Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why I'm joining the Green Party of Canada

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.

However...

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.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
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  2. I knew some principled Green voters just like you when I was young. They believed in holding the tarnished mainstream left wing party to account, to press for higher minded politics, rejecting a binary choice and aiming for a better world.

    These Nader voters in 2000 elected George W. Bush, gave us the Iraq War and the financial crisis, thousands dead, millions impoverished.

    I don't suppose you'll listen to me -- none of those green Nader voters ever listened, insisting that voting Green wouldn't elect Bush, or that Bush and Gore were the same, but I implore you to reconsider. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    This Liberal government has slashed child poverty, increased foreign direct investment, implemented a carbon tax, presided over low unemployment, deflated a housing bubble, frozen student loan interest rates, welcomed fifty thousand Syrian refugees, and done a hundred other left wing, progressive things. Don't throw it away. Please.

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    1. If you want to get into the numbers on strategic voting: Eric Grenier (CBC poll analyst) figures that for every 100 votes that Greens gain from other parties, 36 come from the Liberals, but 28 come from the Conservatives (and 27 from the NDP and 10 from the BQ). When you consider that the Liberals were in decline before the Greens began to rise, it's hard to argue that those Liberal votes would be staying Liberal if Greens weren't here; much more likely they'd be going to the Conservatives. And then when you factor in the votes that come to them from the Conservatives too, it looks more and more like the Greens are actually drawing significant support away from the Conservatives while the Liberals decline for their own reasons.

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    2. Sorry. Not voting for a party that lied about something as critical as the voting system. As a Canadian who had voted in New Zealand's PR elections I KNOW what Justin and the Liberals cheated Canadians of. I believe he only made the promise to steal votes from the NDP and Greens. He never intended to do anything.

      No way I'll vote for Liberal liars and cheats. Again,I know what they robbed Canadians of. Terrible.

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    3. Nader didn't elect Bush. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-le-al-gore-ralph-nader-2000-20160527-snap-story.html

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  3. Thank you for writing. Sad they can't understand and double down on the very thing we campaigned on ending--strategic voting--without realizing just those comments alone make it that much worse and gives us that much more resolve. I mean, the disconnect between campaigning to end something, changing our minds and then demanding everyone ignore we told you we'd end that and now you must do it again, is rather shocking. Stupidly shocking.

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  4. This election is special in many ways. The Conservatives are more nasty and ugly than ever. They've been "Fox News" crazied. But the Liberals have adopted the usual "take it or leave it arrogance" they display while the First Part the Post voting system persists. Trudeau lied about electoral reform. The Liberals don't deserve a vote either. Not this time. So it's the NDP or the Greens. Well.,the NDP aren't very encouraging. In Alberta when they gained powet it was all pipelines all the time. Utter folly as they had no hope of winning the next election. In BC, the NDP carried on with Site C. Disappointing. The NDP just can't be trusted when the rubber hits the road.

    So it's the Greens. Will they win loads of seats? Probably not. But the Liberals will learn the hard way they can't act in bad faith without consequence.

    If Scheer wins, that's Justin's fault. 100%. He promised to end First Part the Post and just walked away from it.

    Vote Green. You might elect some MPs, but you'll also be telling the Tories and the Liberals you don't want them. That's as important a message as any. Especially now.

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  5. Scaremongering poeple not to vote Green is not going to work very well this time thankfully. Those of you suggesting suggesting a Green vote is a vote for Scheer haven't been paying attention to the polls over the past year.
    Those of us who do pay attention weren't at all surprised about P.E.I. and B.C. and we won't be surprised to see the GPC gain official party status after this election either.
    This fall I hope will be the last election where anyone believes holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils is a strategy one should stomach.
    Vote for who you want to win, not for who you think can beat beat the leader you don't want to win. Whether that be May, Trudeau, Scheer or Singh, own your vote this year and ease your conscience.
    We know Trudeau will say anything to win, that Scheer has no vision past becoming PM, and Singh is the captain of a sinking ship. Is it any wonder the Greens are on track the ridings they have historically done quite well in bit lost due to vote splitting?
    I think not. If you like your Green candidate, vote for them. After all, even of they don't win that seat your vote sends a clear message to the other parties that they didn't earn your vote. Election after election the NDP and Liberals get a little more "Green" because of it while the cons continue to double down on right wing values.

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  6. In Kitchener-Centre, I think we have a really strong case that the Green candidate IS the strategic vote to make if you want to keep Sheer out.

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  7. My position is to support whichever non-CPC candidate has the best chance in a given riding. In my Vancouver Quadra that with will probably be liberal, but I will adjust on election day.

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  8. It sonds like we have had similar experiences. I am a long time Green, since 2004. But I volunteered for Justin Trudeau's Campaign when he forced the Supporter membership category on the Liberal Party. I fe;t this was the way forward, to simply invite people freely to join, and join the party for their passions. It alwasy seemed so stupid to turn it into a transaction, to make it a [ersuasion thing when really the fact you are talking means it could happen now, for free. Anyway, the Liberal Party turned back into the Liberal party, they have forgotten they were nearly extinct 5 years ago.

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  9. Bad news, dude - joining the green party: they're never gonna win, they're of the
    whorizontal and you want Seventh-Heaven?
    rather than the other, foul realm? Vote for
    Almighty God + vote Republican = you'll
    have your indelible soul cherished like the
    Babe in the Manger rather than your Dead
    Head which supports abortionNhomosexuality
    (they think those are awwwwwsome, forget'n
    for a while Who Gave Them Their Existence):
    TurnOrBernie blogspot com
    GBY

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