Bob Jonkman sees Green party as viable option amidst voter dissatisfaction
‘IT’S NOT EASY BEING
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.