Hampton Slags Greens on “The Agenda”

During an October 2nd interview by Steve Paikin, Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton took a heavy swing at the Green Party of Ontario, describing their policies as “market libertarianism.” He invited everyone to read the GPO platform claiming that the Green Party would take Ontarians in the direction of private water, roads and essential services.

I’ve heard Greens described as a lot of things, (poor deluded hippies, left-wing tree huggers, environmental whack jobs, to name a few) but never “market libertarians!” I guess that’s how it goes, Greens are too left for the right-wing parties and, apparently, too right for the left-wing.

Apparently Mr. Hampton needs to take his own advice, and read the GPO platform, since he couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Below is a transcription of the question and answer from the interview.

Mr. Paikin: Would you be higher in the polls if the Greens were not nipping at your heels as they have been in a couple of surveys?

Mr. Hampton: No. No.

Mr. Paikin: No?

Mr. Hampton: No. Look I invite, you know, I actually encourage people to read the Green Party platform. If people believe in private water, Walkerton, people die; if they believe in Enrons running the electricity system; <heh> if they believe in private roads and if they believe in privatizing all kinds of other essential public services that people depend on, especially people with low and modest incomes; then, you know, that’s where the Green Party will take you. The Green Party in Ontario is all about market libertarianism. And I’m afraid that a lot of people will get lost there because market libertarianism is all about “how much money do you have?” If you have money you can get the service. If you don’t have money, you don’t matter, get out of the way.

Here, (from the GPO platform) are the Green Party’s stands on the topics that Mr. Hampton brought up in his response.

On Private Water, The Green Party will:

  • Amend the Clean Water Act to ensure that Source Protection Committees are public, local and democratic. Recent government proposals have suggested that industrial and commercial stakeholders should make up one-third of these committees, which are responsible for watershed planning. Local communities, not industry, should determine water-use planning.
  • Implement Ontario-wide standards for sewage treatment. Currently, the quality of sewage treatment varies significantly by region. The GPO will provide funding to municipalities to help with necessary upgrades to meet the new standards.
  • Add 50 new water inspectors to the Ministry of Environment’s Compliance Branch and reinstate government testing of municipal water. There are currently 101 inspectors, and the government relies on private labs for testing.

On Electricity, The Green Party will:

  • Allow electricity rates to increase over the next three years until they reach their true, unsubsidized cost and ban exports of non-emergency and non-renewable power. The most effective way to encourage conservation efforts is to charge the real cost for electricity. The GPO will create programs to mitigate these changes for low-income renters and home owners and northern communities.
  • Provide up to $150 million per year for a program for low-income households to convert from electric space heating to natural gas or renewable energy sources and technologies such as heat pumps or biomass. This program will provide low-income households with the resources to convert to more efficient and lower cost heating systems.
  • Double the maximum provincial energy-efficient grant for home owners to $10,000 per household. As part of this program, the GPO will increase the provincial grant for geothermal heating and cooling hot water heating conversion grant from $500 to conversion to $5,250 and triple the provincial solar $1,500. Many homeowners want to embrace energy efficiency, but may not have the resources to cover the initial costs. This program is a cost-effective way of reducing energy demand.

On Private Roads, The Green Party will:

  • Divert 75% of all money budgeted for new highway construction until 2012 to public transit such as GO Transit, Toronto Transit Commission and Ottawa’s OCTranspo. This will fund the service improvements, expansion and infrastructure renewal required to create a world-class transportation system, relieve gridlock and eliminate the need for new highways. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce gridlock and prepare for the new green economy, Ontario must invest our transportation dollars wisely, looking forward, not backward.
  • Introduce legislation that requires each municipality by 2012 to have a sustainable master transportation plan. This plan would contain landuse planning that encourages walkable communities where citizens can live, work and play nearby; provisions for transit service and non-automobile alternatives; plans for peak-hour traffic volume decreases; and transportation-related greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Please note that there is no mention of privatization of any of these services. In fact, on the subject of water quality, the intent is to remove private interests from the process. As to the claim that low and modest income earners would be hurt by the Green Party, note that in all cases those very people are given grants or reductions in taxes to offset any increase in cost of service. Additionally the GPO platform is all about reducing and/or eliminating road construction, not privatization.

It would appear that Mr. Hampton has intentionally mis-represented the GPO platform in order to try to stop the bleeding of support from his party.  Take heart Ontario Greens, as Ghandi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Vote for this post at Canadian Bloggers
Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 at 11:22 am and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Hampton Slags Greens on “The Agenda””

  1. glennhubbers says:

    Excellent post, Jordon! I had heard about this interview after I read Frank’s response to it, but this is a great response.

    As you say, Howard should take his own advice and actually read the GPO platform. He might pick up an idea or two.

    And I hope everyone else takes his advice and reads the platform too! Then they will realize that what they heard is not true and that Howard was purposefully misleading people.

Leave a Reply