Support the coalition

The Green Party of Canada supports the coalition of opposition parties currently in Parliament. Please visit this Green Party sponsored website for more information.  Please see Elizabeth May’s statement below.

Attend the rally this Saturday in support of coalition government.

Rally for Coalition Government
Saturday, 2008 December 6, noon
Nathan Philips Square
Queen and Bay streets

The Conservatives are attempting to make it sound undemocratic to have parties that represent more than half the Canadian votes cast decide to work together.  They’ve launched a media blitz to do so, and Prime Minister Harper is planning a special address to the nation tonight.  The media have presented this ridiculous claim as reasonable, and in some cases have attacked the coalition.  Now the Conservative Party has called for rallies across the country to denounce the coalition.  Let’s make sure the rallies supporting the coalition are larger.

Here’s the statement from the Green Party of Canada:

02-Dec-03 (Ottawa) The Green Party of Canada is calling on Canadians of all  political affiliations to support the creation of a coalition government.  Inaction on the economy, the climate crisis and the blatant political gaming of  the Conservative government has forced the hands of all Canadians.

“Canadians have everything to gain,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green  Party of Canada. “The country needs leadership and there is no confidence in the  current government to provide that.”

In the recent election, the majority of Canadians did not vote for the  Conservative Party.  They voted for parties who are prepared to take real action  on the economic meltdown and the climate crisis but because of Canada’s perverse  electoral system they got a government unwilling to take either crisis  seriously.

“In the face of the actions of the Harper government, the opposition parties  have no choice but to act on behalf of all Canadians and form a new government.   Then they can put forward a program to address rising job losses in the  manufacturing and forestry sectors,” said Ms May.

The Green Party has a long tradition of supporting nontraditional approaches  to addressing the challenges of society, including participating in coalition  governments in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Greens believe in a  cooperative approach and in finding the best solutions rather than adversarial  and rigid ideological approaches.

Although the Green Party does not hold any seats in Parliament, it did  receive nearly 1 million votes in the October 14th election; the only party to  increase its number of votes over previous elections. The Conservatives on the  other hand lost 170,000 votes but were still awarded a narrow victory in an  election that saw the lowest voter turnout in history.

“The Conservatives have no mandate to drive this country into a deeper  recession while they use the current financial crisis to further their political  ambitions. Staying the course and playing political games may be the Prime  Minister’s approach but it is not an option for Canadians,” said Ms. May.

6 responses to “Support the coalition”

  1. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Three reasons not to, Andrew.

    1. Elizabeth isn’t going to get into the Senate in a Harper government, so this would be a necessary first step anyway.

    2. We are much more likely to have friends in the government and the goodwill of the majority if we demonstrate support for this coalition. If there is any question about whether Dion would want to appoint Elizabeth to the senate, NDP, Liberal and Bloc supporters are less likely to oppose that idea if they feel the Greens are also behind the coalition.

    3. Most importantly, I’d rather fight for what’s right for Canada and the world than worry about what narrowly benefits the Green Party anyway. And on so many levels, the coalition would be a massive step forward for Canada and for many of the policy goals the Green Party promotes.

    One of the criticisms the Green Party sometimes receives is that they are too absent between elections. So if you want to raise the profile of the Green Party, we can’t be sitting on our hands and waiting for more interesting opportunities.

  2. Andrew James writes:

    Shouldn’t we keep our powder dry for the inevitable “Let Elizabeth into the Senate” push?

  3. Anonymous writes:

    I’m curious why the Green Party supports the coalition? It seems as if it’s against party values. The coalition wants to bailout the auto industry and the forestry sector.

    I admit, I don’t know much about the forestry sector but wouldn’t the bailout mean more trees are going to be cut down because of it. It just doesn’t seem that green to me, although I don’t know much about the sector, so I will not comment anymore.

    The green party supporting a bailout of the auto industry, essentially the big 3, is what confuses me the most. The big three, which are Chrysler, Ford, and GM. They make the vehicles which pollute the most, which means they’re the worst for the environment. People have decided to switch to Japanese cars, which are more fuel efficient and better for the environment. The big 3 deserve to go bankrupt because of poor business sense and not building the right vehicles for people.

    Please comment, as I would like to be more informed about this situation.

  4. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    The Green Party of Canada does not support an auto industry bailout and would like to see forestry transformed in Canada to become truly sustainable. Other parties confuse support for auto workers with support for the auto industry, support for forestry jobs with the expansion of forestry.

    We cannot realistically expect to maintain existing manufacturing, create new jobs in green manufacture and still reduce emissions. We cannot keep cutting down trees without releasing even more carbon.

    What’s worse is that all the money spent on an auto industry bailout is money not spent where it is urgently needed.

    We can redirect auto manufacturing to wind turbines, solar panels, rail infrastructure, insulation, public transit and so on. We can make all Canadian lumber pass rigourous certification standards, expanding the jobs in forestry even as we shrink the amount of forest cut, and make as much profit from a higher end product.

    That said, when forced to choose between two opposing sides in Parliament, the Conservative minority on one side, and the majority coalition on the other, it is no contest who to support.

    On the issue of climate change, which is by far the biggest challenge facing humanity today, we have all opposition parties looking at a goal of 80% emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. All have committed to reductions of at least 20% by 2020. By contrast the Conservative Party of Canada hopes to see emissions at 1990 levels by 2020, and won’t even commit to that goal. Keep in mind that the Conservative Party has also spoken of an auto industry bailout.

    There are other issues on which the Conservative Party is the most antithetical to Green Party values. It is the party that has pushed most for Canada’s military adventurism. It is the party that shredded the Kelowna accord and attempted to scuttle the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that prior Canadian governments essentially wrote. It is the party that killed the dream of a national daycare strategy. It is the party that envisions continued growth of the tar sands and sees the melting arctic as a new opportunity to drill.

    In any coalition, the coalition partners have to sacrifice some of their dreams or trade for others. And the Green Party is not even a coalition partner. We are observers, offering our commentary on which government would be better — one led by the Conservative Party of Canada, or one formed by a coalition of Liberals and NDP with Bloc support. Neither choice represents Green Party priorities. But it is obvious which choice is closer.

  5. Anonymous writes:

    Thank you for the response, it was very informative.

    Personally, I’m a Conservative supporter and my views differ but I’m always trying to be Green (writing on both sides of a paper instead of two papers, persuading family members to buy Hybrids, wasting less water, etc.) It’s more of a personal choice for me and the Government doesn’t really affect my green decisions. I believe more people should bring it upon themselves to be green, than rely on benefits from the Government, although in certain business situations the Government needs to step in.

    I’m curious who proposed the federal vehicle tax rebate and how it got accepted? It was an excellent benefit for family members but I couldn’t find much about it.

  6. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    I joined the Green Party at a time, three years ago, when I realized that what we could do as individuals wasn’t going to be nearly enough and at a time when none of the parties in Parliament had a remotely adequate plan to deal with global warming.

    While the plans of the NDP and the Liberals have since developed, the crisis has only deepened, with warming now projected to proceed much faster than had been imagined. It is likely that soon after the middle of the century we will have to get off fossil fuels altogether.

    That gives us 40 years to convert all homes and buildings to be heated and cooled by non-fossil means, forty years to eliminate electrical generation from fossils and forty years to create some kind of infrastructure to get people to and from work without fossil inputs. And in those forty years, industry will have to convert to operations without fossil fuels as well.

    Meanwhile, we continue putting up structures that require heating with fossil fuels, we continue to build roads and cars, we continue to allow the cutting of forests, and stack the electrical system against the vitally needed renewables.

    And it has become almost impossible to avoid massive amounts of packaging and the transportation of our essentials over long distances. I can live a very green existence, but my toothpaste is no longer made locally, my parsley is hauled in refrigerated trucks all the way from Mexico and most of my clothes are made in Asia, along with a lot of other durables.

    Efficient local economies are discouraged by lax environmental regulations and the cheap price of fuels.

    A lot of what is necessary doesn’t require a lot of government spending. Governments at all levels need to develop a better regulatory environment so that cars and appliances are more efficient. We need to have a building code that makes sure that homes and buildings are built with a non-fossil future in mind. We need to make manufacturers responsible for their products over their entire lives. We need better standards for resource extraction so that renewable resources are managed in a sustainable way and the damage from non-renewables is limited.

    And above all, we need to make fossil fuels either scarce or expensive, which amounts to the same thing. So we need to restructure the economy a bit by either taxing carbon or restricting its use.

    Some things are going to require government investment, though. We can’t build our own public transportation system. And the costs of retrofitting buildings to a standard which requires no fossil fuels would be far too much for the average homeowner.

    For your question about the federal vehicle tax rebate, I’m not sure how to answer it. There is an existing EcoAuto programme which encourages the purchase of hybrid and other ultra efficient vehicles. The programme ends at the end of the year. I’m not sure if it will be renewed. I’m also not sure how it benefits family members. Only the owner can make the claim for the purchase.

    Vehicle tax rebates have dubious value in fighting climate change, as they can be an expensive and perverse incentive for new vehicle purchases when what we really need to do is get cars off the road. I would prefer simply mandating much higher vehicle efficiency standards. It’s quite possible with current technology to have vehicles much more efficient than the current hybrids. And the government money saved can be directed to needed investments.

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