MABOU: Clive Doucet, the Green Party candidate eyeballing the MP position for Cape Breton-Canso, stopped by the Red Shoe Pub last week, hoping to touch base with local voters mulling over next month’s federal election.
“There are dozens of reasons to be running as a Green in Cape Breton,” the Grand Etang resident told The Reporter, during his visit on September 17.
“I could start with Hurricane Dorian and 26 suetes this winter in Cheticamp and finish with the decrepit state of the county’s roads and village infrastructure – especially Inverness’ sewer and water system. We are not lacking in ideas and solid proposals in Cape Breton about how to create jobs and attack the climate crisis.”
He said he’s heard great ideas from folks like Neal Livingston, with a solar energy proposal; Dwayne MacEachern, with proposals for a hemp industry; and others with plans for Icelandic-level fish processing. Ideas aren’t in short supply, he said, but attracting political will from the federal level is a challenge.
“Right now, the two old parties spend most of their time fighting each other. We need to change this, and with a solid Green caucus will become more focused on how to create a more secure economy and fight climate change, and less on rhetoric.
“A sustainable economy is a secure economy. It preserves our way of life. It’s about funding village and town water systems; burying electric wires; supporting small producers [local food] and building roads that work for villages, as well as tourists. It’s about renewable energy, like solar. It means good paying, stable jobs that respond to real needs in the community.”
Doucet is an author and former Ottawa city councillor. His My Grandfather’s Cape Breton has been in print since 1980, and he’s written 14 other titles. His latest is Grandfather’s House, Returning to Cape Breton, published by Nimbus in 2018.
“We need to start putting more money in our small towns,” he said. “They are the greenest places we have, and we give them the least. A lady in Inverness told me she had trouble sleeping at night because the smell [from the community’s waste water treatment plant] is so bad. That was a surprise, and another surprise was the number of great green projects put forward, but nothing’s going to change unless the political will changes.”
The Greens could be in an interesting position if they secure 10 to 15 federal seats, and Doucet said he feels that’s a realistic projection. Such a number could put his party in a position of influence, if Canada elects a minority government.
“It’s a tough position, but a position that will change things,” he said. “You’re not the government, so you risk getting tarred with the bad stuff and not getting credit for the good stuff.”
He said it might be a big ask for people in the riding to vote for someone geographically distant from them, but he added that “this is the time to change.”
“This is an important election. You look at the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and its projections for climate change, and you realize we have to start changing now.”