Election roundtable: The Green Party

With an educator and a health practitioner as Green Party candidates for Ottawa, the discussion with  David Stibbe (Ottawa-West Nepean) and Jennifer Purdy (Kanata-Carleton) covered a lot of topics, including adding Holocaust education to curriculums, combatting online hate and media distortion of overseas conflict.

Stibbe said he was “100-per-cent” supportive of the Federal rebate to support security efforts for organizations such as Jewish community centres, but Purdy took it a step further.

“If we take a step back from just security guards (which are necessary), we need to have better online policing so that when groups are identified online they’re not given their voice of hatred,” she said.

Purdy also said that Holocaust education “clearly should be” included in the curriculum, so history doesn’t repeat itself.

“The way the ministry manages curriculum, the choice is left to the teachers on which perspectives to teach,” said Stibbe. “I think [Holocaust education] should be part of the Civics curriculum. We have to do more to ensure this memory remains.”

The two also agreed more needs to be done to address Holocaust denial.

“I’m not a legal expert, but it’s just so deeply offensive and harmful to see Holocaust denial,” said Purdy. “Unless there’s a compelling reason why it shouldn’t be in the criminal code, it should be included.”

Stibbe said the laws already exist — we just need to enforce them.

“We have hate crime laws that need to be strengthened to include Holocaust denial — and then we need to enforce those laws,” he said. “The internet is still in the wild west stages, but we need to make it so that you can’t be invisible online — you need to use your real name and be vetted. Everybody should have to be vetted online. The invisibility part needs to disappear.”

Both candidates pointed to transparency being critical when it came to dealing with overseas conflict and both supported Israel’s right to defend herself against terrorism.

“There’s a lot of distortion in the media,” said Stibbe. “That needs to be addressed. Israel has a right to exist … It's a difficult, international issue. There’s a lot of information that doesn’t make its way to the public. We need to change the way the information is getting out there, so people know what is happening — and why Israel needs to defend itself.”

Stibbe went on to say that our role is not to interfere in how different countries protect themselves, but to provide humanitarian aid to countries that warrant it.

As Purdy pointed out, the Green Party focuses on six values, which include non-violence and respect for democracy — but that these values are not tenable with issues such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“I’m against it,” said Purdy. “Same here,” Stibbe followed, when asked about their personal views on BDS. He also noted that fringe members of organizations exist everywhere, but they are not the majority, but that he does not support policies such as BDS.

The Green candidates also spoke critically of the current treatment of Indigenous nations.

“I’ve always been embarrassed by how our government treats our Indigenous nations,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to take action … and action isn’t a promise left unfulfilled. It’s providing funding and working with individual Nations.”

Purdy agreed, adding that we need to “change the relationship.”

“I thought in 2015 things would change and we’d have a true nation-to-nation relationship but that’s not occurred in every case,” she said. “We need to truly adapt the UNDRIP resolutions and commit to the relationship with respect.”

The two also discussed a green economy and workforce, the LGBTQ blood ban and housing programs.

Watch the full discussion here.