This document outlines our civic Green values as a party. Our values will help keep us focused on what we have determined is important for us as a party. These values will also support our party goals in a way that helps us define what is important to us and help move forward into the future. We start with defining what is sustainable development and then outline our five party values.
Whereas “sustainability” refers to the ability to maintain a state in a constant way over a long period of time, the term “sustainable development” has the following universally agreed definition;
- humankind needs to satisfy its current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same;
- humankind needs to continue working towards societal progress and an increase in the quality of human and non-human life. (Note: The Brundtland Report ultimately led to the UN HIgh-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that reviews the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).
The Burnaby Civic Greens values incorporate the three pillars of “sustainable development” – economic, environmental and societal sustainability. Our values are described under the following headings:
- “Supporting a prosperous and inclusive local economy”
- “Addressing the climate emergency at the local level”
- “Being good stewards of our waterways, forests and green spaces”
- “Evolving a social, just, inclusive and vibrant City”
- “Expanding citizen participation in decision making”
1. SUPPORTING A PROSPEROUS AND INCLUSIVE LOCAL ECONOMY
In Canada and the United States, there is a large and growing economic gap between the top 10% and the rest of the country. David MacDonald, Senior Economist with The Centre for Policy Alternatives, wrote a paper in 2018 that describes this concentration of wealth in the hands of a few:
Many people nowadays are disillusioned with the current state of economic policy that has benefited the few over the many. Traditional free-market capitalism once embraced as the idea that anyone could enter the market economy and, through talent and hard work, become financially successful. Now it seems that we are barraged with stories of capital being withheld from newcomers, tax advantages being given over to the wealthy, exorbitant executive compensation packages, government cronyism and government bailouts to large corporations.
During these uncertain and challenging times, Burnaby Civic Greens want to strongly protect and support our local businesses. We want to make sure that our municipal tax structure is fair and works for local businesses, especially small businesses which are the life of Burnaby. We want to assist resident, both longterm and newcomers to set up new businesses, and support their successes and help them to thrive through thoughtful and informed local economic development initiatives.
The Burnaby Civic Greens also strongly support workers and workers rights. We are urging our Provincial counterparts to do away with tea vote before union certification as we see that as a barrier to unionizing. We recognize the unions have done more for workers’ rights than any other group.
2. ADDRESSING THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
Canada’s goals to tackle climate change have been expressed in different ways:
- to rapidly reduce global warming to 1.5% or 2% above pre-industrial levels;
- to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 511 megatons (Mt) by 2030. (In 2005, our Mt emissions were 731 and in 2017, they were 716);
- to reduce our GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero GHG emissions by 2050 (meaning we stop adding more carbon equivalent gases to the atmosphere than is being taken out).
Any way you define it, Canada is not on track to meet its climate targets, and Canada is warming at almost twice the rate as the world average!
Any way you define it, Canada is not on track to meet its climate targets, and Canada is warming at almost twice the rate of the world average.
In May 2018, the Liberal Federal Government of Canada announced its intention to purchase the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project. The purchase completed and the expansion project is underway. The TMX Project will triple the amount of oil and diluted bitumen coming from Alberta, through Burnaby, to the coastline of British Columbia and beyond.
According to Professor Kathryn Harrison, “The production associated with heavy oil exports is the single largest contribution to Canada’s emissions growth since 1990 and that sector is also expected to yield the greatest emissions growth between now and 2030. If we want to create room for that growth, everything else is going to need to be cut even more deeply.”
On September 9, 2019, as the climate crisis continued to deepen around the world, the City of Burnaby joined other cities in declaring a climate emergency. By doing so, the City laid down the gauntlet on taking action. Burnaby Civic Greens consider sound urban planning and transportation to be critical steps towards addressing the climate crisis at the local level.
We believe urban planning should create a sense of connection amongst all four quadrants of the City. We also believe the Official Community Plan should provide easy and safe access by walking, biking, or bus to the CG Brown Sports facilities and other important civic assets that may still be in the early planning or development stages.
Emissions from vehicular traffic is one of the two biggest contributors to Burnaby’s GHG emissions. Climate experts tell us that in order to reduce vehicular traffic, and therefore our carbon footprint, at the local level, we need to locate workplaces, goods, professional services, green space, public space, recreation and leisure opportunities within a 15-20 minute walk/cycle or a 10 minute bus ride from home. Burnaby Civic Greens will a voice for Burnaby to become a “15 minute city”.
In order to reduce GHG emissions, associated with buildings and the other major contributors, Burnaby Civic Greens support buildings that use less energy for heating, lighting and air conditioning. This includes any new schools and retrofitting any existing schools (K-12). The Burnaby School District 41 is a leader in the area of energy efficient buildings, and we would like to encourage other buildings in Burnaby to follow their lead.
We also support offering electric vehicle and car share in new buildings as well as installing safe and secure bicycle lockups. By reimaging alternatives to traditional gas vehicle parking it will be possible to lower the carbon footprint of a building and help make the units more affordable.
As of July 1, 2020, the City of Burnaby is seeking public feedback on its proposed new Transportation Plan. Burnaby Civic Greens hope the new plan will emphasize a fully integrated and complete bicycle network throughout the City and keep cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles in separate pathways for safety reasons. We would embrace ways to address local congestion due to single occupant vehicle traffic moving through Burnaby to and from downtown Vancouver. The Burnaby Civic Greens support the City’s current initiative to complete the City’s sidewalk network as well as other measures that will make navigating the City safer for pedestrians and those who wheel.
3. BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF OUR WATERWAYS, FORESTS AND GREEN SPACES (ECOLOGICAL WISDOM)
Like our Provincial counterparts, Burnaby Civic Greens acknowledge that we are part of the natural world and we respect the specific values of all forms of life, including non-human species. We also acknowledge the wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the world, as custodians of the land and its resources, and the leadership of local indigenous people in urging us to protect and manage natural assets responsibly.
Currently, 25% of Burnaby is green space including parks and many waterways and watersheds.
Burnaby Civic Greens are strongly supportive of environmental stewardship groups such as Streamkeepers of Burnaby who play an important role in monitoring, enhancing and speaking on behalf of Burnaby’s watercourses and streamside riparian areas. These areas are crucial to maintaining our region’s biodiversity and are important habitats that also perform important ecological services for nearby communities such as flood protection and fire breaks.
There has not been a comprehensive environmental assess of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation area for over 20 years. We believe it is time to do a new assessment particularly related to the effects of human activities and climate change on the Conservation area and the implications for adjacent developed areas. Deer Lake may also benefit from a full environmental assessment as the Lake is gradually filling with lilies and other vegetation. A similar assessment of Byrne Creek would give us the information we need to be excellent stewards of Byrne Creek going forward.
Burnaby Civic Greens believe that urban agriculture, in the form of outdoor and indoor gardens, should be encouraged throughout Burnaby. Many of our residents have experience in growing vegetables, berries, fruit trees, and flowers. We have residents who are beekeepers. Urban agriculture connects some residents with their growing traditions, it gives all growers a relationship with the land, it educates, it connects people of all ages and, best of all, local urban agriculture generates healthy, nutritious food!
4. EVOLVING A SOCIALLY JUST, INCLUSIVE AND VIBRANT CITY
Burnaby Civic Greens strongly support the “Human Rights Code of British Columbia” which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, place of origin, religion, sex, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, age, political beliefs and some types of criminal conviction.
We believe that individuals should have equal opportunities for personal, social and economic development and that we have a collective responsibility to help each other in this regard.
We want our City to be inclusive and fun. We believe that our diversity of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, physical or mental ability, gender or sexual orientation, age or political belief is something to be celebrated. One of our goals is to see more diversity in our civic institutions and in leadership positions.
Burnaby Civic Greens believe that a socially just City provides homes for “home insecure” people and a refuge for those who may be experiencing domestic violence. We will promote functional and inclusive housing, including co-operative and social housing for all, including those with accessibility concerns and seniors.
Buildings should be made physically accessible for all. Social and educational programs should be fully accessible. We support the need for social connections. We believe residents of Burnaby have the right to sufficient, nutritious, culturally appropriate food.
Burnaby Civic Greens believe that financially accessible, quality childcare is a social justice issue. Accessible, quality childcare benefits children by providing safe spaces for them to learn, socialize and play. It enables parents to work, invest in their own business, or pursue education or other opportunities outside the home.
The Burnaby Civic Greens appreciate that we are surrounded by a mosaic of backgrounds and lived experiences. We embrace it all. We honor our indigenous peoples. We support and appreciate our independent culture creators, civic clubs and non-profits, artists, refugees and immigrants new to our communities, and those whose diaspora stories are a central part of Burnaby’s history and social fabric today. We believe Burnaby can and should be a great place to live no matter your age or ability.
5. EXPANDING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING
Burnaby Civic Greens believe that it’s time to update the story of participatory liberal democracy in Burnaby. We want to encourage more citizen participation in decision making. We would like to have genuine public consultation processes on City issues that will affect Burnaby citizens and possibly referendums on key issues. Burnaby Civic Greens believe in respectful and collaborative decision making where people can reach across party lines to work together for what is best for the people.
A modern day thinker, Yuval Noah Harari, has written, “The liberal story celebrates the value and power of liberty. It says that for thousands of years, humankind lived under oppressive regimes that allowed people few political rights, economic opportunities, or personal liberties, and which heavily restricted the movements of individuals, ideas, and goods. But people fought for their freedom, and step by step, liberty gained ground. Democratic regimes took the place of brutal dictatorships. Free enterprise overcame economic restrictions.” ( 21 Lesson for the 21st Century. Yuval Noah Harai. Ramdon House p.2, Sept 2018)
Burnaby Civic Green support liberal democracy but we want it to work better in our country and in City. For it to work better in Burnaby, we believe local government needs to invite citizens of all backgrounds and walks of life to contribute their ideas and perspectives to local decision making. In order to encourage decision making based on diverse perspectives, we need our institutions to be warm, welcoming and respectful. We need decision making to be responsive and transparent. Ultimately, Burnaby Civic Greens believe that we make the best decisions, the most just and wise decision, when we work together.