These pages give details on my approach to the issues that affect our community and our world.

Use the menu at left to choose themes.   I’ve put specific issues under these themes.

Thank you for reading!

Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu

15 responses to “Issues”

  1. Aaron writes:

    In an attempt to make an informed decision on May 2nd, I put together a few questions that I’d love to see answered by my local candidates:

    1. What role does regional representation currently play in federal politics and how do you see this role evolving?
    2. What role do you see yourself having in policy-making within your party? How will you affect change?
    3. Is it important that governments always balance budgets? If not, what are appropriate conditions for deficit spending?
    4. In your opinion, what is the single greatest threat that Canadians should be concerned about right now?
    5. In your opinion, what is the single greatest opportunity that Canadians should be excited about right now?
    6. How do you intend to engage your local electorate between now and May 2nd? How do you intend to engage your local electorate after May 2nd?
  2. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Thanks Aaron,

    Here are my answers:

    1. What role does regional representation currently play in federal politics and how do you see this role evolving?

    I’m not entirely sure I understand this question but I’ll answer as best I can.

    There has been a disturbing long-term trend toward focusing on party leaders, the PMO and party discipline, with the resulting reduction in say from individual MPs and the regional interests they represent. Many MPs are forced to vote against the needs of their constituents. The Green Party allows its candidates the greatest flexibility of any party.

    Apart from structural changes that could improve this, the Green Party promotes grassroots decision-making as a priority so that citizens are engaged in legislation. Our party offers the greatest transfer of federal funding to municipal governments for infrastructure improvements, and we make it contingent on emissions reduction and community input, so citizens get a direct say in the delivery of the basic government services that matter most to them. In the 2008 election, the Green Party got the endorsement of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

    2. What role do you see yourself having in policy-making within your party? How will you affect change?

    I assume that the Green contingent in the next Parliament will be tiny. If we are very, very lucky, we will be able to negotiate a relationship with the governing party to bring in some of our priorities. For me, the top priority would be a more credible climate change strategy. Second would be the implementation of the Guaranteed Annual Income which could deliver more generous and less invasive income support for those who need it at less cost to the taxpayer. We need to stop spending money hand over fist to keep people in poverty.

    Assuming we are not able to play deal maker, there is still a tremendous amount that my voice can bring to the table. In a good government, legislation is refined and improved in committees with input from all parties and I hope to be very active in this important behind-the-scenes work. The reason we do not hear much about this these days is that we have three parties aggressively elbowing each other out of the way, announcing that every piece of legislation proposed by any other party is absurd and refusing to listen to each other. They are like bullies squabbling in the schoolyard. Green Party members hope to bring back a measure of civilized discourse into the process.

    Within my party, I have been extremely active on Shadow Cabinet as Climate Change critic, ensuring that we have a programme to make the transition to a low-emissions economy swift and economical, with community empowerment and with as little economic disruption as possible. I have also taken on strong leadership in developing the guaranteed annual income and in addressing urban crime issues. I have a lot to say about human rights issues, and advocate for the concerns of people in Toronto-Danforth as well.

    3. Is it important that governments always balance budgets? If not, what are appropriate conditions for deficit spending?

    Balancing budgets is an important principle. The cruelest thing we could possibly do to our children is to saddle them with an unmanageable debt burden on top of the costly and damaging environmental burdens we are imposing.

    That said, deficit spending is critical at times. Obviously it’s important in times of national emergency. During economic downturns it’s a bit of a mixed bag. As oil, which is the lifeblood of our economy, declines, we cannot assume constant economic growth or even health and we cannot put ourselves in a position of constant deficit stimulus which would put us in a permanent structural deficit. So when the economy suffers and jobs are lost, we need to ensure that we are investing wisely and efficiently in jobs with a better future, and that we get out of deficit as soon as possible.

    4. In your opinion, what is the single greatest threat that Canadians should be concerned about right now?

    In the short term, economic disruptions as oil declines and challenges our ability to deliver just about everything – food, water, home heating, vehicle fuels to get to work, you name it.

    In the long term, the threat of climate change is even more daunting. On our current trajectory, we are on track to ensuring that the vast majority of humanity will disappear in the second half of this century. Decisions we make now will largely determine the world our children and grandchildren will inherit.

    5. How do you intend to engage your local electorate between now and May 2nd? How do you intend to engage your local electorate after May 2nd?

    I really believe that community outreach and input makes for better government.

    I have been canvassing door-to-door for two years. I participate in many community issues on planning, air quality and development, and I have been involved in many advocacy groups and the outreach they do. During the election, I have also been out in public introducing myself and I hope to participate in debates. I have been asked, and accepted, to speak in a number of public meetings.

    I expect my community outreach to continue after May 2 whether or not I am elected. If I am spending much of my year in Ottawa, obviously the way I do outreach will have to change somewhat. Nonetheless, Toronto-Danforth is my home and I expect to remain engaged in issues here. I will continue to participate in local issues as I am able to. I would organize and attend general community meetings in local enclaves and invite representatives from other levels of government so that citizens can get together and have a one-stop opportunity to voice their concerns about the delivery of all government services. I would also make a special effort to outreach to people who have a hard time getting around.

    Hope this helps,

  3. Brooklyn writes:

    Hi im doing a school project and i need some information so here they go……

    1 Where do you stand on corporate taxes
    2 Where do you stand on School/ Education
    3 Where do you stand on health care

    Thank you

  4. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    1. In principle corporate taxes should be high. The reason to reduce them is to remain competitive in a global environment. When other countries have lower tax rates, international corporations are encouraged to locate there and jobs can shift. Canada already has a very low corporate tax rate now. There is no reason to reduce it further, especially at a time when the economy is slack and we urgently need the tax dollars. The Green Party would return to a corporate tax rate of 19%.

    2. We are in strong support of education. The Green Party believes that post-secondary education is a basic right and will work hard to ensure access to every eligible student. Our current budget makes a lot of inroads by injecting $400 million towards post secondary bursaries. We would offer up to 50% loan forgiveness upon degree completion to qualified students. We also have a municipal youth employment programme for which participants can receive a $4000 tuition credit upon completion. We have large numbers of university graduates who cannot find employment at all, so our youth strategy couples a solid investment in post-secondary education with a $1 billion investment in municipal youth employment.

    3. We are absolutely committed to the Canada Health Act. Health costs are rising and threaten the stability of the system, so we have to evaluate practices to ensure that we deliver good quality health care economically. The current Green Party platform calls for tackling the fastest growing area of health care spending – pharmaceutical drugs. We would deliver a national pharmacare strategy economically by negotiating bulk purchases from the Canadian government and by not including those drugs which do more harm than good – like Viagra, which kills. We also need to reduce future cost increases by investing in prevention. We need to eliminate carcinogens and endocrine disruptors from the environment, ensure a safe and healthy food supply and get people moving. That’s far less expensive (and less trying on families) than paying for quadruple heart bypasses and rehab for stroke victims.

  5. Stephanie Martin writes:

    I am also a student looking into the candidates in my schools riding for our newspaper to see what the stand on the issues are.

    My two questions are:

    Would you support higher taxes on gas and dirty energy (nuclear, coal and gas) to reduce use and encourage using clean renewable energy?

    As a follow-up to the previous question – I did not know that Viagara kills people. can you please tell me where I can get more information. If your party gets into power, would you ban Viagara?

  6. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Sorry for the delay. My initial answer was lost.

    1. A carbon tax is probably the biggest change the Green Party would bring to the table. There are important details about how we would ensure that the corresponding increases in price would not hurt low-income Canadians, but the basic answer is: Yes, we’d put higher taxes on coal and gas.

    We would tackle nuclear in a different way — by removing all federal subsidies. The biggest subsidy by far is the insurance guarantee. The Japanese economy will be hammered by the need to pay for the enormous damages from the Fukushima incident. No government has a fund for dealing with nuclear accidents, yet every government guarantees its reactors. This is unlike every other form of generation which must be insured against damages it might cause. If the federal government simply refuses to guarantee reactors and mandates that all must be fully self-insured, it is unlikely that any large reactors will ever be built again in Canada. They are not particularly economical now. Without the insurance subsidy, they would be absurdly too expensive.

    2. Here is a study that revealed problems associated with Viagra:

    We would not ban Viagra. If people understand the risks and want to take them and assume the costs, that’s fine. People go sky-diving all the time and some die. All the Green Party is saying is that, in order to be fiscally responsible while introducing a new government program to pay for prescriptions, we would need to draw some limits on what was covered. We would not support government paying the costs for Viagra prescribed for erectile dysfunction if a serious side effect is death. The risks of the treatment outweigh the medical benefit.

  7. Stephanie Martin writes:

    Thanks for the Viagra info Adriana.

    I am asking Jack Layton the asme follow-up questions on carbon taxes:

    Would it be smart for Canada start a new carbon tax law if there is not a similar tax in the US and China?

    If carbon taxes are a good idea to reduce emissions then won’t higher business taxes reduce business?

  8. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Sorry Stephanie for not answering earlier. I just noticed this now.

    A high carbon tax could hurt Canadian industry if it was not accompanied by a tariff on imported goods and some sort of compensation for exported products. This is part of the Green Party plan. With border corrections, the carbon tax would actually promote Canadian business, at least relative to countries that did not have a similar mechanism. That’s why Jeff Rubin promotes the carbon tax for the United States, not so much to reduce emissions as to correct the trade imbalance with China.

    Sin taxes like carbon taxes can discourage use of products that have alternatives or can be avoided altogether. So you can compare the carbon tax to a cigarette tax. Business taxes are more like income taxes, in that they tax something that people will be inclined to do whether or not they are taxed. Nobody decides to stop working because income taxes rise and no business will fold because business taxes rise.

    The ONLY rationale for low corporate taxes is competitiveness in a global market. We fear business flight to other countries. Since Canada’s corporate tax rate is already very low, lowering it further accomplishes nothing except setting a bad example other countries will feel the need to follow.

    Hope this helps, Adriana

  9. Stephanie Martin writes:

    Hi Adriana,

    Thanks for answering my questions from last year. I am now studying Politics at school and plan to specialize in Environmental Policy.

    I thought I could help on some of the tax policy that we talked about last time as I have been doing a lot of research in this regard. Your idea of a carbon tax + tariff is a good one but my group discovered it has some problems. The carbon tax/tariff idea would really hurt the poor and working class because the cost of their energy would go up (carbon tax) at the same time the cost of many of their products would also increase (tariff). According to our research this plan would create high inflation and then unemployment, which would make it all worse.

    Second we looked into your point that business taxes are the same as income taxes. This is mostly incorrect (sorry!:)). Most businesses see taxes the same as any other cost and are very sensitive to increases. Countless businesses and even entire industries have folded due to higher taxes, we looked at a number of case studies in devloped and emerging economies. Manufacturing is especially sensitive and businesses will fold or move if taxes are too high or unpredictable. Service businesses are less sensitive but they will pass on higher taxes to their custonmers, whihc means the cost oif living goes up and the people end up paying the higher business tax themselves.

    We found that ther are many rationales for low business taxes aside from competitiveness but the best reason is that you and O pay for them at the end of the day anyhow. IMHO, its better to have low business taxes and maximize employment where like you said, people are not going to stop working if they have higher income taxes.

    Hope that can help you in some way. Good luck on the new election and thank you for helping me with my studies!!!


  10. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Hi Stephanie,

    As I mentioned when I first answered you, I was giving you the short answer on carbon taxes. I’ll get into the details here to clear up the misunderstandings.

    If we simply put a tax on fossil fuels and kept the money for government services, it would hurt the poor. But that’s not what the Green Party ever proposed to do.

    First, you should understand that one of the very best indicators of carbon emissions is income/wealth – the richer you are the more emissions you tend to be responsible for. So if a tax were applied on fossil fuels, the rich would pay the most.

    But it’s still true that the poor would suffer more, because they would not have even a small amount of money to spend. But that would only be true if all we did was tax, tax, tax, which, as I said, we never planned to do.

    The Green Party’s current plan is to create a carbon fund separate from general revenues, divide every penny between all Canadian adults (with a 1/4 share for children). So a family with 2 adults and 2 children would get almost $3000 back. Almost all Canadian families would benefit. The very wealthy would probably be worse off, but they would also be in a great position to do something about it – invest in insulation or a more efficient car, for example. Meanwhile for a very poor family, that $3000 would probably represent almost $2000 a year in increased income. That money could be used to invest in further reducing their emissions, for even greater benefits.

    On the issue of business taxes, you’re basically repeating what I said. Businesses can fold if they have to compete with foreign products that have lower taxes. Or they can move. But if corporate taxes were high everywhere, then businesses would just compete in that environment. You wouldn’t fold up a profitable business. And you wouldn’t move to a place that had the same or higher tax rate anyway. So it makes sense to drop corporate taxes to be competitive, but it doesn’t make much sense to keep dropping them when your country already has one of the lowest corporate tax rates around.

    Hope that clarifies things, Adriana

  11. cal Aylmer writes:


    1) Where does the green party stand on Genetically modified crops or animals ( as in eco pork), and in connection with that, the labeling of such products so the consumer can choose to purchase and support this industry or not.

    2) Where does the Green party stand on the changes that Stephen Harper made to the naming of creek sections as “tailings impoundment areas” so as to circumvent the environmental laws that were in place to prevent anyone being allowd to dump anything in creeks.A move he made as near as i can tell silently and unilaterally, as with many other moves.


  12. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Hi Cal,

    1. The Green Party would fight for the fair and honest labelling of all products sold, and labelling GMOs would be a high priority. I would also like to see a move to European standards, where GMO fields must be surrounded by buffer fields planted in unrelated crops to stop spread. I’m also unhappy with the overuse of chemical pesticides, which destroy living soils and are responsible for large and growing anoxic zones in our oceans. The majority of GMOs are designed for very high use of pesticides and I’d like to see a reduction in their use, either through regulation or through fees for use. Anyone who spreads poisons on soils, and will allow these poisons to run through the water system should at least pay for the cost of the damage.

    2. The Green Party took a stand against the creation of tailings impoundment areas along creeks. Here is the press release:

    International Day of Water : Greens call for more stringent laws to protect our water

    March 22, 2010. OTTAWA – On an international day of awareness about the importance and fragility of our water resources, Canada is preparing to destroy a rich and healthy lake in the heart of British Columbia. This tragedy is the result of recent amendments to the Fisheries Act, once considered the strongest law in Canada, now allowing lakes and rivers to be designated as tailing impoundment areas. In essence, this means that mining companies are free to use pristine water bodies as dumpsites for waste.

    “We are seeing the harmful effects of the new amendment to the Fisheries Act in British Columbia at beautiful Fish Lake, in the Chilcotin. This fish-bearing lake is slated to become a toxic dump site. There is no way this should be allowed in Canada, or anywhere,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Canadian Greens. Public hearings of the Federal Environmental Assessment Review Panel regarding the proposed mine on Fish Lake will start on March 22, International Waters Day. “On this day, it is terribly sad that we are seriously considering killing the ecosystem around a clean and healthy lake,” said May.

    Fish Lake, on Tsilhqot’in land, is threatened by a proposed gold and copper mine. Taseko Mines Ltd.’s plan would have an estimated seven hundred million tons of tailings and waste material, including arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium and other toxic metals, permanently filling the lake. With the irresponsible changes to the Fisheries Act, eleven other lakes across Canada will suffer a similar fate.

    “Canadian laws seem to hand control of our water to the private sector and operate in industry’s best interests. The Harper government has reduced the number of projects undergoing environmental assessment, which would otherwise ensure protection of our water and waterways from polluting operations. The Green Party will fight to give control of this precious resource back to Canadians,” said Jacques Rivard, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

    “ Canada allows large industry to draw water from aquifers (underground water). Federal officials refuse to acknowledge the link between underground and surface water. Management of our freshwater must take into account protecting the entire hydrological cycle otherwise the future of our water supply is questionable,” said Lorraine Bainville, Water Critic for the Green Party of Canada. “ Prime Minister Harper still refuses to acknowledge that we each have a natural right to water.”

    In just fifty years, Canada, one of the richest countries in freshwater reserves, has managed to contaminate and exploit a large majority of our water supply. As a result commercial and subsistence fisheries are disappearing. We are collectively paying millions of dollars in water treatment plants to attempt to produce cleaner water, with little success. Water contamination with toxins by the tar sands, mining industry and large scale hydroelectric plants seemingly goes unpunished and these are just a few examples of how we destroy this vital resource.

    The third United Nations World Water Development Report: Water in a Changing World warns that continued water exploitation by industry, further exacerbated by climate change and the pressure of an ever-growing human population, increases the chance of major conflict resulting in the future. “Canada needs more stringent laws to protect our water. Unfortunately we seem to be moving backward on this issue,” said May.

    Thanks for your interest, Adriana

  13. Stephanie Martin writes:

    Hi Adriana, thanks for the follow-up on the Green Party’s financial ideas for carbon and business taxation. I took your ideas and work-shopped them with my case study group at school (we are working on green/sustainable economic policy). I wanted to share our conclusions and our own ideas for your consideration.

    We concluded that it would be a problem to implement your carbon tax while at the same time increasing most families wealth as it would have the opposite of the desired effect because families would have more, not less, disposable income and would therefore be more likely to consume more energy as this is typical of growing wealth. Also, the policy suffers from tax recycling. This means the government collects tax from people for one thing (carbon) and then pays exactly the same money back to them in the form of a credit. The problem is millions of dollars are lost in the administration because you have to pay a lot of people to collect the tax and then pay it back to the same people they taxed. Our idea is to implement a tax to discourage carbon use and then use the proceeds to fund the increase of mass transit for urban areas and energy efficiencies and retrofits for rural areas. This discourages energy use and increases the cost of living but it also helps people afford alternatives that will save them money brought by the carbon tax. Our motto is “There has to be pain to get an environmental gain.”

    On corporate taxes, we found that the Green Party ideas were really off track with economic theory and business practice. First Canada doesn’t have any control over other countries business taxes, we can only control our own destiny. Second, taxes are only one consideration for business costs. Canada has a competitive advantage for tax costs but is disadvantaged in terms of labour costs, logistics, environmental costs etc. – low business taxes level the playing field or give an advantage against many other developed and developing economies. Third, low business taxes are a magnet for foreign investment which has the multiplier effect through higher total taxes for income, sales and capital taxes. CEO’s might not fold a profitable business if business taxes go up like you said but if they cant pass on the cost increase to customers they are more likely to invest outside of Canada or move certain parts of the manufacturing process. We asked three CEOs from three different businesses about what higher corporate taxes would do to them: grocery = increase prices, manufacturing = increase prices or move offshore, mining = reduce investment in Canada, increase investment overseas. In all of these situations everyday people either see their costs of living go up or they lose jobs. Our solution for business taxes is to make sure Canada always has one of the most competitive tax rates in the world and then get increased overall taxes from income and consumption taxes that comes from a strong economy and higher investment.
    I hope the Green party will consider our sustainable tax ideas!


  14. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I always consider all ideas, and welcome your input. As Climate Change critic for the Green Party of Canada, though, I spend a lot of time talking to economists and climate scientists about what would work and the effects of our proposed policies, so I have considered the impact of many ideas already.

    While it is true that more wealth generally means more carbon emissions, the context of the tax rebate is higher energy prices, which discourage use. What’s more, when the policy is implemented it would be made clear that businesses and the wealthiest Canadians have a built-in incentive to reduce their emissions quickly as well as the means to do so. So lower income Canadians must be given the means to make their own investments to keep up.

    There are two reasons for the government not to use the money from a carbon tax. The first is that it will be targeted as a hated tax grab. If the money is redistributed, most people benefit and appreciate the policy overall. If the government needs extra money to support low-carbon options, there is no reason why the money should come from a carbon tax. It can come from taxes on new vehicles or pollutants, for example. And in the context of higher energy prices, the public demand for spending on transit and retrofits will be high enough to support any required tax increases.

    The other reason why a carbon tax should not be used for government services is that it’s a big tax and the distribution would be unequal. If you live across the street from where you work, you don’t get much benefit from transit investments, but you still pay a higher tax on home heating, while your neighbour gets a break from the subsidy for public transit that gets him to work way out in Mississauga, even though he has the higher energy lifestyle. Also, it is almost guaranteed that the wealthy would benefit more from subsidies to home retrofits, subsidies for more efficient vehicles, subsidies for renewable energy and other bells and whistles that have been proposed. The priority has to be making sure that the single mom dependent on income support and living in a small subsidized apartment where she doesn’t pay the heating bill can still be better off after all the added costs for her food, clothing and transport, so that she can figure out how to lower her costs. She can’t benefit from any of the programmes you suggest, so you’d be taking money from her to pay some rich dude to insulate his mansion. That would be wrong.

    The administration costs should be minimized since there is virtually no accounting required. The money is simply added and then divided by the number of Canadians.

    There must be a misunderstanding about corporate taxes. I never meant to suggest that Canada could impose our preferred corporate tax rate on other countries. What I am saying is that we know what the tax rates in other countries are. Making sure that ours is the lower than all of them is not beneficial to us and just promotes a race to the bottom which benefits no one. In fact, it can actually hurt Canada, especially in the context where our economy is so closely integrated with the United States. Here’s how:

    United States citizens and corporations pay taxes on global income, but they do not have to pay for the income in countries where they already pay a higher tax. If Canada has a lower tax than the United States, however, then all the money that would have been paid in Canada had the tax been equal will instead go to the United States. So our government collects less money and the United States collect more. Why would we do that? It’s shooting ourselves in the foot.

    A number of studies done in the last few years showed that Canada had a competitive advantage over most developed countries because our universal health care and excellent education system reduced illness-related time losses, reduced employer costs and guaranteed a skilled labour force.

    No business is going to say no to lower taxes. Neither are people.
    But as long as the tax rate is competitive, the business will not suffer relative to the competition.

    Hope this helps, Adriana

  15. Stephanie Martin writes:

    Thanks Adriana,

    i am going to include the Green’s economic views in my upcoming peer review submission that will be evaluated by Canadian business leaders.


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