, postal door-to-door service for Canadians will be reinstated,” May said. “We’re investing in Canada Post and we want to change the corporate direction.”
Aside from restoring door-to-door mail delivery, the Green platform calls on Canada Post to set up banking services and public high-speed Internet access especially in communities without banks and libraries.
The platform also advocates training mail carriers “to check on people with mobility issues or who live alone, particularly during heat waves, storms and other emergencies.”
To read the section of the Green platform called Re-imagining Canada Post, click here.
Restoring Via Rail
She added that a Green government would commit more than $700 million a year to expanding Via service, including making sure that passenger trains roll through Sackville on the route between Montreal and Halifax every day.
In 2012, Conservative government cuts led to a service reduction from six days a week to three and the closure of railway stations in Sackville and Amherst. (Last year, Sackville Town Council voted unanimously to support the campaign for restoration of Via service.)
During today’s news conference, May outlined plans for electrifying Via Rail and tying its services in with light rail and electric buses that connect with rural and remote communities.
To read the Green Party news release, click here.
Meantime, 14-year-old Quinn MacAskill, one of Sackville’s most committed climate change campaigners, told reporters that when she was going door-to-door with Laura Reinsborough recently, one woman told them she was considering not voting in this election.
“As soon as we left the house, I expressed my frustration with this because it’s such a privilege to be able to vote,” MacAskill said. “Our future depends on the results of this election,” she added, “when so many people’s lives depend on it.”
MacAskill told reporters she began taking part in strikes last March encouraging fellow students to leave school to protest against the lack of action on climate change.
“I decided to start striking because I think it’s really the only way that we can get any attention from the media, from the governments, and we need to have that attention because our future is at risk.”
MacAskill is helping the Sackville Youth Climate Crisis Coalition to organize another climate strike this Friday as part of an international series of such strikes.
“We are hoping to have a ton of people out, seeing as Mount Allison students are back, and in addition, youth across the world are calling for a general strike, meaning we want adults to strike from their workplaces in solidarity with the youth,” MacAskill wrote in an earlier e-mail to Warktimes.
May meets with students
After their news conference, May and Reinsborough talked with Mount Allison University students in Gracie’s Café and then, during a short speech, the Green leader spoke of what she sees as an addiction.
“We’re addicted to fossil fuels,” she said. “We’re addicted to a mindset that says transnational corporate profits are more important than our survival.”
She added that breaking free of addictions is difficult at first, but gets easier with effort.
“We can have 100% renewable green electricity, we could get rid of the internal combustion engine,” May said, “but what we can’t do is be so afraid of making the changes to save our lives that we forget that survival is job one.”
As she was leaving Mt. A. to campaign in Halifax, May was asked about a plank in the Green platform calling for reforming Canada’s anti-trust laws to enable the break-up of media conglomerates.
She explained that when the major media chain Canwest entered bankruptcy protection in 2009, the bankruptcy receiver refused to allow local people to buy its newspapers, which were then sold to another chain.
“We need to be able to break up these chains,” she said.
When asked if that included breaking up the Irving near monopoly on newspapers in New Brunswick, May replied: “Of course, especially the Irvings.”