MayDay 2011: The Debates and the True Colour of ‘Green’

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Stephen Harper and his media friends are holding Elizabeth May at bay for a specific reason:  the Green Party of Canada (GPC) is more BLUE than people think.

In fact, this gets back to a classic debate about what the Green Party represents.  Most of the media stooges who fail to do their research almost always describe the Greens as being aligned with left or centrist views as opposed to right-wing, market-based solutions views.  Even the CBC ‘Vote Compass’ shows the Greens way off in the upper left quadrant as opposed to being in the middle or to the right.  I’m not going to suggest that this is a conspiracy, but I’m still a little suspicious of these results.

A lot of this bias comes from the notion that the Greens are anti-business.  They’re not.  At least, I don’t see them as being that way.  At the Ontario level, the Green Party of Ontario is lead by Mike Schreiner and a core focus of their platform is based on supporting and fostering the small business sector.  (NOTE:  Again I acknowledge that these are my perceptions and I’m open to correction).

That said, what I am trying to clarify is that if you are left or centre oriented, voting Green may not be the way to go because you might be surprised that some of their solutions do not fit your own personal ideology set.

However, if you’re a red tory or a small-c conservative with a conscience (and such a breed actually does exist), vote for the Greens.  The good news for the rest of us is that you’ll fracture the Conservative vote and give the Liberals and NDPers a much better chance of forming the next government.

Most seniors that are frustrated and disgusted with the Conservatives and Stephen Harper are taking this route and are voting Green.  They refuse to vote NDP because they’re not ‘socialists’ and they have a long memory when it comes to fiscal questions raised as far back as Pierre Trudeau.  Recently, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives just put another nail in their ability to garner senior votes when Shelly Glover in Manitoba created ageist confusion by declaring that a 68-year old candidate was ‘past her expiry date’.

On a personal level, I could be convinced to vote Green because I’m a small business owner, but I also don’t want to split the vote away from the leading contender in my riding that will defeat a Conservative and will vote according to this situation.

Ultimately, a split small-c conservative vote is exactly what the Conservatives want to avoid and is why they want to block the Greens from the debate.

Getting back to the GPC:  The reality is that most of their positions declare that if we let the market work, we’ll solve most of our environmental and economic problems.  I know it’s a simplistic summary, but the reliance on market tends to outweigh recommendations related to government interjection and regulation.

Here’s a quote from their site in context of specific platform issues:

“Smart Economy”

We support:

  • no more grey-industry bail-outs
  • income-splitting for families
  • lower payroll and income taxes
  • higher taxes on polluting industries

By ‘grey industry bail-outs’, I’m assuming this refers to the bailouts that were organized for GM and Chrysler.  The NDPers and the Bloc were passionate about car-industry bailouts because it meant protecting union jobs in Ontario and Quebec.  The Liberals were concerned about the companies because they wanted to maintain seats in vital suburban ridings around Toronto and Montreal.

The Conservatives could have cared less, but they eventually supported the bailout, most likely because they saw an opportunity to scoop up votes in the much-desired suburban ridings.

As you can see, the Green point of view is more consistent with the Conservatives.

‘Income-splitting’ was the first platform promise unveiled by Stephen Harper just a couple of days ago.

Lower taxes are fine, but do we know if the Greens support progressive taxes (ie. higher proportionate tax rates on higher income earners)?  I’m not sure, so I welcome feedback and clarification from any Green readers out there.

Where Greens and Blues Diverge

My understanding (and that’s what this blog is all about – if I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments below) is that the Green Party is very different from the Conservatives because the Greens are about Parliamentary reform.  Proportional Representation (PR) is at the top of their list and might become an election issue or question if they are allowed to debate.

That said, PR has also been a central piece of the NDP platform for a very long time, and we’ve yet to hear a peep from Jack or others at the provincial level when it comes to introducing reform that will actually stick.

Ironically, PR was also central to the Reform Party back at the end of the 80s and into the 90s before the Conservative emerged from the CRAP (Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party).

This proves that as parties become more ‘mainstream’ their concerns about democratic reform become more marginal and less important than seeing that ‘majority’ light at the end of the tunnel.

Regardless, you can see that the Greens are actually more consistent with the Conservatives.  This would become much more evident in a public debate.

As a result:  Elizabeth May is intentionally blocked from the debates in order to keep the confusion going for left-centrist voters and to protect the Conservatives from any kind of splitting of their votes.

6 comments on “MayDay 2011: The Debates and the True Colour of ‘Green’

  1. Actually, you were on a roll until you hit the last sentence. What Elizabeth May pronounces in public is seldom as clear as Green Party of Canada policy proposals are. She is her own worst enemy, had a golden opportunity in 2008 and crashed as badly (for violating respect of the moderator) as Stockwell Day did in the 2000 debates, continues to make the issue her (see her opinion piece in the Globe and Mail of 29.03.2011, which again strays all over the map and blows its argument). As a result, I (who very much would like to see Green economic ideas talked about as often as possible!) don’t want to hear from her.

    The Green Party needs a new leader, one that can successfully translate thin national support into MPs. Ms. May isn’t it — and so 2011 should not be a year to “let her in”. The damage done to this point to the Green Party by her is sufficient.

  2. Economically I would agree with your assessment that greens are more centrist and prefer the market solution(where possible) because they generally use money more efficiently than Government. That said we do not “overly” trust business to do they right thing or self regulate. Sorta like Regan’s comment on nuclear disarmament “Trust but Verify” The conservative party loves self regulating industries and does not support verification, we believe in verification while leveraging the skills/abilities/power of the market.
    This does not however include health care, where we do support the existing system!

    On Deficits we believe in balanced budgets because money, just like natural resources is finite, use too much money you have unsustainable debt or inflation from money printing. You cannot use more oil, water, or money than exists without causing trouble, in this matter we are truly “c”onservative where the Cons are not. The Cons are neo-cons, a totally different species.

    On social issues from abortion, drugs, euthanasia and guaranteed annual income we are as progressive if not more progressive than all the other parties.

    Further greens don’t stigmatize, demean or punish the needy, we have the wealth to give everyone a reasonable and dignified existence and we have policies (we believe) to address this issue without bloating the costs of government admin.

    On electoral reform I know many people who would leave the GPC in a second if this issue was dropped. We don’t want just our voice heard, let the CHP, CAP, PC all have voice. More voices= more ideas= better answers and more political engagement.

    Conservatives with heart,
    fiscally conservative/social progressive
    both have a ring of truth but the details are far more complex.

    good post theme.

  3. Thanks Bruce!

    I was going to go so far as to suggest that she should go, as I honestly don’t know THAT much about the Greens, so I appreciate your feedback and hope that either the Greens work out the leadership issues.

  4. Thanks Green Assassin Brigade! I really appreciate the input and certainly gained from your feedback on the Green platform.

    I always remind anyone that reads this blog that my opinions are exactly that and clarification (like yours) is most certainly welcome.

    Ultimately, do you think the Green vote confuses or supports centrist or progressive ideals? Do they reinforce or fracture the left vote?

  5. I suspect we do add some confusion but mostly because media does not properly define us. The constant claims we are uber left (like in the CBC voting tool) is based on the belief that concern for the environment is only a left issue, something I don’t buy. Clean air, water and a livable planet should be everyone’s concern, its not like only the left breaths and eats. We also get tainted by the Euro Greens who are much further left that we are, a comparison there would show what real left is.

    I’ve been told that we draw from all the other parties which might, just might justify people’s claims we help perpetuate minority governments but does not justify claims we’ve allow Harper to win. I’ve seen one analysis claiming we stopped a majority (I’ve have no proof either way)but my EDA at least (I don’t know the voters) is certainly more turquoise than purple, with a smattering of social not economic libertarians.

    I also believe that a fair number of people who now vote for us were on the verge of abandoning the ballot box all together, we are retaining voters in the system.

    Personally I think the claims that the Liberals are actually liberal/progressive are the biggest error in Canadian politics. libs and cons are both really different shades of a top down corporatist agenda. Maybe I’m delusional(its been suggested) but I think we are the center. libs and cons to the right, ndp/bloc left.

  6. Nice post I learned alot, will visit this site again to check your future posts

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