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.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Green Party better scramble: 21 New Ridings for Ontario

Discrimination Relaxed?

Discrimination Relaxed?

So now it’s (semi) official. I read it in the Globe and Mail. Ontario is to gain 21 electoral districts in the re-distribution of seats due to population changes. There will undoubtedly be howls of protest across the country, but I will refer those interested in the facts about the issue to check out this link. It basically summarizes the supreme court rulings, and the nuts and bolts of re-districting. For Green Party of Canada activists, and organizers, the question immediately rises to the forefront. How will this impact our electoral chances? I cannot answer categorically, because the answer will lie in the gory details, but here’s a quick look at the details that will have the most impact.

In Toronto, the outlying districts have the most coherent concentrations of Conservative voters. These ED’s could possibly be crafted to return one Conservative plurality. The downtown ridings are a write-off for the Conservatives. The Conservatives have a definite interest in splitting districts around the perimeter of the city. My guess is that they will create one more Toronto ED, based upon population growth, and an average population of 105,000 per ED in Ontario. I am not as familiar with the other Ontario Cities, but I assume that a similar calculus will come into play.

905 All Aboard!

905 All Aboard!

Rural Ontario will not change very much, but suburbia will get a lot of new ridings. The implication for the GPC is that a positive message promoting stronger transit, and commuter links will have a very positive impact on our electoral outcomes in suburban Ontario.

For the Green Party, those ridings where they have concentrated pockets of support will benefit. This includes most ridings which have active EDA’s, that focus their resources during elections. In the case of Bruce Grey Owen Sound, and Guelph, the new boundaries should be very closely scrutinised. These ridings both have relatively high levels of support, and boundary changes could make either, or both quite winnable in the next election. Because most EDA’s have focused their efforts on a small part of their riding, you can expect that those new ridings that contain these target polls will gain on average 1%-2% on a per riding basis. This will tip the balance for many EDA’s over the 10% threshold to receive a rebate of 60% of their election expenses. That will have a nice impact on subsequent elections.

The most important factor will be how well the GPC meets the challenge of organizing 21 new EDA’s. We mustn’t forget that Alberta will see 5, and BC will see 7 new ridings added, and these will have a pretty big impact on the GPC’s electoral prospects also. BC could break out with one or two winnable ridings as well, so I can only hope that the GPC notes well it’s opportunities, and allocates resources accordingly.

As usual, the most important factor will be how many members, and volunteers the GPC can recruit before, and after these changes come into effect. Because many EDA’s are at, or below a critical mass of volunteers, further dilution will see many EDA’s shrink to something too small to do much of anything. The GPC simply must refocus efforts on recruiting, and organizing the membership.

If you want to have a lot of fun, working with people who love their country, and are prepared to sacrifice their time, effort, and money to make a real difference, I encourage you to Join the Green Party NOW!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

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!

%d bloggers like this: