Posted by: jmtoriel | January 22, 2007

Greening the polls — a cleaner option becomes clearer

With a nearly all-time-high popularity level in the recent polls (The BC Green party jumped to 16 per cent support in the December Ipsos-Reid poll), British Columbians are beginning to see the option of supporting the Green Party as less of a risk and more of a reality. This stnegth is building and a forthcoming leadership race should perk the interest of British Columbians as a truly viable option for the next provincial election (slated for 2009).

There is definately something in the air, and it’s not just CO2 and smog… Canadians are learning that green politics is surfacing as fast as the polar icecaps are melting bringing credibility to Green Parties in opposition and in coaltion governments worldwide.

Having just returned from a holiday with my relatives in Europe, I observed the significant powers that the Green Parties and their representives hold within a democratic electoral system in many European countries (including the European Parliament). A prime example is the newly elected centre-right Czech government which just squeeked in with a conditional coalition with the Green Party. The Greens elected only 6 of the total 200 seats, but hold the balance of power in that parliament. Given the importance of holding a coaltion government, the leader of the Civic Demorats placed the elected Greens in key ministries: Environment, Education, Foreign Affairs and Human Rights and Minorities. That’s 4 of 6 in key ministerial positions in a right of centre coalition!

If a provincial election was held today with a similar MPP electoral system, given the latest poll results, BC would most likely have the highest Green representation in the World (16% of the seats would be significant). It is a travesty that Green reps. do not hold one single seat and the current archaic electoral system (which the BC Greens obviously want changed) has got to go.

On a national scale, the Green Party has surpassed the regional Bloc Quebecois in national polls for the first time and surpassed the NDP in Alberta as well.

As evidence becomes more evident that accounting for social AND ecological decisions for the long-term become a wiser option locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, the Green option is becoming stronger than ever. British Columbians are realizing that Green jobs will foster growth in innovation for the future. The dirty economy that relies on unsustainable extraction of natural resources scientifically proven to accelerate issues of climate change is becoming a less popular option to hold on to.

Elizabeth May’s near victory in London (coming a close second in the By-election) and the constant rise in popularity in the polls coupled with GREEN policies that tackle issues (like climate change) for the long-term (instead of traditional knee-jerk reactionary policies) are quickly coming into mainstream polititcs. Parties from the left and right are realizing that the issues that we face are non-partisan and at a critical phase.

This brings to light a very important myth that is held by traditional parties on the right AND left. The BC Green Party has taken much slack for splitting the left or the progressive vote. I never felt this was a justifiable argument as the party has never based itself on socialist principles nor believed in the absolute functionality of an unmanaged free-market economy. It is based on solving issues. It is neither right nor left, but forward.

The political advancement of the environmental issues that are often initiated and/or championed by the Green Party and environmental groups (ENGOs) are becoming more evident as well.

It is clear that the continuation of the greening process of the other parties is an accomplishment in itself and the will of the electorate in the next elections (provincial and federal) will mean siding with the Greens at some level or electing them.

The NDP are reluctant to leave their roots within union support and the Liberals/Conservatives clearly support the interests of the corporations to which their tax (and electoral financing) support lie.

So, which political party represents the values of citizens and take into account the consequences of today’s decisions for future generations as well as the well-being of the planet and all the species (human and otherwise) living on it?

The 10 Principles of the Global Greens to which the BC Greens and the Green Party of Canada adhere to seem to indicate the answer:

Sustainability: We must consider the welfare of our descendents, for at least seven generations, if we are to be wise stewards of the earth.

Social Justice: The worldwide increase in poverty and inequity is unacceptable. All must be able to fulfill their potential regardless of gender, race, citizenship, or sexual identity.

Grass Roots Democracy: Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another.

Non-Violence: Violence is almost always self-defeating, and always the very, very last choice. We must work to end war, and promote peace.

Community Based Economy: Rather than people being subservient to the economy, the economy should provide for human needs within the natural limits of the earth. Local self-reliance to the greatest practical extent is the best way to achieve this goal.

Gender Equality: The ethics of cooperation and understanding must replace the values of domination and control.

Diversity: Celebrate, protect and encourage the biological diversity of the earth and the cultural, sexual, and spiritual diversity of the human race.

Decentralization: Distant administrations cannot be responsive. Power must be returned to local communities.

Personal and Global Responsibility: Global sustainability and international justice can only be achieved when responsibility is shared at all levels of society.

Ecological Wisdom: The earth sustains all life forms. Whatever we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

The optomistic voice of reason and responsibility is clearly being heard.


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