For at least one or two elections, it hasn’t really been fair or accurate to call the Greens a “one-issue party,” since our platforms have been much broader than that. It’s also been a frustrating claim for candidates to have to defend against, since in our assessment our platforms have done a much better job of offering integrated, holistic solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems than those of any other party. Regardless, we remained susceptible to the criticism, some would argue, because of a lack of detail (perceived or real) regarding what policies we would implement in areas other than the environment. As of 11:30 this morning, however, with the release of Vision Green, no one will ever be able to credibly make that accusation again.
Vision Green is a hefty 160-page document that outlines our vision for the kind of Canada we want in 2020 and how we can get there. It contains hundreds of specific policy innovations relating to all spheres of federal governance, divided into six parts: The Green Economy, Averting Climate Catastrophe, Preserving and Restoring the Environment, People, The Planet Needs Canada (And Vice Versa), and Good Government (which I was most directly involved with).
Elizabeth May articulated quite well what we’re trying to accomplish today:
“It’s time for visionary leadership and for policies that focus on our future, not more of the same tired old ideas designed to achieve some fleeting political advantage. I respectfully urge the Prime Minister to study what the Green Party is proposing because I believe that it will give him new insight into what real solutions look like… The truth is that the days of politics dominated by short-term band-aid fixes are over, that the old battles between left and right are irrelevant, that what we need is a fundamental shift of direction towards a stable, fair and sustainable future. Vision Green is the detailed, practical expression of that change of direction.”
When you read it (or, more likely, skim through the sections that are of interest to you), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that we offer a unique set of ideas whose time has come. We have incorporated established best practices from around the world and customized them for the Canadian context. Instead of asking “is this a left-wing idea,” “is this a right-wing idea,” or even “is this an idea that will get us votes,” we simply, repeatedly asked, “is this a good idea? Is it consistent with our values? Will it accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish?” The result is unlike anything else on tap from any other political party (which was, like, kinda the point).
As one of the 31 Shadow Cabinet members who worked on this document, I’m very proud to be associated with it. I believe it is exactly the kind of vision and leadership that Canadians are thirsting for. I also honestly believe it is the best set of solutions to deal with the crises before us, realign our public policy with what Canadians most value, and make us proud of our country’s place in the world once more. Vision Green offers hope, achieved through pragmatism and realism. (And not a moment too soon.)
ps. It’s also a nice touch that we’ve released Vision Green on blog action day, when over 15,000 bloggers around the world are talking about environmental issues. It’s past time the debate turned to focusing on specific solutions.