Occupy Wall Street Shows the Need to Renew Democracy for the Public Good

OTTAWA -- The Occupy Wall Street protest highlights the immense appetite for change felt across North America and shared by the Green Party of Canada.  Thousands of people have come together in peaceful, non-violent protests to send a message that change is needed in our democratic and economic systems.  “These people are putting their lives on hold in order to have their views heard and they are all to be commended for participating in the struggle against greed and corruption that we have been seeing within some big corporations and some parts of government,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.  “People are angry. They are angry that their wages are too low to feed a family. They are angry that there is no action on the climate crisis.  They are angry with the state of democracy in North America.  Political leaders need to heed this message and make the necessary changes.”

Thousands have now set up camp as part of a peaceful occupation of Wall Street, calling for real democracy, social justice and anti-corruption. New groups are forming across North America and now even internationally.  According to its website, Occupy Wall Street is a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

The Green Party of Canada has long advocated for democratic reforms that would renew representational democracy, including a Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform, a return to evidence-based policy-making, re-building Canada's Freedom-Of-Information system, and independent oversight of national televised leader’s debates.   

“As I’ve said before, democracy is not a spectator sport and if we are to address the democratic deficit that is inherent in our first-past-the-post system, people need to stand up and be counted.  Citizens want government that truly serves the people and the greater public good not special interests with deep pockets," said May.

The Green Party has also called for financial reforms including the introduction of an International Financial Transaction Tax on derivatives trading and a Tobin Tax on currency speculation.  These reforms would reduce global speculative money flows that intentionally destabilize governments and public confidence.  Commented Green International Affairs Critic Eric Walton, "Canada's Parliament previously endorsed a Tobin Tax but recognized that implementation required international consensus so what better time than now to impose some sanity to global speculative financial gambling.  Canada needs to show some real leadership and advocate internationally for such reforms or governments will continue to lose oversight and influence of global finance to the real economic peril of the other 99% of humanity."


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Rebecca Harrison


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