Last night, I made one of the hardest decisions in my life. I made the choice to leave the Liberal Party, and will join with the Greens for the October 2019 election.
That statement alone has a lot of privilege within it, which I recognize - there are a lot worse things in life to deal with than switching political allegiances. That's in part why I did so.
Let me explain.
In the 2008 election, I walked into the campaign office of Paddy Torsney, former Liberal MP for Burlington, and volunteered for the first thing in my life. Since then I've donated to the Liberals, organized for the Liberals, door knocked for the Liberals, help draft and submit policies for the Liberals, voted at their conventions, and made much of my own identity about being a Liberal. Peruse through this blog and you'll see the truth in that.
I don't for one second regret any of it, nor the people I met along the way and spent long hours discussing issues, events, and life with. Every Liberal in my community is a fantastic person and I wish them all well, and hope they don't think too poorly of me.
In 2015, the Trudeau Liberals were handed a mandate by Canadians tired of Conservative rule, despite being a third place party that many voters thought undeserving of another chance at power. The NDP were well placed to take advantage of that - but they faltered. Why? Because they lacked a vision. They became more focused on achieving power for power's sake, and forgot the reasons why they wanted to do so.
The Liberals, meanwhile, rebuilt, retooled, and regained their sense of purpose. Supporters were encouraged to figure out what exactly it meant to be a Liberal, and what our goal in getting to government was. Had the party not won power, it would have still provided a strong answer to the question of "what is a Liberal anyway?" It was, and remains, a worthy vision.
I was a part of that process, and I believed in the vision espoused by Trudeau that a Liberal government should be about progress, whether that was on climate change, democracy, inclusion, science, taxation, diplomacy, whatever you want - the government should be at the forefront, leading Canadians with sound, evidence-based policy, compromising on process but never on vision, and helping those left behind.
Yet, what happened once the Liberals were in power?
For every positive thing implemented, like the CCB, the $200K tax bracket, and standing up to Trump, it seemed another step was taken back. Another compromise to the vision of the Party.
Electoral reform - dead. Climate policy - muddled. Co-operative federalism - backburnered. Immigration - photo-op'd. Transparency - cancelled. Deficit - ballooned. MP freedom - torched.
I could go on, and I did, because I knew every excuse they gave and made some myself, but eventually one has to ask - where do the excuses stop, and the solutions begin?
I don't know, and neither do the Liberals, mostly because it seems that they don't care. Its become more about stopping Scheer for them than about supporting a vision for the future.
And don't get me wrong, stopping Scheer/Bernier is a worthy goal in and of itself, but the Liberals don't have a monopoly on that front. They had their chance to enact a truly bold agenda for the country, and instead, we got half-measures and talking points. My vote is to be earned, not threatened.
Which brings me to the Greens.
We all know the vision for the Greens, and I can wholeheartedly say I agree with it in principle. Climate change - the climate emergency
- must be addressed, first and foremost. Our communities must become
sustainable, and our land must be protected. Our people need to be cared
for in a future growing increasingly uncertain and dire. We, Canadians, need to
be pushed into action, and Greens intend to do just that through collaborative, intelligent, forward-thinking policy.
I don't agree with everything they say or do, but I believe in the Green Party's goals, and I believe in the people supporting the party that I've met. I'll gladly work alongside them door by door until their message is made loud and clear to every Canadian.
But more than sharing a vision, I believe the Greens can light that fire beneath the other parties. I believe in sending a message to the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP that enough is enough - you're going to take these issues seriously, or you're going to face the consequences.
Simply put, I want Elizabeth May and the Greens to become the scariest group on and off Parliament Hill, the sight of which sends party elites, science deniers, and bigots scrambling to the hills. Its time people take a stand for something they believe in, and let those that would us back due to ignorance or greed that their time is growing short.
Adding to their caucus in October is just how we start.