Tag Archives: green party

There ain’t no party like a Green party party

Everyone in the Toronto area should come to the Hockey Hall of Fame this evening to welcome Elizabeth May as she completes the first leg of her nation-wide whistle-stop tour (click that link for a very cool website that lets you follow the trip so far). I have the honour of being the master of ceremonies at tonight’s event. Details below, see you there.

Elizabeth May’s itinerary for Wednesday, September 24th 

Green Party leader Elizabeth May will continue her cross-country whistle-stop train tour on Wednesday.  She will spend the morning traveling through Northern Ontario before making stops in Sudbury and Parry Sound. She ends this leg of her tour with a large rally in Toronto. The whistle-stop tour will start out from Toronto on Friday for the next part of her tour.
12:30 PM – 12:55 PM (EDT) – Ms. May’s whistle-stop tour will make a stop for a rally in Capreol, Ontario at the VIA rail station.

1:21 PM – 1:31PM (EDT) – Ms. May will meet with supporters and the public when her train stops in Sudbury Junction at the VIA rail station (10km north of Sudbury).

4:17PM – 4:27PM (EDT) – Ms. May’s whistle-stop tour will stop for a rally in Parry Sound. She will meet with local candidates, supporters, media, and the public at the stop.

5:49PM – 5:59PM (EDT) – Ms. May will meet with supporters, candidates, and the media when her train stops for a rally in Washago, Ontario.

8:00PM – 11:00PM (EDT) – The western leg of Ms. May’s whistle-stop tour will end at Union Station in Toronto. After getting off the train Ms May will immediately take part in a large rally at the Hockey Hall of Fame. (30 Yonge Street)

Toronto Green Party Candidates welcome Elizabeth May with rally on Wednesday

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, will be joined by Toronto-area candidates and supporters at a rally on Wednesday to celebrate the successful Western leg of her cross-Canada whistle-stop train tour.

Ms. May’s train will arrive at Union Station at 8PM. Upon arrival she will walk to the Hockey Hall of Fame to address a rally of supporters and the general public. Ms. May will be available for media at the rally but only for a photo-op at Union Station.

8 PM – 1 AM, Wednesday, September 24th

Arrival: Union Station, 65 Front Street West, Toronto
Rally: Hockey Hall of Fame, 30 Yonge Street, Toronto

Without Precedent

The criteria for inclusion in the leaders’ debate is completely arbitrary. The system to decide who gets equal treatment has never been clear, transparent, accountable, or democratic. And yet, the Green Party played along and met all of the criteria as ever defined by a member of the broadcast consortium. Today we were excluded from the debate regardless. This is a shameful and irrational decision. It is an insult to democracy. And it is without precedent.

For the Reform party, having one seat was good enough to earn Preston Manning an invitation. For the Bloc, creating a party mid-Parliament was enough to earn Lucien Bouchard an invitation, even though no one had ever cast a single vote for his party and his candidates were only running in one province (on a promise of breaking up the country, no less). The Greens have an MP (who came to his new party in the same way that Bloc MPs came to theirs), have national support and are running candidates in every region of the country (more than the Reform party could say).

So what’s the difference between us and those other new parties that came before us? Was this decision made because our leader is a woman? Or because unlike the other parties, we haven’t traditionally spent money to advertise on the same networks that made the decision? I’d hate to think those were motivating factors, and I don’t really believe they were, but I’m hard pressed to come up with any other key distinctions. The only thing I’m left with is that we’re more of a threat than those other parties were, or perhaps that our opponents are more cowardly than theirs.

On day one of this election campaign, Elizabeth May began by saying that democracy itself was more important than any one party. On day two, 5 unelected and unaccountable people met in secret and decided to spit in the face of the nearly 700,000 people who voted Green in the last election, the over 1 million people who say they intend to do so in the next election, the 80,000 people who have signed a petition demanding our inclusion, and the 80% of Canadians who—regardless of whether or not they support the Green party—understand that we have earned our right to be heard.

We will fight this decision. Not just for ourselves, but for all voters who deserve to know all of their options before they make up their minds.

Finally, I can’t help but feel a special amount of shame for Jack Layton. He claims to support fair voting. He has repeatedly run on a platform that argues the Greens deserve at least 12 seats. And yet, today he’s happy to hide behind a voting system that he otherwise decries as unjust. He supports fair voting when it suits him, and ignores it when it doesn’t. That is the definition of a hypocrite and an opportunist.

When each party kicked-off their election campaigns on Sunday, Elizabeth May led supporters in a chant of “vote, vote, vote.” Meanwhile, NDP supporters across the river from Parliament Hill were chanting “Jack, Jack, Jack.” I guess we know where their priorities are.

Nomination meeting tonight

With a (potentially illegal) federal election now a near certainty, the Toronto Centre Federal Green Party association has called an emergency nomination meeting for tonight.

Ben Wicks Pub

424 Parliament Street (west side, between Gerrard and Carlton)

7:00 p.m.

I will not be running in this election. It’s too soon after the by-election for me to neglect my family, job, and friends to the degree that would be necessary, and I’m not willing to do a halfhearted/part-time job either. I’m confident this is the right decision for both myself and the party but it has been a difficult one to make, especially knowing that this is likely to be a very exciting, positive, and historic election for the Green Party of Canada.

After tonight we’ll have a solid candidate who will build on the excellent momentum we’ve established. I’ll be there to help them do just that.

All are welcome to the meeting tonight. It’s expected to be relatively informal.

Greens Ahead Of NDP

Despite all of the standard disclaimers about why it’s a bad idea to pay attention to polls, it’s still notable that this Strategic Council poll (which has not traditionally had the Greens as high as some other polling companies) has the federal Green Party ahead of the NDP for the first time, with 13% to their 12%. Among other things, this is yet another argument that we need to be included in the next televised leaders’ debate. There’s also an argument to be made that this puts us in seat territory, since, as Jim Harris points out, the NDP elected 9 MPs in 1993 with only 6.88% of the vote.

One NDP blogger reacted to this news in the following way:

And I guess the near dead heat of the NDP and Greens shouldn’t go unacknowledged on an NDPers blog. To that I offer this, I greatly doubt the Green’s could sustain these numbers in a national election. However, it behooves the NDP to start giving some attention to a party that seems content on allowing the mis-conception that they are somehow equivalent to the NDP on the political spectrum.

To the first point, it’s true that in the past we’ve had difficultly pulling our vote out in numbers that some pollsters have predicted. That’s less true today, however, for two reasons. One, our party is better organized than it has ever been, with competent riding associations and experienced campaign managers establishing themselves in increasing numbers every day. That helps with the problem we’ve had of not “getting out the vote,” something the NDP excel at. Two, we’ve now passed a threshold of support where people consider us a serious party capable of electing MPs, as opposed to just a protest vote. That helps with the problem we’ve had of people entering the polling booth intending to vote green, but changing their mind at the last second for “strategic” reasons. If you don’t believe me, witness the results of the Ontario provincial election. Right up until polls closed bloggers and pollsters were predicting the provincial Greens would only pull 4%, maybe 6%. When the ballots were counted, however, we’d topped 8%, achieving the high numbers we’d been polling at.

To the second point, hopefully the author will be happy to learn that I am not content to allow any misconception that we “are somehow equivalent to the NDP on the political spectrum” to exist because, of course, we’re not. If we were, there’d be no point.

In fact, if people in general were under the impression that we were equivalent to the NDP, then it seems to me they’d be more likely to support the NDP for the oft repeated reason that “they have a better chance of winning.” (Note to any NDPers thinking of making this argument at my doorstep: if I wanted to blindly vote for the party with a good chance of winning, I’d vote Liberal.) No, quite the opposite is true: our support is as high as it is because people recognize that we are different from the NDP in many of the ways that we’re different from all of the status quo parties. (In short, and without trying to start a debate, we move beyond the old left/right spectrum and approach problems from a pragmatic, holistic perspective, while remaining the only party to acknowledge that there are limits to growth.)

Does that mean I’m cheering for the NDP’s demise, secretly hoping to wipe them off the map completely? Absolutely not. The NDP have a legitimate and important role to play in Canadian politics; I just can’t understand why they’re not playing it. If I were to offer some unsolicited advice, it would be as follows. Be true to yourselves. Stand up for traditionally “left wing,” socialist principals. Put away the focus groups and the talking points, the negative tone and the overly partisan rhetoric. Let Layton be Layton: think back to his excellent work as a city councilor in Toronto, when he was committed to getting things done instead of “getting things done,” if you get my meaning. That, in my opinion, is a recipe to get your supporters excited and believing in your party again.

Whatever you do, stop trying to become the new Liberal party. Please. We’ve got one of those already, we don’t need another one.