Meet the candidates: Nepean Green party candidate Jean-Luc Cooke

The Barrhaven Blog will be offering every local candidate the opportunity to introduce themselves and their party platforms to the community. In today’s Q&A post, we feature Nepean Green party candidate Jean-Luc Cooke.

Barrhaven Green Party Jean-Luc Cooke 2

The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of gun violence. Almost 40,000 Americans die from gun-related deaths each year, but this number pales in comparison to how many sustain severe injuries from gun violence. Would the Canadian health care system be sustainable if we imported American style gun control to Canada?

Discussing the healthcare costs of gun control belittles the life-shattering personal costs of losing a loved one to a bullet. Canada should not take the US as an example of gun control, not under any circumstances.

I live in Bells Corners which had its share of gunfire incidents last year, and so did Barrhaven.  Though I sympathize with rural Canadians’ wishes to keep their firearms – we need to recognize that handguns and assault rifles are not for hunting woodland creatures – they are made to hunt humans.

Green MPs would ban all handguns and assault rifles except those kept under lock and key at accredited ranges for marksmanship sports, like Ottawa’s RA Centre.

A single barrel of oil is the equivalent of 10,000 man-hours of labour. In other words, when it comes to energy density, few if any sources of energy even come close to oil. Yet, the survival of the planet depends on us migrating to renewables. Unless we move the earth’s population much closer to the equator and switch to cleaner energy sources and nuclear, our efforts to combat global warming will be mostly symbolic. Are technological solutions such as carbon capture the real answer to global warming?

Carbon capture is not at the scale needed to address the urgent problem of climate change, but one day that may change. Right now wind and solar power are far cheaper than any other method of generating electricity and battery technology can meet almost all our transportation requirements. That is where investments need to go and in a big way.  Combined with hydro and inter-provincial electrical transmission we can stop burning stuff to make electricity in Canada.

There is no need to “move closer to the equator” – we have what we need today to heat our homes efficiently with no emissions except on the very coldest days.

My home is heated by a heat pump – basically an air conditioner running in reverse. We burn nothing to keep our kids warm at home. That technology is established and available right now and we need to incentivize Canadians to make their next HVAC units near-zero-emissions.

We will also have incentives to better insulate homes in Nepean and require much less energy to heat. Only on the very coldest days of the year would we need to use natural gas to heat our homes. Reducing emissions to a small fraction of what they are today and saving everyone money.

Income disparity is a growing problem south of the border. What steps can Canada take to ensure that severe income disparity remains at bay in Canada?

It makes no sense that we collect income tax from people who live in poverty only to spend that money on social programs to assist them.  It is far more efficient to raise the minimum personal exemption on income taxes to above the poverty line so those who need more, have more.  A guaranteed basic income to assist those truly destitute will go a long way to lighten the load on social services and healthcare.

Also, there is a real competitive loss to the economy when children of the very wealthy inherit millions. Their connections and education go to waste when they live off their parents’ success.  It’s time to bring in inheritance taxes for estates over $3million on a progressive scale.  It is fine to leave something to your children and grandkids, but when that amount disincentivizes them to work as hard as you did, that’s just not right.

The recently launched LRT is getting rave reviews. But the system won’t truly shine until it reaches Orleans, Kanata, and Barrhaven. Can we afford to wait 10 years for LRT service in Barrhaven? How can the deployment be accelerated?

The Green Party wants to invest in rapid, clean, mass transit in all our cities.  Many years ago there was a plan to bring LRT to Barrhaven to replace the tens of thousands of cars filling Prince of Wales, Woodroffe, Greenbank and the 416. We will help fund the province and the city to accelerate the development of transit that will reduce commute times, and improve the quality of life for all.

For many of our younger readers, the dream of owning a home is just that – a dream. What measures would the Green party adopt to help first time home buyers?

The possibility is becoming greater that the next generation of potential homeowners will be locked-out of ownership because of the incredibly low-interest rates driving up housing prices.

CMHC (the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) is an organization created to alleviate risk from the mortgage market.  The Liberal party has made a serious error in judgment by altering its mandate to assist in funding first time home buyers.  This is the opposite of reducing risk: it will result in higher home prices and reduced capacity to mitigate any future housing shocks.  It reminds me of the financial situation portrayed in the book and film “The Big Short”.

Greens would renew CMHC’s mandate to fund cities and municipalities construction of non-market public housing by cities and municipalities which does not compete with the normal housing market – this opens up housing for those feeling locked-out while keeping the mortgage market protected from default increases.

Jean-Luc Cooke
NepeanGreen Party of Canada
(613) 800-0571 
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