POLITICS
09/11/2020 16:13 EDT | Updated 09/11/2020 19:30 EDT

Green Party Leadership Race Contender: Dimitri Lascaris

We sent each of the candidates this 23-question questionnaire.

Rebecca Zisser/Handout

1. Full name:
Alexander Dimitri Lascaris

2. Date of birth:
Dec. 9, 1963

3. Marital status? Children?
I have been married to my partner, Farida, for 22 years. We have two children, our son Achilles and our daughter Lena.

4. Would you describe yourself as religious? If so, what religion/denomination do you subscribe to?
I am an atheist. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion but I became an atheist at the age of 18.

5. Why do you think you’re best placed to be the next Green Party leader?
In my career as a lawyer, journalist and activist, I have consistently spoken truth to power and have successfully challenged the power of large corporations and the billionaire class. After starting my legal career on Wall Street, I switched sides and built a team of Canadian class action lawyers whose mission was to hold the corporate sector accountable for its misconduct. In 10 years, we recovered over $450 million from major corporations, including SNC Lavalin, Bank of Montreal and the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation. In 2012, I was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine and in 2013 I was named one of the 50 most influential persons in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine. The Green Party needs a leader who knows how to overcome the opposition of large corporations and the billionaire class to the transformational changes we need to save our planet and protect our children. I am that leader.

6. What top two problems do you believe the party current faces? And how do you plan to try to overcome them?
First, the party has sought to position itself as a centrist party. I do not believe that that approach is consistent with our core, progressive values, nor is it a winning electoral strategy, as experience has proven. We must lay an unapologetic claim to the left, which the NDP leadership has abandoned. Second, the party establishment has become increasingly distant from the base of the party. One of our core values is participatory democracy, and I intend to breathe new life into that value by, for example, empowering party members to choose the members of the shadow cabinet and the deputy leaders, and by giving the members far greater influence over our electoral platform and electoral strategy.

I want to tax billionaires out of existence.

7. Why do you think the party failed to win more seats in the last election?
Regrettably, in the last election, the Green Party of Canada adopted the slogan “Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together.” The Party explicitly positioned itself as a centrist party. At the end of the day, centrists are the guardians of the status quo. The time for incrementalism has passed. What this moment calls for is bold, progressive action. That is precisely what my platform advocates. Among other things, I want to tax billionaires out of existence, ban all new oil and gas exploration, reduce military spending by 50 per cent and reallocate those funds to the elimination of homelessness and poverty, and raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour. That is the kind of transformative change that will inspire the millions of progressive voters in this country.

8. What would be your policy priorities if you become the leader?
My top priority would be to transform our inhumane, destructive and grotesquely unequal economic system into one that prioritizes the planet and people over profits. You can find the details of my platform here: https://www.teamdimitri.ca/platform.

9. What public policy issue do you feel is undercovered and deserving of more political and public attention?
Inequality.

10. What makes you happy?
The natural beauty of this world.

11. Tea or coffee? Beer or wine?
Coffee and wine.

12. Favourite thing to do?
Laugh.

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to think outside the box.

14. What is an invaluable lesson you’ve learned during this leadership campaign or your time in politics?
How to inspire people.

15. What is your most marked characteristic?
Speaking truth to power.

16. What is your greatest fear?
Dying before my life’s mission has been fulfilled.

17. What is your greatest extravagance?
Pinot Noir.

18. Who is a politician from another political party that you respect?
Former NDP MP Svend Robinson.

19. Which living person do you most admire?
Noam Chomsky.

20. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? In others?
Self-righteousness.

21. What is your greatest regret?
Failing to tell my mother and father how much I loved them before they passed away.

22. On what occasions do you lie?
When I am trying to avoid hurting the feelings of others.

23. Which superpower do you wish you had?
Seeing the future.

Click on the profile pictures to read their answers.