Oakville North Burlington Green Party candidate slams the Conservative candidate for not showing up at debates

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 16th, 2021



Bruno Sousa wants to serve as a watchdog in federal politics, to force action in place of what he calls “a merry go round of posturing between the Liberals and Conservatives.”

Sousa, the Green party representative for Oakville/North Burlington, spoke with the Gazette to call for immediate climate change action with effective spending. Sousa says the Liberal have been ineffective, that the Conservatives can’t be bothered showing up to climate change talks “is infuriating”(and he has heard from some of their candidates they’ve been told to avoid debates and interviews), and that while Sousa agrees with the NDP on several matters their lack of fiscal accountability makes them an unviable choice.

Sousa didn’t become the Green party representative until after the snap election call on August 15th. He credits the “unbelievable” decision by Justin Trudeau to call the election as his call to politics. His frustration with Canada’s major party leaders was a long time coming, disappointed by scandals and lack of transparency plaguing the Trudeau administration. Sousa suggests the Liberals and Conservatives are both prone to wilting in the face of their moralistic ideals.

“Seeing the platforms throughout the years it’s a lot of empty promises because of the friction that comes out of that desire to just be the populist party. And I think what’s happened along the way is we’ve lost sight of what’s important at the end of the day when it comes to governance, and that is that you know, parties like the Green Party, when they even came into existence after the 60s and 70s. They came into existence already because of values and morals that pose an issue in politics by essentially not being observed.

And what we’re seeing right now with the two major parties is exactly that. No one is being held to their moralistic ideals. The Liberals, and Justin Trudeau specifically, ran on things like transparency of platform, transparency of governance, transparency in all of the doings of government. Yay, you got my vote, but unfortunately what’s happened after six years, is a complete breakdown of that entire process, where anyone that would have respected you for that is now left wanting some answer as to what happened.

And that’s not the only problem I mean we’re talking specifically there on transparency but there have been all sorts of other ethical issues that have come up throughout the last six years. And when you compare that to the previous parties, and the previous governments, what you end up seeing is the same thing happening over and over again.

“And when you look at it closely, you start seeing what the Greens are doing, what have they been able to do and what they’ve been able to do is to continue to follow that early on the idea of the values and morals and say well look, if we don’t ever have large representation, what we can do is hold them accountable. We can get in there and say we’re at the table to ask ‘Why aren’t you deciding on things? Why aren’t you taking action? Why is this happening?’ And at least from my perspective, I feel like we can put a small dent in at the time,” said Sousa.

During a Chamber of Commerce debate, Sousa pointed out his Conservative opponent, Hanan Rizkalla, hadn’t bothered to show up for the climate change debate and questioned the Conservatives’ seriousness on this topic. Rizkalla joined Burlington’s Emily Brown and Milton’s Nadeem Akbar in ensuring every Conservative in the Burlington region no-showed the climate change debate attended by every other major party candidate.

“If you talk to a conservative now, for the most part, tell you climate change is nothing to be concerned about. The truth is they’re just not there. And even today, I was in another debate and again no Conservative candidate. So they’re just not showing up at the table, I don’t know who they’re talking to when they’re talking about coming together and talking to people. I’m not sure why they’re not showing up. We hear from some of their candidates that they’ve been told not to take debates and interviews. If that’s the reason why I don’t want to attack the candidates, I don’t know. But they’re not there and it is kind of infuriating because if we’re all supposed to be at the table to have a conversation and to hear the ideas it’s not really conducive to that when you don’t show up and then make statements as if you were there,” said Sousa.

Sousa’s vision isn’t much at odds with the NDP however he doesn’t consider them credible due to a lack of fiscal accountability.

“Where the NDP lack any vision is on how they deal with fiscal accountability. And we’re seeing that now again they have the highest rating climate change plan in terms of the platform. I don’t disagree with them. I think that we are parallel at this point, but we’re past the expiry date and asking for a warranty, you know, we have to pay for it now. I don’t think there’s going to be much of a choice in that question. I think any party that decides to ignore that fact at this point I don’t think that they’re reckoning with the knowledge that’s available,” said Sousa.

The NDPs failure to provide costing for much of their platform has been an area of ridicule for the party. For Sousa’s part, he has a costing pitch, and he doesn’t shy away from the components he knows will be unpopular like an increased carbon tax. The candidate noted fighting climate change would have been a lot cheaper if acted on when the alarm bells first sounded.

“We have a lot of ways that we plan to create funding for this model, so a lot of these methods involve, for example, reallocation of funds that are currently being used for other industries so that’s one easy way to do it. Other ways include our taxation model for example on small businesses because we still want to incentivize growth, we’d be holding it at 9% but for large companies that are already doing quite well in Canada, we’d be looking to increase their corporate tax code to 21%. And I think that’s pretty aggressive when you look at the other platforms, but that will provide additional funding. And the other thing we’re looking to do is to tax the E-commerce companies that make so much money outside of Canada. Because Canada tends to forget that it is not a state. Most of its funding for these companies across the border from us, shouldn’t just go out the door without taxation in my opinion. And right now they do, and that’s just a lost opportunity for Canada.

So, as in the European Union, they’re trying to downsize to a model where, depending on which country you’re in, the system can automatically charge you the correct tax, and then an entity is set up to collect those taxes from the different countries and redistribute it. So it’s a very simple model that we can institute here in Canada as well, to work with these eCommerce companies, but I think that they almost see the writing on the wall it’s coming, they’re in some cases already adopting it, even joining the committees that are organizing on these things.

“We also do try to increase the carbon tax, I know that’s not a popular idea right now. We plan to increase it to I think 25 compared to the levels of $15. But when we look at where we currently are we’ve got to ask ourselves how much more do we want to pay for it down the line because that’s really what’s happening here is we’re just delaying the pay, but that’s going to come with interest later, and that’s going to be a lot higher. And if we take a look at our plan right now, it could have been implemented as I think early as 1996 where we were already talking about these kinds of measures, but it would have been a much lower price at the, at the time, and we would have probably been outside of this scenario, at this point as well. We just didn’t embrace it soon enough and now we’re having to pay essentially a surcharge on what would have already been taxed,” said Sousa.

Bruno Sousa is a business leader and advisor with over 15 years of experience in business development, community building, and marketing. He is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and consultant.

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