Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Free transit in Moose Jaw Sept. 15-20: a good first step, but not enough!

From Septmber 15-20, the city of Moose Jaw will be offering residents free bus service. Acting city transit supervisor, Darlene Noble, said the free bus week not only gives riders a chance to try out Moose Jaw’s new seven-piece transit fleet, but promote environmentalism as well. I say it's a good first step, but it's not enough.

It's a shame that our city's brand new garbage bins (that hold five bags) weren't accompanied by local blue bin service, which would create local green-collar jobs in Moose Jaw and help to make our city cleaner for the people that have to live here for many years to come. Becoming a zero waste city with local recycling facilities would mean even more new jobs in Moose Jaw.

Here's some more good news for the City of Moose Jaw: the Green Party would allocate one cent (1%) from the GST on a per capita basis to municipal governments for “Green Cities” initiatives, ensuring (through contractual agreements) that the funding is not used in ways that encourage urban sprawl, but instead to reduce sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve electricity and water, increase densification, expand convenient, safe, reliable and affordable public transit, and build cycling and walking paths.

But if you're looking for multiplex funding from this Green M.P., sorry! I do not consider it a fiscally responsible project. I was not consulted, were you? Is democracy lost in this country?

The Civic Centre would, however, be getting a federally funded facelift and "greening" including energy retrofitting which will actually provide the Moose Jaw Warriors with more money by reducing utility bills. This would be accomplished with the Green Party's Sports, Cultural and Recreational Facilities (SCRF) Fund to support the development of green recreational and cultural facilities and refurbish existing facilities. If a facility already exists, it should be refurbished. Why throw away a whole building with a great history and force the burden onto Moose Jaw taxpayers when we have not been asked first. This is not fiscally responsible. This is certainly not green. Plus, what's the harm in asking Moose Jaw taxpayers first?! The Green Party is a grassroots party and that means we stand for DEMOCRACY!

Public transit is a very important part of urban sustainability, but Moose Jaw's bus routes and hours of service need to be improved in order for public transit to be adequate here. Since public transit is being featured as environmentally friendly by the City of Moose Jaw, this means that it needs to be adequate enough for those that work outside of regular business hours to be able to bus to work or stores in the evening hours. Right now, the bus only runs on Thursday evenings and not at all on Sundays. If you can't take the bus on a Sunday, how are you supposed to spend the day with family or friends if you don't own a car and live too far away? Biking isn't an option for our city's seniors or for anyone here in the middle of winter! Our public transit system needs work, but this is a good FIRST step! I hope many people take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks to the city for offering free bus rides next week.

As your Green Party M.P., I would double existing funding to stimulate a massive re-investment in public transportation infrastructure in all Canadian towns and cities to make it convenient, safe, comfortable and affordable. With the money already spent on the new transit fleet, an equal amount of funding provided by a Green Party Government could be invested in more bus drivers for extended hours and days of service, meaning, once again, more new local jobs in Moose Jaw.

You have the power to make that happen Palliser! I'm pleased to be your Green Party Candidate.

Peace and Solidarity,
Larissa Shasko

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