Sunday, May 1, 2011

Questions asked and answered

Questions:

1.What is your current occupation?
2.Do you have any previous political experience? If so what?
3.What do you feel are the top issues for this election in the Palliser riding and what are your views on these issues?

Answers:

1. My current occupation is Leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, and I am also a university student of Political Science at the University of Regina. Additionally, I am training to be a dance teacher and choreographer in modern and ballet.

2. I have plenty of political experience gained in recent years. As mentioned above, I am the current Leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, a position I was elected to in 2009. I have run as a political candidate many times, in elections at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, as follows:
2006 federal election, Green Party candidate for Palliser
2007 provincial election, Green Party of Saskatchewan candidiate for Moose Jaw Wakamow
2008 federal election, Green Party candidate for Palliser
2009 Moose Jaw Municipal election, candidate for Councillor
2010 provincial by-election, Green Party of Saskatchewan candidate for Saskatoon Northwest
2011 federal election, Green Party candidate for Palliser

As a Political Science major, I have extensive knowledge of our political system and the policy solutions that are urgently needed. I have also served on a number of councils and committees, including the Green Party of Canada Federal Council, the Moose Jaw Advisory Committee on the Environment, the Young Greens of Canada Council, and the Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada. I am a strong supporter of changing our electoral system to proportional representation, to make every vote count.

I am an environmental and political activist. I have worked to stop development of the tar sands and nuclear power -- because there are greener energy and job options available. I am a strong supporter of small and locally owned businesses, the creative industries, organic farming, renewable energy, preventative healthcare, and eliminating poverty. I am actively involved with the arts community. I have devoted much of my research as a Political Scientist to studying our flawed electoral system and the democratic deficit Canada faces.

3. I think climate change is the biggest issue this election, since no action to lower greenhouse gas emissions has occured since the last federal election. Palliser voters are really interested in hearing about the Green Party's plan for job creation in the renewable energy sector, creative industries (the arts), eco-tourism, and more. These are solutions that will help restore our economy and environment at the same time.

Inaction on climate change can not persist. Time is of the essence. Our air, water, and soil need to be protected, and animal welfare must be respected and improved.

Another very important issue to Palliser voters is democracy. Our current electoral system is undemocratic because it allows an MP to be elected with only a minority of the votes in the riding cast for them and a majority cast for other candidates. I am a strong advocate of changing Canada's outdated winner-takes-all electoral system to one based on proportional representation so that every vote counts. In order for people to vote, they must feel as though their vote matters.

In this election, democracy was not met because the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, was not allowed in the televised leaders' debates. In the last federal election, nearly one million Canadians voted Green, yet not one Green MP was elected to Parliament because our electoral system is outdated and was designed for a two party system, not a four or five party system as Canada currently needs in order to represent all voters/parties.

Attack ads should be disallowed, and elections should be about putting forward policy solutions, not just about lawn signs and publicity stunts. Corporate media should not be deciding who voters get to see in the televised leaders debates -- that should be up to the people to decide.

So, democracy has been a big issue this election and must be restored so that issues like climate change and the environment, healthcare, affordable housing, childcare, and eliminating poverty can be addressed.

----------------------------It's time. Vote Green!------------------------------

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Petition for nuclear waste ban presented in Saskatchewan Legislature today!

This morning, a petition calling for a legislated ban on nuclear waste in Saskatchewan organized by the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan (CCGS) was presented in the Saskatchewan Legislature. More than 4800 signatures were collected and presented to government in support of a legislated nuclear waste ban in Saskatchewan, similar to legislation which the Governments of Manitoba and Quebec already have in place. NDP MLA Pat Atkinson presented the CCGS petition on our behalf, stating that she 'believes in democracy and the right for all constituents to have their voices heard as part of that democracy.' It was an exciting and interesting morning to be a part of.
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More blog posts on the way! Stay tuned for updates on the Palliser Green Party campaign. It has been a busy one! (a sign that the Green vote count in Palliser is likely to be great!)
It's time, Vote Green. Twitter: Larissa_Shasko

Friday, April 8, 2011

Green Party Platform Released Thursday! What the Networks Don't Want Canadians to Know: smart economy – strong communities – true democracy.

Media Release April 7, 2011 TORONTO – The Green Party released its platform at a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, April 7, 2011. The green book contains tax cuts for low income Canadians, tax splitting for Canadian families and real measures to clean up the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Our platform makes it clear. The Green Party of Canada has a plan for a smart economy, strong communities and true democracy. We have spent our time developing solutions - not engaging in partisan name-calling. We have solutions to help families and young people, to combat climate change, to create a national transportation strategy, strengthen our communities and to fix our democracy. We call it smart economy, strong communities and true democracy,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The platform contains a suite of measures designed to be economically viable, create jobs, address poverty, protect our health care system, increase support for youth and seniors, respond to the climate crisis and clean up the environment. Each measure has been fully costed. “We will create thousands of jobs investing in renewable energy, expanding passenger rail, modernizing freight and retrofitting thousands of buildings,” added Ms May. ”We are also the only party so far in this campaign speaking to international issues and raising trade deals as a concern.” The Green Party Green Book is available at www.greenparty.ca/platform

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Follow Larissa Shasko on Twitter!

You can now follow me on Twitter! Larissa_Shasko or http://twitter.com/#!/Larissa_Shasko
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Start following me on Twitter on April 1st for Fossil Fools Day posts on the tar sands, carbon capture, and nuclear.
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Check out my newly updated facebook political page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Larissa-Shasko/26422620490

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Provincial Budget Reaction -- Saskatchewan's 2011/12 Budget Released Yesterday

The Wall Government has the audacity to brag about how they are improving public services in this budget, but just last year they cut 25% of the civil service as part of major budget cuts necessitated by Brad Wall's bad fiscal management over the 2009/2010 year, cuts that are still taking place and will continue to cut down our public service for another 9 years. With 15% of the civil service being cut over the next four years, how can Wall possibly be bragging about improving Saskatchewan's public services after his government is the one who has destroyed them? The SaskParty cut $25 million to the Department of Environment's budget last year and this year they brag about how good public services are? Our environment in this province has been deliberately left with inadequate protection by Premier Wall, a move that is common when one is running a corporatocracy instead of a democracy as Wall is doing.

Just like with Harper's federal budget, Wall's budget completely ignores the harsh economic times that many people in Saskatchewan are facing, times that are getting more difficult instead of better. Food prices are rising, way beyond what can be considered an affordable cost for food, and soaring gas prices are putting immense stress on everyday people who are already financially stressed to the max by what many are now calling the 'great recession.' Brad Wall likes to brag about Saskatchewan's growing GDP while ignoring how food bank usage has spiked in our province.

As with the federal budget, social spending is completely inadequate to meet the needs of Saskatchewan people who are struggling, some of whose quality of life is not that far off from third world countries. Why do we allow poverty to run rampant in our province while our Premier boasts about a good quality of living? Brad Wall, as usual, is out of touch with the reality of everyday Saskatchewan citizens. A Green Party of Saskatchewan Government would work to eliminate poverty in our province.

I am disappointed to see that healthcare spending falls far short from what is needed to provide good care to Saskatchewan people. This budget did not provide capital funding for the Moose Jaw Union Hospital, and any promises made by SaskParty MLA for Moose Jaw North Warren Michelson to include the capital funding for the Union Hospital in future budgets is not reliable considering there is a provincial election coming up in only a few months. The Wall Government had four years to make this project happen for Moose Jaw, and they have chosen not to, showing once again that the citizens of Moose Jaw do not take a high enough priority to Brad Wall and the Sask Party.

Wall's budget should have reinstated the universal chiropractic subsidy that Wall eliminated in last year's budget, as this is adding extra stress on our publicly funded healthcare system and is causing many people to live in pain instead of seeking medical treatment from a chiropractor as they used to. As Saskatchewan's first Green Premier, I would ensure that the universal chiropractor subsidy is reinstated and expanded, and I would take measures to create a similar universal subsidy for medical massage therapy. Furthermore, as your Green Premier, I would reinstate the school dental program as the first measure toward including dental services as part of our publicly funded healthcare system.

This budget fails to listen to the needs of students. Holding tuition increases to an average of three percent is not recognizing the extremely stressful economic circumstances post-secondary students in our province are facing. Where are the student loan debt relief programs? Why not provide and funding in this budget to freeze tuition increases and reduce tuition for Saskatchewan students?

This budget really lacks the innovation and sound fiscal management a Green Party of Saskatchewan Government would employ. The Green vision is for an economy that truly offers a good quality of living to all the people in our province. Unlike the Wall Government, we would actually make this happen, and not just give it lip service while turning a blind eye to those whose quality of life this budget does nothing to improve.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan's economic vision for this province is for a Decentralized Renewable Energy Economy, Making Saskatchewan World Leader's in Ecological Agriculture, and Innovating Saskatchewan's Economy through Investment in the Creative Industries. We will eliminate poverty and ensure everyone in our province has good quality affordable housing available to them. A Green Government will restore and protect our publicly funded healthcare system and we will ease the burden on our system through the addition of healthcare methods based on prevention.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan's economic vision is sustainable, for generations to come. Wall's economic vision for a boom to bust Saskatchewan is not the road we would take Saskatchewan down. We have learned from Alberta's mistakes and would not repeat them as Wall is doing.

Saskatchewan urgently needed a budget that would help those who are struggling the most right now in our province, and Wall's budget shows his government remains committed to the interests of corporations over citizens. For example, the slight reduction in the small business tax does very little to address that many small business have been forced to close because of large corporations who Brad Wall has invited and encouraged to come into our province since taking office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Federal Budget Reaction -- Spring Election Likely!




My first reaction to this budget is disappointment. A spring election looks inevitable, triggered because of the Harper Government's commitment to corporate interests over the interests of citizens. Food prices are rising, way beyond what can be considered an affordable cost for food, and soaring gas prices are putting immense stress on everyday Canadians who are already financially stressed to the max by what many are now calling the 'great recession.' Where are the personal income tax cuts for those on the lower and middle income end? The road back to balanced budgets requires that we raise corporate taxes, which have been trimmed down to practically nothing compared to what they once were. Why should the burden to pay down the debt be shifted onto citizens while corporations get a free ride? Small and locally owned businesses need serious support in order to protect Canada's local economy. We are talking about the lives of real people, real Canadians, but Harper and Flaherty just aren't getting it. They aren't listening, and so we will be back to the polls for another federal election.

The bright side is that Canadians can send Green M.P.s to Parliament this time around, and considering the embarassing state of Canada's environmental and human rights reputation thanks to Harper's leadership (or lack of leadership), Green M.P.s are urgently needed in Parliament!

In terms of social spending, this federal budget is, as usual, totally inadequate as to what is actually needed to meet the needs of Canadian people. This budget also fails to address the major flaw in Canada's taxation structure which is causing a serious financial shortfall in Canadian cities. Across Canada, cities like Moose Jaw and Regina are struggling to figure out how they are going to avoid huge property tax increases as their populations rise and infrastructure ages. A Green Party of Canada Government will listen to the request made by Canadian cities to have a portion of the the GST (1 cent) transferred directly to municipalities.

Greens are always ready to stand up for the democratic rights of Canadians, and so we are prepared for this election. I am pleased to offer the citizens of Palliser the opportunity to have a progressive, experienced voice of representation in Ottawa, a voice that will stand up for the needs of the people I represent while also standing up for the democratic rights of all Canadians. Your vote can make that happen.

Paying for and Powering the Moose Jaw Multiplex The Common Sense, Green Way!


On March 12th, Saskatchewan Green Party Leader Larissa Shasko hosted a lively and informative public discussion at the Moose Jaw public library on how to pay for and power the Moose Jaw multiplex the common sense, Green way.

A number of subjects were up for discussion, including

- How we can pay for and power the new Moose Jaw multiplex and field house
- Investing tax-payers dollars in green energy capital projects that will reduce costly utility bills.
- Compare renewable and non-renewable energy options
- Pay down the multiplex debt faster while also lowering our city’s environmental footprint
- Become innovative leaders in green energy use
- Attract the renewable energy industry to Moose Jaw, creating new jobs and a stronger local economy.
- Solve Moose Jaw's transit problem by solving the multiplex parking problem

The local media provided the following coverage of the event:

http://www.mjtimes.sk.ca/News/Local/2011-03-13/article-2326723/Talking-multiplex-and-a-green-future/1

http://www.discovermoosejaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16461&Itemid=399

Thanks to all those who attended!