Green party weighs in on local development

By Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review

Green Party

Green Party

It may not get much public attention, but the Green Party believes it is helping to shape public policy in Canada.

“Nine times out of 10, one of the big three (Liberal, Conservative and NDP) will take all of our research and take all of our suggestions and put their name on it, which we don’t mind because the Greens are very dedicated to getting to the end picture,” said Karen Fraser, chief executive officer of the party’s federal riding association in Niagara Falls.

“If it gets scooped up by somebody else and it still helps our people, then we don’t mind if they steal our ideas.”

The riding association held its annual general meeting in Niagara Falls Wednesday night.

In addition to voting in an executive team, the riding association invited St. Catharines resident and activist Ed Smith to address members.

Smith has been calling for an independent forensic audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority after distributing a report that accused the NPCA of using questionable practices and conflicts of interest.

In response, the NPCA threatened legal action against Smith and demanded an apology, but Smith has not backed down.

Fraser said there was also a discussion about the $1-billion project proposed around the Thundering Waters area in Niagara Falls.

She said the Greens are concerned about what the project could mean for the vast environmental attributes surrounding the property, including wetlands and slough forests.

Fraser said Smith does not endorse the platform of any party.

She said Smith was not invited for any political reason, but because he’s “so knowledgable” about the issues he speaks about.

“I kind of compared him to (federal Green Party leader) Elizabeth May because they both are very knowledgable, both have done their research on whatever topic they’re talking about and can back up their standings.”

Although the next federal election is not scheduled until October 2019, Fraser said the Greens want to continue presenting their ideas in a bi-partisan manner.

“At all levels we’re always trying to stay current with the issues, so that we know what’s happening,” she said.

“We want to continue putting out how we see things and how we can fix problems, or how the situation can be fixed.”

Fraser said May allows party officials to have their own opinions about issues, but directs them to “take the high road” and “not personally slam” politicians.

“We are not whipped, we are not told what our opinions are, we are able to talk for our constituents.”