Q & A with Green candidate Peter Tam

Peter Tam

Peter Tam

Q1.  What have you done in the past three years to make you a good Member of Parliament?

“I’ve got to know the community by doing a lot of volunteer work because I think an MP is a person who represents the community. I’ve been in many organizations like the Scouts and Rotary (Meadow Ridge), which teaches fairness, honesty and accountability, which I think is something that’s really needed. “So I believe these values are very important when it comes to taking on a leadership role in the community.” He said his experience in working with municipal council has also given him an idea about what it takes to take on these roles. Tam has also been Scout area commissioner for the Three Rivers Area (Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission.)

Q2. What is the most pressing issue this election and how would you address it?

A. “The most pressing issue right now … is water. That’s because recently we’ve been having some problems on the Alouette River, dealing with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Right now, Mission is facing a water problem (the proposed P3 of its new water transmission system from Stave Lake to Mission and Abbotsford). Tam says that means the privatization of the municipal water supply. “I think what we need to do is fundamentally define water as a basic necessity of life.” That’s already been so defined by the UN, he pointed out. That has to be adopted in Canada, he added. “The basic necessities of life we cannot privatize. It has to be managed by public interest.” He said the P3 of the water system in Mission and Abbotsford could make it subject to the North American Free Trade Agreement which prohibits Canada from controlling export of natural resources once they begin. “We really have no control.”

Q3. Who are your top three inspirational heroes or leaders?

A. “Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., because he said change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but through continuous struggle. “We’re struggling to get the Green policies and platforms out there. It’s a struggle because we’re up against the same old status quo. We’re up against well-financed campaigns.” Tam said Mother Theresa and Mohandas Gandhi are his two other heroes. “They have a lot of quotes that I use that gives me direction in the way I handle things.”

Q4: How will you improve transportation in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?

A. “I think the best option right now is to look at a light rail system [as proposed by Rail in the Valley] south of the [Fraser] River and we hook into it, [via the Golden Ears Bridge]. That would be the most immediate, feasible solution at this point. See Green, p4 Green from p3 The cost involved in building a light rail into Maple Ridge is just phenomenal, he said. Later, he’d like to see fuel cell buses in the riding, just as there is now in Whistler. Q5: Education, the economy or social welfare – what takes priority for you and how would you deal with it? A: “The economy – because everything depends on it. We definitely need some sensible, rational tax shifting. The current tax system right now with the low corporate tax is simply creating a greater gap between the rich and the poor.” He said 20 years ago, when he owned a business, he was paying more than 20 per cent corporate tax, which is on profit. “So having a higher tax on that is not unreasonable. “We need to change and shift our taxing system,” and shift revenue into investment into renewable energy.” The powerful nations are the ones in control of energy. The money can come from corporate taxes and cancelling the jet fighter program, he said.