The following is one post in a series: “Reporting Back: Green Party of Canada Policy Conference, Halifax“
Here are my notes, paraphrasing the closing statements of all five presenters.
Representing a big industry that can be the target of some criticism, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming here. It’s been a useful day, we’ve covered a lot of ground, shared ideas. We’ve agreed and disagreed, but there as been fruitful food for thought. My reading of the tea leaves living in Ottawa and working government: the environment is gaining more attention from Canadians. They’re starting to consider personal cost to achieve environmental goals. This will bode well for the Green Party. Good Luck.
Thanks for your energy and participation. The number of people left in the room is a testament to the enthusiasm of the Green Party. I’d be happy to participate in any future events or continue this discussion via email.
Dr. Ronald Colman
Think back to the graph that shows we’re now in 30% overshoot of our planet’s resources. There are really only three scenarios.
1. Business as usual.
2. Look at the social side of the equation and seriously address poverty. But if that’s only done in the way it’s usually done (we don’t address the access consumption of the rich), that’s a problem. If we only raise the standards of the poor you increase the rate of overshoot. In order to maintain our standard of living in Canada we need a huge chunk of the world to live in poverty.
3. We need to address the consumption patterns of the rich. This is where the environmental perspective and social justice perspective is crucial, and the Green Party is the only group that’s willing to do that.
We can (need) to talk about no growth, at least from the point of view of consumption. Present levels of consumption are not sustainable if we have any commitment at all to improving the living standards of the poor.
How does a political party differ from an NGO? There’s a big difference. An NGO won’t look at different issues (environmental and social justice, for example) together. A party must look at the whole picture and bring them together.
Gains in productivity can either be taken through increased income or increased leisure time. The Netherlands has reduced its unemployment by distributing work. Part-time work became very attractive. Read the book “Sharing the work, Sparing the Planet.” (Haden?) Elizabeth becoming the leader of the GPC is the most exciting thing that’s happened on the Canadian political scene in a very long time; politics will be changed in a very short time.
Dr. Peter Victor
I’m tackling this issue of growth because it’s such an inappropriate overriding policy objective. Your policy objectives guide your policies. Therefore, the GPC needs to be clear on what its objectives are. That choice will then guide the instruments you use. If the party isn’t clear on its set of objectives (I don’t think you should have a growth objective, be more specific). Objectives should be things like eliminating poverty, protecting the environment, etc. The problem is that the growth objective has overwhelmed us. Good ideas get stopped if they’re not pro-growth, and bad ones get adopted if they are. You’ll be judged by the success of your own instruments towards the objectives you’ve set.
Andrew Van Iterson
Read “Life, Money and Illusion” by Mike Nickerson. Talk about tax shifting with your friends; get it into the discourse. Let’s get people talking.