Green Party of Canada So Long Jim Harris – For Now.

Jim Harris  -  Leading Light of the GPC

Jim Harris - Leading Light of the GPC

The recent announcement by Jim Harris, longtime leader of the Green Party of Canada, that he is taking a ‘sabbatical’ from the GPC has garnered little attention in the media, and Green Party circles. I will try not to make this post sound like an obituary, because I am convinced that we haven’t seen the last of Jim.

Jim Harris served as Leader of the Green Party of Canada, after years of activism with the Green Party that started many years ago when he was employed as a staffer with the Green Party in the UK. I first met Jim at a garden party at his house in East York, in the days after the 2004 election. He was always a bit of an odd bird, and his strength was derived from superior organizing, and fundraising ability, less than from a magnetic personality. All Greens acknowledge the hard work, and his, (at the time), extraordinary ability to induce supporters to part with their money. Fewer Greens, (and I am amongst them), credit Jim with a fundamental breakthrough. He single handedly changed the image of the Green Party of Canada from that of a looney left wing Party, to a party was ‘neither left, nor right, BUT forward’. By espousing fiscal conservatism, social progressivism, and environmental sustainability, he broadened the appeal of the GPC to welcome in throngs of disaffected Red Tories, and Liberals.

Having known Jim for 5 years, I can tell you there is more to his departure than can be read in his gentlemanly ‘sabbatical’ announcement. He has served recently as the chair of the 18 member Federal Campaign Committee. It is interesting to note that in the wake of the recent election this committee has suffered a rash of resignations, that some have characterized as a coup. The resignation of 7 members left a clear majority of 100% Elizabeth May loyalists. It seems that responsibility for the organizational problems in the last election is not to be laid at the Leaders

Sharon Labchuk. Is she up to the job?

Sharon Labchuk. Is she up to the job?

door, but on the small number of experienced Campaigners on the committee. I will not point fingers, but some of the people on the committee are, frankly, not competent to plan a campaign, while some of those resigning are amongst the best campaigners who stuck around after David Chernushenko’s defeat, and subsequent retreat from GPC politics.

This development is not a good sign for the future of the GPC. I will suspend judgement until we see if the new and improved committee is able to start marshaling the resources of the GPC. I frankly do not care what they want to blame the failures in the last election on. I will reserve judgement for a few months. Until I start seeing them recruiting quality candidates, reaching out and teaching the EDA’s how to campaign, and driving membership numbers back up, I will assume that this housecleaning had nothing to do with Election readiness, and everything to do with???

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4 Responses

  1. I am sorry to hear this news. I have made donations to the GPC and voted for it when it was led with the mix of ideas Jim Harris brought forward.

    I’m also sorry to say that nothing Elizabeth May is doing gives me any reason to support the GPC again.

  2. people have looked at 2006-2008 fed election
    numbers but have you looked at voting numbers between 2007 Ontario election and 2008 Federal election?

    If the Ontario GROWTH RATE number is below average, then I attribute this to GPO supporting the OSSN coalition. You can’t go on a crusade against 40% of electorate and not expect some fallout. Was anything learned by the GPO?

    Ditto with this coalition and senate seat business on federal front.

    My opinion is that this CO2 & secular faith business should take a back seat to immediate environmental threats ie. air pollution in southern Ontario, STUPID growth as in Southern Ontario, tar sands, Victoria sewage, nuke builds, deforestation and lots more global causes. The immediate dollars should go to create social justice. We have a class system where working poor don’t have health and dental plans while they pay for those of top earners. The global social and environmental problems are the result of global democratic deficit. Who is running this show? Who is collaborating? Let’s get the horse back in front of the cart.

    The good news is that , after this coming recession and inflationary cycle of wealth destruction, it won’t be business as usual in developed nations. CO2 emissions will fall here and go up in Asia. Things will look a lot different in two years. No party will want an election till we see the light of day again. So there’s time to decide which way is forward in the GPC. But if strategic blunders are being made then the GPC needs to get at the root cause.

  3. Hi bas1809, there are a lot of people remaining in the GPC who joined for much the same reason you probably supported us in the past. The GPC hasn’t curled up and died or anything. The idea was strong, of a political Party with broad appeal, that maintains a set of core values supported by most Canadians. Have no fear, this Party is here to stay, however many turns in the road there may be.

  4. Hi Ron M,
    Yes I have looked (closely) at the Ontario election results. I agree that the school funding stance of the GPO was a screw up. It doesn’t really speak to our core values, and it alienated a lot of people that I know.
    I don’t think that it is so easy to draw direct comparisons between Provincial and Federal election outcomes. It is easy to think they are directly correlated, where I think they are less than direct. One I am sure of is that the Provincial and Federal party’s should co-operate on sharing electoral data, and skilled volunteers.
    W.r.t. the strategic blunders at the GPC, where do YOU think the root cause lies?

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