Saturday, 2 May 2009

What kind of economy?

I've been watching the Legislature in session over the last couple of days. The conversation has been mostly on the economy, and rightly so with the budget to be presented Monday and the global financial crisis hitting hard in regions across the world.

MLAs seem to understand the tools they have to work with, such as infrastructure projects, tax policies, deficit spending (or not), loans and subsidies. But no party in the Legislature really seems to have a vision for the kind of economy they want to build with these tools.

A construction project could consist of repairing a staircase, adding a room, or completely renovating a house. Many of the same tools will be used in any of these projects. The difference is the vision, or the goal that we are working towards. Observing the Legislature, I got the feeling that they were debating whether to use a paintbrush or a screwdriver, without ever discussing what they are actually building.

It's easy to slip into platitudes about a strong economy, job creation, and prosperity. But all that's saying is that we're going to do a good job on this project, it isn't actually telling us what the project is. What kind of economy are we building?

The Green Party has a very clear answer to this question: our vision is of a sustainable, zero waste economy, fully powered by renewable energy, providing true prosperity to all Nova Scotians. This economy will have a strong base in the local production of essential goods and services, it will be resilent to shocks such as the global financial crisis, and it will operate safely within the ecological limits of nature.

This green economy will not be built overnight. But if we have a vision of where we are going, then we can apply the tools that are avilable to us to make this vision a reality. The time to start is now.