SDV: Now, we’re talking to either an angel, or a devil, depending on your point of view. It’s Councillor Edward Firoux. Welcome to the show.
Edward Firoux: Hi! Thank you for having me, Stephanie. It’s always a pleasure to be able to chat with you.
SDV: A lot of people in the Party of June dislike the EPA, does this bother you? Do you think their critiques are valid?
EF: I think concerns about the status quo, and whether the status quo works for them, are valid concerns among some members of the PoJ. However, I disagree with the notion that the EPA represents or seeks to protect the status quo. The EPA is not a monolithic entity - we’re a collection of like-minded Councillor representing bold, progressive and pro-European values. Whether it’s passing bills on marriage equality, democratizing the EU’s insitutions, banning capital punishment, support legislation for clean water and a clean environment, the EPA has sought to make the lives of everyday people better and to make sure that those in Europolis are working for the people and not for any special interests. We’re the opposite of the status quo.
SDV: Do you know who you might endorse yet, or is it too early to say?
EF: It’s definitely still too early, Stephanie. We’ve only just seen the outcome of the first primary, which was held today. I will say that the Party of June has quite the strong field of contenders. I also have a very good working and personal relationship with some of the other independent candidates. I’m watching this all play out just as intently as you are.
SDV: Another issue in the primary so far has been the cannabis legalisation. Most candidates who support the bill don’t support bringing it back to the Council. What are your thoughts on this, would you consider working with a pro-cannabis Councillor to legalise cannabis across Europe?
EF: That’s a very good question. I would support such legislation, but only if it was much more comprehensive than what was previously passed by the Council. Originally, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of legalizing cannabis across the EU, despite supporting legalization in Inquista, because I felt that the issue was too divisive. However, a plurality of the EU member states supported cannabis legalization across the EU anyway, and we passed a bill on the matter. Cannabis was legal across the EU for over a year. During the period of time in which the EPA stepped back from the Council, the European Liberals repealed the cannabis law. In my opinion, once we decided to legalize cannabis, it was a decision that we should have stuck by. It makes no sense to legalize cannabis one moment and then to lock up Europeans for possession of cannabis a year later. So, now, I do support EU-wide cannabis legalization. However, we need to include more comprehensive measures on drug control measures, to keep it out of the hands of young children and to educate people on the consequences of driving under the influence.
SDV: You mentioned the marriage equality bill, is there any other LGBT+ legislation you’d like to see in the Council?
EF: I would like to see the European Council work on legislation to protect LGBT rights in the workforce. We need to update our Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ensure that sexual orientation isn’t an allowable discriminatory factor when it comes to firing or hiring workers. Furthermore, I would like to establish legislation concerning hate speech, which includes not only protecting sexual minorities from hateful defamation, but also people of cultural and ethnic minorities.
SDV: We’ve discussed people you may endorse, is there anyone you’d condemn in the current primary lineup?
EF: I wouldn’t say that I condemn anyone. I’m a massive proponent of reaching across the aisle to work with people that I have deep political differences with. Progress cannot be achieved without a truly united front, which must include a cooperative and reconcilliary effort between all people. No one should be left behind or be alienated. As a foreign European, it’s also none of my business to say who Nicoleiziains shouldn’t vote for. Nicoleiziains should vote for whoever they want to. I will voice my concern, however, for some of the specifics things Prudence Crumplebottom has said in regards to gay marriage. Marriage is a right that every European should be entitled to, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. I believe that we should look forward and not backwards.
SDV: What are your thoughts on Whiteford’s reforms and the Whiteford administration more generally?
EF: I think reorganizing Icholasen’s nine dominions into the four nations of New Nicoleizia, Romain, Portland and Regina is a massive step forward in recognizing the cultural and historical significance of each nation, and it provides each nation with a united political avenue to advocate for their concerns. This change will help promote the interests and protect the identities of each of Icholasen’s distinct nations. I also believe that a Presidential system will refine the current state of checks and balances within Icholasen’s political system, bringing it more stability but also more accountability.
SDV: Thanks for coming in! Be sure to come back so that we can get the perspective from the mainland!
EF: Any time, Stephanie! I’m always happy to chat with you. From one elite to another, thank you for having me.