Bob Jonkman sees Green party as vi­able op­tion amidst voter dis­sat­is­fac­tion

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI


green,’ was the fa­mous re­frain of a cer­tain am­phib­ian mup­pet, but Green, it seems, might very well be what’s called for right now. That’s cer­tainly the dilemma of the lo­cal Green party can­di­date in the Kitch­ener-Con­estoga rid­ing, Bob Jonkman, who is of­fer­ing a fourth op­tion out from the cur­rent power strug­gle be­tween the big three po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Com­ing in dis­tant fourth, the Green party has its work cut for it to at­tract a fol­low­ing, but Jonkman be­lieves there are more than a few com­pelling rea­sons for vot­ers to line up be­hind his party.

“The big­gest thing that I’ve heard at the door is peo­ple’s desire to vote strate­gi­cally, to ei­ther get the Lib­er­als out or to keep the PCs out,” says Jonkman.

“So I’m not quite sure who they’re vot­ing for in­stead. But I’m told sev­eral times, ‘I’d love to vote Green, my align­ment is Green, I’m a green per­son at heart, but I can’t vote for you this time be­cause I need to keep the bad guys out.’”

An Elmira res­i­dent for the past 18 years, Jonkman is a com­puter con­sul­tant by trade. He is also a cochair of Fair Vote Water­loo chap­ter which deals with the is­sue of elec­toral re­form.

That “lesser-of-two­evils” ap­proach (or three evils, de­pend­ing on your po­lit­i­cal lean­ings) of­ten used in pol­i­tics, while of­ten prac­ti­cal, is also some­thing Jonkman wants dis­cour­age in this elec­tion.

“That of course is a di­rect re­flec­tion on the bad first-past-the-post sys­tem that we have to­day, where peo­ple feel they can’t vote for what they re­ally be­lieve in. They end up vot­ing for some­thing that they don’t like, and then of course they’ll get a gov­ern­ment they don’t like be­cause that’s what they voted for.”

But be­sides the ide­o­log­i­cal rea­sons are the more cal­cu­lated ones. Thanks to a change po­lit­i­cal fi­nanc­ing leg­is­la­tion in On­tario made by the Lib­eral party, ev­ery vote to­wards a po­lit­i­cal party can put more money in their cof­fers for fu­ture elec­tion­eer­ing and cam­paign­ing. Rather than rely on big cor­po­rate dona­tions, po­lit­i­cal par­ties in On­tario will now re­ceive tax­payer fund­ing de­pend­ing on the num­ber of votes they re­ceive.

“As a fall­back, I’ll point out that On­tario now has a per vote sub­sidy,” says Jonkman. “So if they re­ally wanted to sup­port the Green Party, the eas­i­est way for them to do it is to ac­tu­ally vote Green, which will pro­vide some fund­ing for the Green Party if they do that.”

It’s a com­pelling enough ar­gu­ment for those in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing the Green Party, which is cam­paign­ing on an am­bi­tiously far-left plat­form.

Front and cen­tre in its plat­form is a pro­posal for a ba­sic in­come scheme that would es­sen­tially pro­vide ev­ery per­son in On­tario with a guar­an­teed liv­able in­come. For the peren­nial con­cern of af­ford­able hous­ing, the party’s plan is to re­quire a fifth of ev­ery hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in the prov­ince de­voted specif­i­cally to af­ford­able homes.

Bob Jonkman

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