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Six questions with Candice Christmas of the Green Party of Canada

Candice Marie Christmas (nee Krumreich) is the Federal Green Party Candidate for Kingston and The Islands. She grew up in Lachine, a suburb of Montreal, and prides herself on being fully bilingual. She met her now-husband in the Thousand Islands and moved to Kingston in 1990. Christmas has been a member of the Green Party of Canada since spring 2019. She is a final year doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Equity at York University. Her “big passions are gardening and cooking” and she spends a lot of her spare time volunteering in the community. 

  1. What made you decide to run in this federal election?

Climate change has been in our sights for decades and we have made some progress through international efforts like the Montreal Protocol to address ozone depletion. So we know great things can be accomplished if we cooperate, but there is so much to be done. This spring, Greta Thunberg inspired me with her words: “I want you to panic… and act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.” I felt Greta’s frustration when I was her age, but now, there isn’t any more time for incremental solutions… we are running out of runway. We need to act with purpose: boldly, smartly. So I’m stepping up. I filed my nomination papers with the Green Party of Canada March 26, 2019, and, though time is against me, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of people coming forward to help put a campaign together. It sometimes feels like a big, blended family, because we have so many people who historically worked with other parties – NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives – but people see the urgency, the priority that is the climate emergency and its threat to Canadian security, and they are coming to help. The Greens are about doing politics differently, which calls for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, and people are heeding the call.  This fall election is pivotal because the status quo won’t do. There is too much at stake.

  1. In your opinion, what is the most important issue being discussed during this election?

That the old ways of doing things aren’t working for Canadians… too many people are not making ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck, or are one adverse life event away from financial ruin (like having to take time off work to care for an ailing parent). And it’s making people ill… anxiety and depression rates just keep rising. 

  1. What is the single most common thing constituents bring up when you’re going door-to-door?

I’m looking forward to finding that out. Our Green canvassers will start with the question, “What are you concerned about?” We are just getting started, with purpose, to listen, and adapt the Green Party platform to reflect the needs of Kingston and The Islands. We can do that, because Green MPs, aren’t whipped. In fact, we are encouraged to ensure our policies are in line with the needs of our community. 

  1. Is there one particular issue you would like to champion if elected to represent Kingston and the Islands?

So, again I have to emphasize that the big issues are complex and interrelated. I plan to champion financial security, because no child or youth should be denied healthy food and a safe place to live… it’s critical to their development and health over their lifetime. So basic income security is a must, what the Greens call a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI). This will provide people with the basics as they retrain for new opportunities in the Green Economy, or work to launch their own enterprises. It will ensure that no Canadian is left behind. GLI, alone won’t be enough. We also need affordable housing reforms so youth, seniors, and our most vulnerable have safe places to live that don’t cost them more than 30 per cent of their monthly take home income. Add universal childcare and you have the trifecta of the Green Platform for social justice for all Canadians.

I’ve been studying political economy for my dissertation, including health economics and cost-benefit-analysis. When you look at vulnerable populations like the poor, homeless, people with addictions, it is actually more financially efficient to provide robust social programs to heal them and provide them with the basics of life, than to deal with the costs to health care, social welfare and criminal justice when the system fails them. We have this romantic notion of rags to riches stories – of the people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed despite the overwhelming odds against them. It’s a very small statistic.  

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue with the current makeup of the federal government?

Electoral Reform wasn’t implemented. It’s a travesty when you consider how Trudeau campaigned on this. “We [Liberals] are committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first-past-the-post.” Justin Trudeau, 2015, and reiterated in the Throne Speech of December 2015 (see https://globalnews.ca/news/3102270/justin-trudeau-liberals-electoral-reform-changing-promises/). By 2017, this election promise was formally broken. The report from the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform (which Elizabeth May served on), calling for the implementation of Proportional Representation (PR), was rejected. How many people voted Liberal based on the promise of electoral reform? 

The Green Party supports a proportional voting system that directly translates votes into representation in Parliament, removing financial barriers to running for office, and lowering the voter age to 16 to encourage youth civic action.

  1. If you could share one message with voters in Kingston and the Islands, what would it be?

“The House is on fire!” so the Time is now to vote Green! The same old blue/red flip means we will lose another four years in addressing the climate emergency, four years our planet may not have. The Green groundswell is happening and people from left and right, all colours, are heeding the call! And I can ignite our citizens. I have the will and the skills. I’m a mother on a mission. I am your best choice for MP in Kingston & The Islands [because]: 

  • Proven success as a change management leader in private, public and not-for profit sectors;
  • On-the-ground knowledge of our communities, and the dedication to keep listening and learning;
  • In-depth work experience and education in strategic relations and policy at the local, provincial, national and international levels;
  • A courageous heart and a quick mind, articulate and determined;
  • Fully bilingual and dedicated to community building and health equity.

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4 thoughts on “Six questions with Candice Christmas of the Green Party of Canada

  • August 24, 2019 at 7:32 am
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    It’s wrong to say that the 2016 Federal ERRE Committee recommended party proportional (PR) voting. The Committee was deadlocked on the issue and the closest they got to recommending PR was to recommend a referendum … and the Greens quickly backed off that idea.

    Small, special interest and regional parties like PR, but Canadians have rejected it time after time, in referendum after referendum, from BC to PEI. Please look at the political fragmentation, paralysis, and ungovernability that’s happening right now in European countries and Israel that use PR voting.

    If you prefer the stability, accountability and simplicity of Canada’s current FPTP voting system visit our web site FPTP.ca

  • August 25, 2019 at 10:18 am
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    I am impressed and will be voting for Ms Christmas/The Green Party in October.
    It is surely time to set aside the old guard and to move ahead with a new, dynamic perspective.

  • August 28, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    Hopefully, we can get past FPTP once people give up the scary notion of PR; PR being totally incompatible with the Westminster Parliamentary System concept of “confidence of the house”.

    The mistake Trudeau made on the electoral reform issue is that he put an inexperienced minister in charge of the file, and she (and the Green’s) got outsmarted by the CPC and the NDP.

    It is widely understood that the CPC wants FPTP as without it they will very seldom form a government. What was explained to me by a former NDP insider is that many senior back-roomers at the NDP also want FPTP.

    The NDP is the most integrated of all the parties between federal, provincial, and (even though it is unofficial due to the lack of explicit party politics) local levels. The same volunteers and staffers tend to support the same party as all three levels, and tend to work/volunteer at all three levels. The NDP have also looked at the number of times they have been able to form provincial governments and realized this would usually not have happened were it not for FPTP. This was easily illustrated when the Alberta NDP dropped electoral reform from their platform.

    Looking seriously at MMPR, many experts in democratic governance models see it as frought with significant dangers as a system. Many see MMPR is probably the worst form of government in that it centralizes power in the leaders’ offices, removes even more input from the regions of the country, and coupled with the principal of “confidence of the house” gives extortion-like power to fringe parties.

    Look at what was happening in Norway during the BC referendum on the issue…. a fringe-right party was holding a moderate party hostage and demanding a rollback on reproductive rights in return for propping the moderate party up. Note that the BC people had the good sense to turn down PR.

    By the NDP and the CPC agreeing to support a referendum on PR, they created an ideal situation for themselves. Given the very real problems with PR that would get more than superficial study in an election campaign, the odds are strong that the proposal would get defeated (and properly so). However, it would dominate the campaign and lead to less attention being paid to the myriads of other important issues.

    Furthermore, seeing Brexit and other examples of foreign interference in referenda and elections leading to destabilizing results, the only sound approach for the Liberals was to ditch the issue early.

    The CPC won – they get to keep FPTP for at least one more round. The NDP won – they get to avoid MMPR getting a foothold – from which it could greatly curtail their provincial electoral successes. The NDP won even more (those crafty devils) in that they got to blame the Liberals.

    Hopefully, if the issue returns it will be placed in the hands of a more experienced cabinet minister. We might someday end up with preferential ballot – the truly viable voting reform system that does lead to more civil electoral discourse, more diversity in representation, and compromise on issues.

  • September 29, 2019 at 2:41 pm
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    I agree with Mr. Pittman. I will be voting for Mrs. Christmas/The Green Party, this October. I believe she has expressed the concerns voters have in struggling from pay to pay, trying to survive..

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