Finance Minister for a Day!

I took part on Monday, Nov. 30th in a peaceful protest at the Canadian federal government finance minister’s office in Whitby, Ontario, along with 6 other Toronto-area ‘People for Climate Justice.’(1)

During the day Paul, one of the members of the group, got the idea of asking each of us what we would do if we were made finance minister for a day.

Here are some ideas the group came up with:

  • Take RRSP money & create a program similar to the one for first-time homeowners & use the money to do energy retrofits & renewable energy projects.

  • Stop putting taxpayers’ money toward war & oil & gas projects, & put it into green jobs, retrofits, & renewable energy projects.

  • Create a federal FITS (feed-in tariffs) project, to pay producers of renewable energy for the energy they are producing. (This is happening at the provincial level, but not at the federal.)

  • Carry out some highly visible projects such as building a high-speed train from Windsor, Ontario to Toronto, & Ottawa to Montreal – & one between Calgary & Edmonton.

  • Pour a “shitload” of money into public transit.

  • Create regulatory frameworks that reward renewables, not fossil foolishness.

  • Pour financial support into the movement toward local, community-based agriculture.

  • Give children under the age of 6 the power to change one thing that involves federal money.

  • Stop all subsidies to mining, large banks & the tar sands.

  • Give community decision-makers the power to make community-level decisions, & the money to implement community-level projects.

  • Expand the Toronto Atmospheric Fund – keep the money that is saved/earned from projects & turn it back into yet more carbon-reducing projects.

  • Follow the example of Vancouver, which is planning to become the world’s greenest city, & research best practices from all over the world, then implement them.

Our little group had a surprisingly pleasant time during our peaceful sit-in. As you can see, we didn’t just waste our time, either. We came up with some pretty darn good ideas!

Thanks to Paul for his suggestion that we do this exercise (“finance minister for a day,” I mean), & so sorry it’s taken me so darn long to post this here.


‘Quote for the day’ with this post: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke

(1) Other blog postings on the sit-in are: Busted for Climate Justice!; Civil Disobedience Rocks!!10 Observations; Civil Disobedience: Why Did We Occupy Fin. Min’s Office? & Dear Judge: Comfort Zones & Climate Change If you go to Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice you can read up on the various sit-ins held in MPs’ offices across Canada last Fall, just before the Copenhagen meetings. Maybe you will be motivated to take some action yourself!