Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2015
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Kevin Griffin
Page: A1


Elizabeth May says she would legalize and tax marijuana if her party

Legalizing and taxing marijuana? That would generate $2 billion this
fiscal year, increasing to $5.4 billion within five years.

Free post-secondary tuition for domestic students? A cost of $2
billion a year.

And introducing a national dental care program for lowincome youth
under age 18? That would cost $1.2 billion the first year, dropping to
$913 million in five years.

Eliminating direct fossil fuel subsidies would offer a savings of
$1.16 billion this year.

Those are some of the highlights of the Green Party of Canada's budget
overview, which was released Wednesday in Vancouver by party leader
Elizabeth May. Speaking at a packed rally in a meeting room at the Pan
Pacific Hotel, she said the Green party is the first to release a
fully costed platform during the federal election.

One new initiative involves expanding the country's national health
care system to include dental coverage for 700,000 low-income youths.

"It is very expensive but we costed everything," she told the crowd.
"We know it's time to bring forward the new ideas, the big ideas.
Canadians are sick of being treated as though we can be conned."

Earlier in July, May announced a national Pharmacare plan which would
give two million Canadians greater access to prescription medications
they couldn't afford. This would cost $300 million a year, according
to the budget overview.

Mario Canseco of the polling company Insights West, said the Green
party's focus on marijuana as a potential source of revenue represents
a big shift from seeing the recreational drug mainly as a moral issue.

When he first started asking the question in B.C. in 2007, a little
more than half supported legalization. Now the numbers are above 70
per cent.

"When you turn marijuana into an issue related to revenue generation
and try to treat it the same way as Scotch whisky, people say: 'Maybe
it's not such a bad thing,' " he said.

He said the Green party's stand on marijuana shows it is recognizing
that it's more than a "one issue" party.

"If (the Green party) continues to be seen as more of a wider party
and to talk about economic policy and things other than environmental
issues, then they can do a little bit better," he said.

The budget overview says that if elected, the first year of a Green
party would result in a revenue increase of $34.8 billion and spending
increase of $38.9 billion. Over five years, the Greens would reduce
the federal debt from $613.9 billion to $583.6 billion.

Cost of specific policy initiatives include:

* Generating $22 billion annually by a carbon fee on producers of
greenhouse gases.

* Cutting funding for federally supported research into genetically
modified organisms would save $300 million a year.

* Introducing stable funding for the CBC would cost $285 million a

Full budget details are available at
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt