Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Acts of Minor Interviews: Adam Hyde

Ontario is on a collision course with an election. Two days from now that province will go to the polls, and the lion's share of media coverage is being heaped upon the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty and the Progressive Conservatives under Tim Who-Dat Hudak, as it's a foregone conclusion that one or the other will end up running the circus in Queen's Park, with the provincial NDP under Andrea Horwath taking what's left and the Greens vacuuming up a single-digit percentage of votes and getting nothing whatsoever to show for it.

That doesn't mean that there are only those three parties vying for Ontarians' votes, though. Just like it is in the federal landscape, and in all of the provinces I've looked at, there are a plethora of minor parties in Ontario that struggle to break past voter indifference. One of these is the Ontario Libertarian Party, which formerly described itself in its Google search summary as being inspired by Ayn Rand, but has since decided that it is a "party of monarchists and anarchists, who are united by their belief that less government is better government."

Sounds like an interesting mix there, like all that's missing for a real fun time is some die-hard republicans; small-r, though I imagine there are plenty of Republicans in the United States with whom the OLP's platform would strongly resonate. Though you may ask, why am I looking at the Libertarians at all? Aren't most of the opinions I espouse on this weblog diametrically opposite to theirs?

Well, yes, but that's beside the point. Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct an online interview with Adam Hyde, who is running on the Libertarian ticket in the riding of Niagara Falls, which takes in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario and the towns of Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Regardless of what I may think, it's important for the voting public to have as much information at their fingertips as possible so that they can properly inform their vote.

This photo of Adam Hyde comes from the Ontario Libertarian Party website.

ACTS OF MINOR TREASON: Thanks for taking my questions. First off, how would you describe the Ontario Libertarian Party, and what makes you think a Libertarian MPP would be the best choice for Niagara Falls?

ADAM HYDE: I believe that we need a change from the status quo. The Ontario Libertarian Party believes in free-market competition and limited government. All you need to do is look at our deficit and it is obvious that his system is not sustainable for the future. It is well documented that allowing it to continue that will be spending 80 cents on every tax dollar just for health care.

AoMT: Why the Libertarians? How long have you considered yourself to be a libertarian?

HYDE: Like in any political party, not all Libertarians believe in the exact same principles. I am considered a left-leaning Libertarian because I do see the value of some social programs unlike other party members. I have always been very socially liberal, however I believe that Ontario and Canada lean too far to the left. When I lived in Japan, I considered myself to be left of center because Japan is too far to the right for me.

AoMT: Tell me about the experience of running as a minor party candidate. What are you doing to get your name out there?

HYDE: Fortunately, I have had some very generous donations and have been able to put up one hundred lawn signs and print six hundred flyers, and the media has given me a lot of attention.

AoMT: You mentioned hate mails - what's the response you've been getting?

HYDE: People are afraid of change and basically I receive e-mails that are threatening and full of anger. I didn’t think that as a minor party candidate, that I would receive any hate e-mail. So this means that people are thinking.

AoMT: You previously wrote that "as an MPP, [you] would like to end the near government monopoly that currently exists in Ontario on many goods and services." Can you elaborate on this?

HYDE: The lack of competition in this province means that the government is free to provide any level of service that it wishes. If we force the government to compete by allowing private companies to start up against them, we will have more choice and better service for everyone.

AoMT: You mentioned that "I have learned from my second debate, not to talk about Japan or Korea or any other country in depth." What happened to bring that up?

HYDE: Having lived in both countries, I have first hand experience of how different systems work. Japan faces many obstacles that are similar to Canada. I felt that my knowledge and experience in this field would be useful information. However, people were not impressed.

AoMT: The OLP platform rails against "free" healthcare, but OHIP is funded with business and personal taxes - is it that you'd prefer any government healthcare to be funded more directly, such as the MSP system in British Columbia? Isn't the current system more equitable in that the size of your wallet isn't a factor in how quickly you can be seen by it?

HYDE: I would like to see a system in place that is similar to Japan’s health care system. 70% of it is covered through taxation and the remaining 30% is through private companies. This takes a lot of pressure off of the public system. While most people have a health plan to make up for the 30% through their place of employment, it is illegal to refuse care to somebody who does not. Furthermore private hospitals’ profits are capped.

AoMT: The OLP platform states that "governments must be limited to protecting the liberty and property of their citizens from domestic and foreign aggressors." How does this work in the context of a subnational unit, and what would you do as an MPP in this vein?

HYDE: We believe the government should have a very limited role, which is to protect the people at any level of government.

AoMT: The stated policy of the OLP is "to provide the greatest access for the most people to the best available treatment at the lowest possible cost," and that "a Libertarian government will eliminate any requirement for government licensing of physicians, medical treatment facilities, or other medical care providers." What are your thoughts on this?

HYDE: As I said before I don’t consider myself to be a pure libertarian, so I disagree with the party on this one. I believe that there needs to be a set standard to practise medicine.

AoMT: Then I'm relieved that you, at least, aren't aiming to open the door to Dr. Nick Riviera. Now, the OLP platform claims not only that modern theories of climate change are "excuses to demand increases in government control of our lives," but implies that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas but "a natural by-product of living and breathing human beings." Even if the scientific consensus was shown to be wrong, and global warming was caused by external forces, why does that mean we have no responsibility to mitigate it? What would you do as a Libertarian MPP regarding environmental issues in Niagara Falls?

HYDE: This is another issue in which I disagree with the party. I believe that we need to fund green energy. It is VERY expensive though. We have spent $8 billion to create 20,000 green energy jobs, which works out to be $400,000 a job! In the near term, Green energy is going to hurt us, but if you look at other countries in Europe, it has been a success.

AoMT: Why are you running?

HYDE: Like many people, I am looking for change. We need to fix our economy.

The Ontario Libertarian Party was founded in 1975. For the 2011 provincial election, it is fielding fifty-one candidates across Ontario, which marks its largest showing in history - the previous record was established in 1990, when it ran forty-five candidates and captured 0.6% of the vote.

This interview has been edited.

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