The Death of the Green Party of Canada

Either after the upcoming federal election, or the one after, the Green Party of Canada will fade away from existence.

Firstly, its fundamental reason for existence has been taken on by other parties. Preston Manning, arch-conservative of the Conservative Party of Canada and head of the Manning Centre for Democracy, has called for a green conservatism since at least 2006. The Liberals under Stephane Dion had one of the most environmentally focused platforms in Canadian electoral history. The NDP also have similar focuses in their platforms.

Where before environmentalism was not at the forefront of the political debate there now exists fundamental commitments in all parties for combating greenhouse gas emissions, protection of endangered wildlife, and protecting the environment. Right now the Greens provide a vote sink for the environmental cause that hurts other political parties who share their environmental vision.

Secondly, the federal Green party lost half its support since the 2008 election and consistently has lost more and more electoral district associations across Canada due to de-registration (meaning there has been a loss of local green supporters to organize for the party, according to one ex-Green blogger*).

Its office is centralized and the party’s efforts are focused on only one seat. For voters seeks environmental changes from Ottawa or any of the other capitals it would be more worthwhile to focus their efforts on another party that has a environmental platform and a bigger coalition of support.

Thirdly, and this is likely the most important point in this blog post, the $2 per-vote subsidy is ending before the next federal election. The money that allowed the Greens party to funnel funds into Calgary-Centre and other by-elections, along with funneling money into Elizabeth May’s seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands, will be gone. With 2/3rds of their budget they wont be able to have the same funds for a similar strategy.

Never mind the argument that people can ‘lend their votes’ to the Greens so they can get the vote subsidy will be gone, which will finally end a very poisonous argument.

I wrote about this in 2010. Ending the vote subsidy would force the voting public to support their preferred political party and bring political parties back to those who support them. The Greens just do not have that level of support that will carry them.

The Green Party has served its purpose. It’s time for that party to gracefully exit and for Canadians to focus on a greener vision for Canada.

It may in fact be a good thing for the Greens to fade away.

These volunteers, candidates, and passionate Canadians are needed in these other parties. The work done by the Green Party to raise environmental issues to the forefront of the political debate cannot be understated, but that role is done with. Environmentalism is a core piece of the political process in Canada. And these volunteers, candidates, and passionate Canadians are needed to support the environmentalism in these other parties, along with making these parties more relevant in different parts of the country.

So this blogger says let the Green parties across Canada quietly end themselves. They’re without purpose, their support is waning, and people should focus on involving their efforts in other parties to create substantial change in Canada.

*Note: The original blog post had forgotten to mention that is no longer a supporter of the Green Party of Canada.

7 Responses to The Death of the Green Party of Canada

  • What a naive view of the world you must have thinking the political spectrum is so narrow that a mere 3 choices can adequately represent all reasonable ideas. I don’t even see how you can make a claim that environmental policy is adequately covered by the other parties. The NDP waffles for fear of being labeled taxers and would never implement the kind of carbon taxes needed to solve the problem, provincially they’ve never been proven as environmentalists

    The Liberals simply can’t be trusted to do anything in the future based on how little they did after signing the first round of Kyoto. While somewhat less socially repressive than the Cons Liberals are still corporate shills who will never put planetary health before the health of their business friends, the lack luster internal support for Dion and his instant repudiation by the party proves that.

    It’s true that funding a party without the $2 per vote is more difficult and many EDAs burnt out because of the demands of 3 closely timed elections but I see new growth in both membership and volunteers within the surviving EDAs, and hobbyists replaced by more professional people as both EDA members and Candidates.

  • Thanks for the link, and shout out. I had to comment on this excerpt though: “Secondly, the federal Green party lost half its support since the 2008 election and consistently has lost more and more electoral district associations across Canada due to de-registration (meaning there has been a loss of local green supporters to organize for the party, according to one Green blogger).”
    I have not been a Green Party member for 2 years. I joined the Liberal Party last fall. It was clear to me that the GPC is not fulfilling a useful role anymore, they are running phony candidates, and siphoning votes from real, honest to goodness Partys in 300 ridings.

  • At first Greens enthusiastically watched their little seedling germinate and grow; disillusionment was sure to follow as novelty hardened off and panic began to underlie policy: their holy grail of proportional representation is a deader letter now than it’s ever been (in BC it’s failed in both of two referenda) but prefixes almost all Green propaganda nonetheless. And a record of vote-splitting is now clearly evident, against which Green proselytizers recommend voting “with your heart, not your head.” Equally delusional is syphoning off funds from ridings across the board to focus on the most promising one or two, a measure local members will not long sustain but employed at last resort, as with Elizabeth May’s single Green win. If eight hundred voters of Saanich-Guf Islands hadn’t afforded May her plurality, the Greens would have already evaporated.

    Greens insist May’s win is truly seminal, a harbinger of bigger things to come; the recent federal by-election in the neighbouring riding, where Greens came in second, they often cite as proof. However a number of of other interpretations counter this wishful thinking, among them the conspicuous drop in traditional Conservative numbers concomitant with the rise in Green numbers, suggesting the also-ran right wing vote went strategically Green to spoil the NDP incumbency.

    May’s biggest priority is not to patiently build on the Green toe in the door but to retain her seat for another term. With perennially fringe support slipping back into the grip of reality and with the rescinding of the per-vote-subsidy, the Greens are once again backed up against the precipice: if they lose their sole seat, they’re toast. On the bright side, May stands a good chance of retaining her seat on her work ethic alone, which adds to the riding’s prestige of being represented by a party leader and to a voice that shouts louder than its weight in the national forum. The Greens would be as surprised as anybody if they won more than one seat.

    The federal Greens are also insinuating themselves on the upcoming BC election, particularly in the provincial equivalents of the two federal ridings where Greens did well. Green vote splitting is much more consequential in BC–if all Green votes had gone NDP in the 2009 election, BC would not have had a BC Liberal government (13 ridings were split out of 85)–which is probably why erstwhile Greens are reconsidering the irony of helping decidedly not-green parties prevail (symptomized by the dearth of Green advertising expenditure.)

    What the Greens will have accomplished before they expire is to compel its rival NDP to keep its own environmental policies competitive. Indeed, all parties have had to respond to the Green
    phenomenon to some degree.

    • Based on the electoral reform referenda, support for electoral reform is correlated with population density and formal education. Knowing that Canada’s population density and formal education, it is logical to conclude that support for proportional representation is increasing.

  • The only person I see fit to run this country is Elizabeth May. Alot of old schoollers dont see it and for many reasons of their own. Alot of Lib and Con voters as well. I will never vote strategically and I just hope that Harper doesnt get on again. Who voted Cons anyway, people who were mad at the Libs? thats ridiculous!!!! Libs should never vote Con and vice versa. Is this how all of the people vote, back and forth garbage of all time. What is the country all about anyway? It was originated by the First Nations, built by immigrants, for the love of freedom and a better place. Harper respects none of these ideas. The only person who i see is the MOST forthright, honest, intelligent of them all is Elizabeth May. And I really, really wishd people would see what I see. I see a political system that goes back and forth, fighting over who did what wrong and blame the other. What about actually for once making something work with everything else in mind first, not the money first. They always say focus on the what you love, the money will follow. So if you love fresh water, good land to grow food, green energy, and a great future for all of Canada then you have to quit looking at Green like its just an activist, just an environmentalist, just a protester. Because really if you look at all the words, these people are really looking out for something else besides themselves. I want a government who listens to the people, not only certain groups of people, but all. And definitely not there to hold the hands of the billionaires who are benefiting from destroying it. Libs and Cons are the same. Fighting like a kids at school. Well you know what? The bullying is ending as we speak. Schools are adopting anti-bullying across Canada. My god, what will it be like when they grow up? Not like this. They will know how to solve problems without bashing the other guy. They will learn how to work together. Bullying will be looked at like a lower kind of intelligence. Because, after all, it is.

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