The NDP Versus The Green Party of Canada

You may be wondering why I never have much to say about the NDP, or Jack Layton on this

Jack Layton and the NDP

Jack Layton and the NDP

blogsite. The reason is pretty simple. The NDP is not directly relevant to our present, and future electoral prospects. In the past, the NDP had a lot of environmentalists who tolerated the NDP radical left elements, because there really wasn’t a political home for environmentalists in Canada. It is certainly true that some hard left elements in the NDP are environmentalists also. They make their home there on two policy fronts, socialism, and environmentalism. The problem is that their policy proscriptions are largely ineffectul, because they depend solely on sanctions, and the heavy hand of regulation, while ignoring the potential for market mechanisms to really get the job done.

The NDP carries three generations of political baggage. From their class struggle, and hard socialist roots, through the long years of Labour Congress influence within the NDP, they have cemented the public perception of their party that is simply not acceptable to the overwhelming majority of Canadians. For those Canadian rooted in left wing ideology, the NDP is their home, and there is nothing the Green Party could, or should do to win their support.

Historical Fiction - NDP Baggage

Historical Fiction - NDP Baggage

So these are the reasons that the NDP is not very relevant to the Green Party of Canada. Our supporters are turned off by the hard left baggage of the NDP, and their consequent inability to grow in the centre of the Canadian political left/right spectrum. The NDP’s current supporters will not likely gravitate towards a Green Party that embraces market mechanisms, and is skeptical of the ability of Government to punish our way to a cleaner environment.

The NDP is not completely irrelevant though. Under Jack Layton, they have tried to distanced themselves from the ‘class struggle’ rhetoric of the past. They do play a role, in a riding by riding basis of chipping away at the left Liberal support. The continued survival of the NDP, and/or Bloc is currently a necessary condition to elect Green Party Parliamentarians. It will take a tight three, four, or even five way (In Quebec) splits in the vote for the Green Party to win a plurality in any of their target ridings.

From a historical perspective, they have played a valid, and significant part in canadian politics. Most Canadians would accept that many of the progressive public Institutions such as public Health Insurance, and Unemployment Insurance were policies directly stemming from NDP pressure. As the first Party to publicly endorse, and support environmental causes, this historical role was useful in building recognition amongst the electorate of the significant impact of environmental regulation on public health and safety. Certainly in the early years, what few experienced political Campaigners the Green Party of Canada boasted of, cut their teeth in the NDP. I will offer a begrudging tip of my hat to them on these accounts.

The growth of the Green Party of Canada is not limited by the traditional left/right divide in the electorate. This has been amply demonstrated by the fact that the green Party of Canada’s support now comes in almost equal measure from former Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP’ers. In my opinion, GPC growth at the expense of the NDP has pretty much come to an end, and the future growth prospects of the Greens lie amongst people comfortable at the centre of the left/right political spectrum.

The NDP remains very bitter at the perceived betrayal of their cause by environmentalists. Dippers can be regularly seen, (and heard!), adding the GPC supporter numbers to their own in an effort to prove that the GPC has stolen seats from them. This analysis has little basis in reality though, because at the most 35% of Green supporters would even consider voting NDP. The NDP would do well to consider the reality that the Green Party of Canada’s future success will depend upon further fragmentation of the political centre, and the consequent reduced probability of majority governments being formed in the Canadian Parliament.

The fact that the NDP recently came closer to taking part in coalition government than they ever have before can be attributed to the rise of the Green Party of Canada more than any other single factor. As we increase our strength, and fragment the vote in increasing numbers of targeted beachhead ridings, the NDP will have a chance equal to the GPC of benefitting from this turn of events to tip the plurality in their favour, and return more members to Parliament. This of course turns to the benefit of the Green Party of Canada. A small Green caucus in Parliament will wield disproportionate influence over environmental policy by participating in increasingly likely coalition governments. Since this is the raison d’etre of the Green party of Canada, I don’t share the animosity of my fellow Greens towards the NDP. I disagree with 90% of their policy prescriptions, including much of their environmental policy, but I welcome their impact on the electoral landscape.

In conclusion, I will say that the impact of the NDP on the Green Party of Canada is largely of historical significance. The limited appeal of the NDP prohibits future growth of the Green Party of Canada at their expense. The long term costs of repositioning the Green platform to win votes at the NDP’s expense would have very limited success in the short run, and would permanently cripple the growth prospects of the GPC in the future. The NDP’s continued existence is imperative to the Green Party’s plans to win pluralities in the upcoming election(s). And that just about sums up the Dippers relevance to the GPC.

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Green Party must Reconsider Coalition Government Position

There are significant risks to the Green Party of Canada, and Elizabeth May arising from the more

Strategic Adjustment

Strategic Adjustment

than wholehearted support for the proposed Liberal – NDP coalition Government. There’s nothing inherently wrong with coalitions, and this one might have had a positive impact on the quality, and tone of Canadian governance BUT… It is looking increasingly unlikely.

My first point is that the Canadian electorate has succumbed to CRAP blandishment, and is shying away from what is increasingly being labeled a Parliamentary Coup. In general, support levels are pretty low for the coalition government, and even Green Party supporters are evenly split on the issue.

My second point, made in a previous blog, is that this political crisis is just so typical of the Old School style of confrontational politics. This is NOT consistent with how the Green Party should be doing business. If we truly believe that all Parliamentarians should be seeking consensus, then we should be saying so. That will mean the other Party’s talking to the CRAP over the prorogation. Frankly, I think they have all been behaving badly, and irrespective of who started it, we shouldn’t be joining in the blame game. Unless, of course we blame them ALL for being such children. There has already been some criticism of this hypocrisy in the press, and more will follow.

My third point is that over the coming months, this crisis will become more and more convoluted. It will be twisted to serve all kinds of parochial interests, that have nothing to do with the Green Party. There is absolutely nothing to be gained, (Not even a Senate appointment for Elizabeth), from involving ourselves further in it, and the risks of being closely associated with other parties stinky agendas will increase so long as we are uncritically supportive.

SO… Elizabeth May needs to step back. The Liberals are NOT our friends, and her friend, Dion is

One Survivor?

One Survivor?

going down fast. Fine, coalitions, and consensus politics are great, but this crowd are up to their usual tricks. Pay per vote funding has been preserved, so get the hell out of town, fast. We need to stand strong on our painfully built image as the Party that is above this vitriolic fray. Elizabeth, use your podium to Urge people to JOIN THE GREEN PARTY!

Most importantly, we must recognize that there is yet another election coming soon, and we MUST focus on building our membership, EDA infrastructure, donors lists, and recruiting Quality Candidates for our best prospective ridings. Lets not repeat the mistakes of the last election, by being organizationally ill prepared.

In that spirit, I will once again appeal to my readers to help do politics differently. Support good policies, not flash in the pan message vendors, and join the Green Party Today!

Politics can be a lot of fun, when your colleagues are honest, heartfelt advocates of good, meaningful policies. Contact your local EDA executive, and offer to help them by doing whatever you’re good at. (Especially if that’s fundraising, or networking)

Elizabeth May Appointed to Senate?!

This Globe and Mail article is a good synopsis of Canadian political situation at this moment.

A second Reuters piece discusses much the same.

Spot Elizabeth May's Seat

Spot Elizabeth May

There is a real eye opener, that has some very interesting, and potentially controversial implications.

“And Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is endorsing the proposed coalition government and says she has spoken with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion about the possibility of her being appointed to the Senate.”

Holy cow! Appointment to Senate? First off, is this Elizabeth May’s entree to cabinet? Jack Layton will have

Jack Layton

Jack Layton

something to say about it if that’s the case. The Dippers AND Dions fellow Liberals will not want the GPC sitting on the front bench in Parliament. It would be good for Canada, and Elizabeth would make a brilliant Minister of Environment, but that’s another question. They will not want the GPC to have such a prominent role PERIOD.

Secondly, The GPC has a long standing commitment to democratic reform. How well does it sit in YOUR craw that she may have an appointed seat in the Senate? The counter argument is solid, and obvious. In what respect is it undemocratic that someone who received just short of 1 million votes should sit in the Senate?

Dig a bit deeper. The CPC will probably fashion a wedge to split soft Liberal supporters, on the issue that the coalition is a constitutional coup. If they succeed in managing the debate, then the electorate will be debating the democratic legitimacy of this coalition Government. Square the issue for the GPC, because the democratic legitimacy of Senate appointments does raise an ethical quiver with most people (I believe).

The GPC stood to gain simply by standing above the fray, and pointing to the children battling in the Parliamentary sandbox. Isn’t it a terrible shame, support the clean Party that wants to do politics a different way. Ask yourself this question. Is the Green Party of Canada going to do better with Elizabeth in the Senate, and perhaps in Cabinet, OR will the GPC do better by picking more support amongst an increasingly disillusioned, and disaffected electorate?

This is the right way to approach electoral finance issue

Green Party Issue Centred Site

Green Party Issue Centred Site

I did my daily news search on Green Party Canada, and picked up this coverage in the Western Standard. Now that’s the way to do it! It is true that the public per vote subsidy is currently critical to the Green Party of Canada. In the name of fiscal conservatism, and sustainable finances, the GPC operating budget is counting on the subsidy to retire the election debt, and balance the books ongoing. The issue is important though, and stands on it’s own merits. So How do you make the point, without seeming self-serving? Some of the rabid right will spin any support of publicly funded politics. Especially now that the Neo-Cons are frantic with fear, and going down in flames. It’s very hard, but this is how you do it.

Congrats Elizabeth, this is a home run.

And don’t forget, the Green Party WANTS YOU IN.

Parliamentary Democracy in Action.

It's not really like this

I just read a partisan Tory blog, with a difference. It didn’t rant at the undemocratic nature of the proposed coalition government, it addressed the potential weaknesses of the coalition. This is the kind of Tory that doesn’t eat babies, and should be wooed by the Green Party, as we did so well in 2004. I would enjoy debating these points with the author in a Pub, over a pint or two.

Here’s my non-partisan take on the current controversy:

We are governed by a Westminster Parliamentary Democracy. That means a Representative democracy, as any

He would agree

He would agree

true political conservative, like myself, or the members of the now defunct Progressive Conservatives, we seek to preserve our political traditions, because they are well establish by custom, law, and convention, and they work very well indeed.

I realise that in many respects this is contrary to official Green Party policy, especially with respect to proportional representation, but despite it’s imperfections, and blemishes, I am content to live under this ploitical system. In fact, this weeks events demonstrate that it IS robust, and it works well.
In order to form a government, a prospective Prime Minister must seek, and acquire the confidence of the house. Our current Prime Minister has a minority in the house, and an even weaker mandate from the country, with less than a third of the popular vote. There is no doubt that Stephen Harper sought to sow discord, and exercise power beyond the limits imposed by his parties minority position.

Hundreds of years of Parliamentary tradition support the Liberals and NDP in their intention to seek the confidence of the house, and form a coalition government. If the Bloc supports them, then it will be right and proper that they govern. If you seek to rule this country, and you pretend to be Conservative, then you are doubly bound by Parliamentary convention. There’s a pretty good discussion of this in todays Globe and Mail.
The Green Party has absolutely nothing to do with it, as they have no sitting members. The GPC will continue to build organisational strength, and continue to attract progressive conservatives, making it increasingly unlikely that the neo-conservatives will ever earn the confidence of the house. I am happy to say that Parliament is working, and that a Government that best represents the views of the majority of Canadian electors is about to take power. This is the my position, as a Green, and a Canadian.

Now don’t forget, the Green Party has room for many competing views of Canada. If you want to be part of a real political movement, that is sweeping away the cobwebs, JOIN THE GREENPARTY NOW!

Pay per vote subsidy on the chopping block?

According to about a million leaks and articles like this Toronto Star article, Harper, Flaherty, and the boys

Politics as Usual

Politics as Usual

from the Reform, oops, Alliance, oops, CRAP, oops new and improved Conservative Party have decided to detonate a huge bomb tomorrow. They have been crowing over their plan to gerrymander the political financing laws, and eliminate the reforms to the electoral finance act introduced by the Liberals in time for the 2004 Federal Election.

The purpose of these reforms was to remove the influence of big donors from the political process. By limiting election spending, and limiting the amount, and types of donations the parties were allowed to recieve, the act intended to remove political decision making from lobbyists, and put it front and center to the electorate.

Because they have a well oiled fundraising machine, and know that they can raise limitless cash from their

Election for Sale?

Election for Sale?

admittedly motivated idealogical base, the Reform, oops CRAP will attempt to revoke the per vote subsidy to political parties. They will undoubtedly rail about political welfare, but their real agenda is to go back to the bad old days where rich donors determined election outcomes in Canada. Three guesses as to which Party the richest donors support?

Canadians will not be fooled by this utterly cynical ploy. On top of which, the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP will go absolutely ballistic over this. Ballistic enough to defeat the government, and form a Liberal-NDP coalition? I’m willing to bet that the Bloc will undertake to support such a coalition, and out of simple self preservation, such a coalition will be presented to the GG immediately after a defeat in the house.

Stay tuned, this is going to be really juicy!

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