THUNDER BAY – Editorial – There is a sort of ‘cult of personality’ under Elizabeth May, and this misguided point of view that the party will break through its glass ceiling ‘if only Dear Leader wins and then we’ll be a real party!’, and I think that that is totally the wrong way to go. It’s simply too top-heavy, which is really the opposite of the global greens movement, which emphasizes grass roots democracy. The party has changed from what it was under Jim Harris, and most Green supporters I know joined the party back then, when it was relatively unknown, and had a really good message.
While the leftward shift under May won some support, the party has obviously plateaued, but seems blind to it. Putting Elizabeth May in the most Green friendly seat and hoping she wins, or only giving funds to seats where they feel the greens have a chance and ignoring ridings like ours leaves a lot of people feeling like the Green party doesn’t care about the issues it says it cares about, and is only focused on winning. Again, this is similar to Stephen Harper who has gone back on many of his own promises as he tried to get a majority government. Like the Greens, this behaviour sends the wrong message about what he wants and likely hurts his chances of achieving his goal of having that majority.
If the party had continued the direction it was going under Jim Harris, about fiscal conservatism, social progressivism and environmental responsibilities, they would have had a better chance of taking support away from voters of all three parties who are passionate on those issues, especially the right of centre Liberals and left of centre Conservatives. Former PCers who have been thinning in numbers lately–Prentice was my favourite to replace Harper, I think he would have made a good PM. Putting more focus on how being environmentally responsible is fiscal conservatism, because the environmental damages do have a cost; look at how the negative effects of things like mines and oil refineries has resulted in so much opposition too them–had they been responsible in the first place, that opposition would have been much quieter, would win them more support. They’ve got all of this explained in their policy documents, but they don’t tell anyone, they just dance around and yell doom and gloom all the time, right beside the other four parties.
The Green party used to say, “We are different than other parties, our policy is comprehensive and well thought out, we are passionate about what we believe, and we want to be the force for positive change in our country”. Today, their message seems to be more like “They are wrong, they are blind, our policy is the only one that makes sense and we’re the only ones who see the truth”, and I find it quite off-putting; as someone who supports the party and promotes it, I almost feel betrayed. GPC leadership is turning the party into what they originally said they would never let it be, and this doesn’t seem to bother them.
Personally, I don’t want the Green Party to form a government. I would prefer that we never have a majority government of any party ever again, because it leaves out too many other viewpoints when everyone is reading from the same book. You lose out on other perspectives in a legislature that is designed to provide as many perspectives as possible, and in the fairest way possible. I would rather see the Green Party in a coalition where they play a role in the government, at least for a period of time because there is a lot of good that can be done in opposition as well (but don’t tell that to a Liberal ;)), so that that voice is heard, but among the voices other people want heard as well.
The government should reflect national opinion, not whoever gets the largest slice of the most pies, without really winning a single thing. Parliament is about speaking about issues and finding the best way to deal with them, not huddling in the back rooms speaking about ideas and finding the best way to get people to accept them.
But I’m a young idealist…