Rise and fall of the Green movement

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Lens Solution
Rise and fall of the Green movement

 

Despite being a formal party for well over a decade, the Greens remain on the fringes of politics in Canada. They have failed to elect a single candidate anywhere in this country and don’t even come close in most ridings.

Worse, for all their tough talk about an electoral breakthrough, the Greens could easily see a decline — not an increase — in their popular vote after several elections of tiny gains. Indeed, desperation appears to be setting in for the Greens.

 

 

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/951455--hepburn-...

Merowe

bullshit.

Life, the unive...

Well first off the Greens have been a formal party for well over TWO decades so the Star got their facts wrong.   Also I have to think this article is more about Liberal defense than anything else.  

I do think the Green takeover by conservative market will fix all types has had a negative impact as many progressive Greens are/have drifted away under Harris and May.   And before Greens here attack me I helped found your party so I have a wee bit of an understanding on where the Greens came from and where they have gone.

KenS

What specifically do you think is bullshit?

I think the article is a piece of fluff. But there is a lot of evidence that the most likely direction for the GPC in the election is to lower vote share.

I dont know if I would call them desperate. Massively ineffective on the national stage though.

And I think he's right: those ads were clever, but they will be completely lost since there is no national campaign.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

They've been saying this stuff for years! It just proves they're worried.

KenS

I am SO worried.

And I'll bet all the reporters are quivering in their boots over the pending earthquake.

Sean in Ottawa

A little early for the obits I think.

The Green Party has certainly felt a setback but fall-- not so much.

And you can't fall up...

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

 

They've been saying this stuff for years! It just proves they're worried.

 

What's the nightmare scenario here? The Greens get 7% this time around? Or a whopping 8? Elizabeth May gets a single seat, just like an independent?

 

Ya, everyone get ready to be rolled over by the Green Juggernaut. LOL!!

 

KenS

There wont be any reason for obits even if they do drop significantly and eMe rides off into the setting sun after flaming out.

Sean in Ottawa

Good perspective Stock!

Stockholm

Let's get our terminology straight. There is the green "movement" and there is the Green "Party". One is moribund, the other is very much alive. The green "movement" (at least in the North American/European context) refers to the entire environmental movement and organizations such as Greenpeace and the WWF etc..The vast majority of people involved in the movement regard the "Green Party" as being at best a silly quixotic distraction and at worst a bunch of imposters and egomaniacs who have tried to appropriate and exploit the "green" name for their own selfish purposes. As a result you will find wayyyy more people from the green "movement" in the NDP and even in the Liberal party than you will in the Green Party.

In any case, these days "green" is not all associated with positive brand equity. Green is also the colour of the flag of the Gadhafi dictatorship in Libya. His is the "Green Revolution".I remember years ago reading an interview by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci with Gadhafi (she incidentally described him as being so utterly stupid that she said he had the brains of a chicken!). She happened to be taking noted with a green pen - when Gadhafi saw that he exitedly pointed to her pen like a 5 year old child and started jumping up and down yelling "green! Green! Green!" ...that tells you something about the mindset of people who support the Green Party (as opposed to the movement). In the same interview Gadhafi suddenly started repeated literally 50 times "I am the gospel. I am the gospel. Iam the gospel. I am the gospel etc.... etc...etc..."

ottawaobserver

Remember that the columnist is the same one who so incompetently railed at everyone else to drop out of the race against Rob Ford, and thereby elected him.

Aristotleded24

The other thing is that the Greens have never elected anyone in a first-past-the-post system. Just look at Australia, which (until last go around) only had Green legislators represented in the Senate.

Stockholm

BTW: Its worth noting that two weeks ago the Green Party was wiped out in Ireland and lost all its seats. They also lost all their seats in elections in Estonia a few days ago and despite having elected an MP in the UK last year - I see no momentum at all for the Greens in the UK with them mired in seventh place behind the UK Independence Party and the British national party and sundry other fringe parties.

George Victor

Yes, we'll have to experience more severe effects of changing climate to overcome the hubris of a conservative/frightened electorate of consumers/taxpayers and the odd ( make that occasional) citizen. That was the case in the early 70s celebrating a newly-hatched Earth Day, and it continues to hold.

Stockholm

If I were a big environmental activist - I would run like crazy away from letting people see support for the dilettantes in the Green Party as a gauge of the level of support for "environmentalism". Given that the NDP has better "green policies" than the so-called green party does - why tie yourself to a toxic brand. Do you really want to have pundits conclude that the 96% of people who vote for parties other than Elizabeth May's vanity party - are indifferent to gloobal warming???

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
despite having elected an MP in the UK last year - I see no momentum at all for the Greens in the UK

Ah, I stand corrected.

Snert Snert's picture

Just think: if Elizabeth May manages to get herself a seat in the House, she'll have spent many years, three elections, the sweat and tears of hundreds of volunteers, and millions of dollars to equal what Chuck Cadman was evidently able to do with no party behind him, no huge donors, no national team of volunteers and no whining.

Sean in Ottawa

Sorry Snert but I think we should point to the flaw in your logic. Cadman was elected for Reform then Alliance and then in his third election stood as an Independent.

Defending a seat as an Independent after having already been elected with all the power of a party is a lot different from getting elected in the first place.

Still the rest of your point is well made.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I know a number of people who support the Green Party as a party for people on the outside who care about the planet first and foremost.  I respect them for their views in the same way I respect people who support the communist candidates (what few there are anymore).  Electoral politics is not always about winning, it is also putting ideas out and using the electoral process as an educational vehicle.

So yes the Green party is going to fall flat in its reach for political representation, but I won't begrudge them their place in elections (even if one time in 1,000 races their votes negatively affect the progressive candidate).

Lens Solution

The increase in the Green vote probably did take away votes from the NDP and Liberals in 2008.  There were certain NDP and Liberal held ridings where the Green vote went up and the NDP and Liberal vote went down.  Trinity-Spadina is an example.

If the Green vote goes down in this election, it will probably help the NDP and the Liberals and hurt the Conservatives.

George Victor

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Sorry Snert but I think we should point to the flaw in your logic. Cadman was elected for Reform then Alliance and then in his third election stood as an Independent.

Defending a seat as an Independent after having already been elected with all the power of a party is a lot different from getting elected in the first place.

Still the rest of your point is well made.

Gosh, I never did have a chance to hear Chuck expounding on environmental crises.  Perhaps he didn't?

Lens Solution

I guess André Arthur would be a proper example of an Independent - he was elected on just his own name and not as a member of a party as Cadman originally was.

Brian White

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Good perspective Stock!

So I guess you guys know that green has special significance for all muslims?     Not just the dictators.

Sean in Ottawa

Brian my point was that there is a wider perspective than the Green party within the "Green movement"

I wasn't specifically addressing the Green flag of Libya--

Muslims were of course the original Greens but that has nothing to do with the environment.

...since it was unrelated to the environment, Green party etc. I figured there was no sense going there. But yes indeed, Green has nothing to do with politics in that sense. It was Muhammad's colour.

Sean in Ottawa

George Victor wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Sorry Snert but I think we should point to the flaw in your logic. Cadman was elected for Reform then Alliance and then in his third election stood as an Independent.

Defending a seat as an Independent after having already been elected with all the power of a party is a lot different from getting elected in the first place.

Still the rest of your point is well made.

Gosh, I never did have a chance to hear Chuck expounding on environmental crises.  Perhaps he didn't?

It had nothing to do with the topic-- the achievement was winning an election to the House for the first time without the support of a major party-- Cadman did not do that. As has been pointed out Arthur did it -- being supported by talk radio I guess has its advantages...

Point is fair by now, May should have been able to pick a winnable seat and then win it...

Skinny Dipper

If I remember an Environics poll during the 2008 election campaign, the new Green supporters came from the following: 20% Conservative, 40% Liberal, and 40% NDP.  This is approximate.

Skinny Dipper

The problem for Elizabeth May and the Green Party will be to shape the narrative of the federal campaign.  During the last election, there was strong focus on the environment.  This helped the Green Party somewhat.  In the next election campaign, there may be a strong economic focus with the environment taking second or third place in terms of importance of issues.  How will the Green Party be able to shape the national election agenda if voters and the media do not consider the environment to be the most important issue?  Will people care if Elizabeth May is not invited to a debate?  Will there be a televised debate?

Lens Solution

I assume there will definitely be a televised debate.  There's one in every federal election.  The question is whether May will be allowed in.

I think the environment will probably be close to the bottom in terms of major issues.  The main debates will be about the economy and jobs and democratic accountability, and perhaps some on health care.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Lens Solution wrote:

The increase in the Green vote probably did take away votes from the NDP and Liberals in 2008.  There were certain NDP and Liberal held ridings where the Green vote went up and the NDP and Liberal vote went down.  Trinity-Spadina is an example.

If the Green vote goes down in this election, it will probably help the NDP and the Liberals and hurt the Conservatives.

Yes but how many result were really affected.  Especially when as noted above the Green votes come from a variety of sources.  In different proportions admittedly but even taking that into account the Greens have probably cost progressives about as many seats as they in turn won.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

KenS wrote:

I am SO worried.

And I'll bet all the reporters are quivering in their boots over the pending earthquake.

 

I wasn't talking about you. However, you do seem to be curiously attracted to any and all threads about the Greens on the net - There must be a solid reason for that.

 

Snert wrote:
Quote:
They've been saying this stuff for years! It just proves they're worried.
What's the nightmare scenario here? The Greens get 7% this time around? Or a whopping 8? Elizabeth May gets a single seat, just like an independent? Ya, everyone get ready to be rolled over by the Green Juggernaut. LOL!!

I wasn't claiming there was going to be a Green Juggernaut around the corner (However, movement can happen when people are disgusted enough with politics as usual and are given a good enough reason to vote for something, as can be seen with the doubling of the Greens support in Germany in the past year), but the Liberals are worried about the Greens given how little support they have right now and that they're probably easier prey for them than the Ndp. i.e. They're worried about losing their seats, not what the Greens could gain. 

As for the Greens imminent demise, it's not like Climate Change is going away anytime soon, young people in general support them heavily, and I haven't seen any evidence that people are coming to the conclusion that the SocialDemocratic ideas as espoused by the NDP are seen widely as being an adequate enough response towards dealing with the Crisis. 

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Pogo wrote:

Lens Solution wrote:

The increase in the Green vote probably did take away votes from the NDP and Liberals in 2008.  There were certain NDP and Liberal held ridings where the Green vote went up and the NDP and Liberal vote went down.  Trinity-Spadina is an example.

If the Green vote goes down in this election, it will probably help the NDP and the Liberals and hurt the Conservatives.

Yes but how many result were really affected.  Especially when as noted above the Green votes come from a variety of sources.  In different proportions admittedly but even taking that into account the Greens have probably cost progressives about as many seats as they in turn won.

So maybe the Ndp should do something about that, besides dissing them, eh?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I wish the GPC would just go away, becuase it's unlikely they will ever elect anyone, and therefore their votes are just being wasted - right? Undecided

George Victor

Their primary pitch in the early days was that rising prices for energy would in effect bring about the lowering of emissions, etc.  It was to be a market-based solution to climate change...completely in line with the thinking of the libertarian leadership of the greens under Harris. Which only demonstrates the gullibility of  folks who desperately want to effect change - maybe for their kids sake - without considering the effect on people not in their earlning category.

Hard to say how they distinguish themselves from progressive wings of other parties at the moment. There certanly isn't anything out there in the MSM that I've seen (in print).

Lens Solution

So will Elizabeth May be allowed into the debates?  What's the most likely outcome?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, certainly - she will argue that under a fairer vote system, her party would already have several seats - if having a seat is the criterion.

KenS

Interested Observer wrote:

KenS wrote:

I am SO worried.

And I'll bet all the reporters are quivering in their boots over the pending earthquake.

 

I wasn't talking about you. However, you do seem to be curiously attracted to any and all threads about the Greens on the net - There must be a solid reason for that.

 

 

Bottom line: its a dumb hobby. I describe myself to Greens as the nosy neighbour fascinated by your affairs. I certainly dont do it because its useful.

That said, I generally only participate where I have something to contribute- which was mostly on contributing my experience in party financing to ferret out the games played by the [changing] crowd around eMe. None of that stuff is news any more. And when there were discussions to be around- which there aren't anymore- I might comment on communications issues. Again, something where I have experience. And occassionly, as I do around here, responding to peoples comments about whet the other parties are doing. I dont comment on policy issues or anything like that. I'm a junkie about how parties run themselves. And I empathised with the position the GPC disidents were in, and have met some of them. If I was calculating what would be best for the interests of the NDP I never would have said a word.

 

KenS

Gloating over the troubles of competitors- which I would never do as a guest at GPC sites of course even though plenty of people know I would be thinking it- is not admirable. But I dont know why you and others seem to think it is a sign of feeling threatened.

Lens Solution

Boom Boom wrote:

Yes, certainly - she will argue that under a fairer vote system, her party would already have several seats - if having a seat is the criterion.

Last time she argued that because she temporarily had a Green seat when another MP decided to become Green, she should be allowed into the debates.  This time around the Greens don't seem to have been able to get anyone to become a Green MP, so should she still be allowed in?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think if we believe in a fair voting mechanism, we should support her in being in the debates, because the GPC would have seats if we had a fair voting system in place. I think any party trying to exclude her is going to look small.

Lens Solution

The debates are already complicated enough with 4 leaders.  I think 5 is too many.

And where do you draw the line?  Should a 6th party be allowed in?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Who makes the final decision for the debates - the networks? 

 

ETA: is there a sixth party running candidates in every region of the country?

Lens Solution

It appears to be the networks in consultation with the leaders.

Sean in Ottawa

I agree with BB here-- May should be welcome in the debate.

Sean in Ottawa

I'll clarify-- the reason is because it is the right thing to do-- the Greens are weak right now but they are a national party with a distinct platform and they run enough candidates, have had millions of votes and are contenders for seats (even if they have never won before they are at least a choice considered by many). Their profile and achievement is, even with the lack of success in seats, closer to the major parties than the real fringe parties. Canadians watching the debates have a right to hear from them. The format needs to be adjusted to make that work -- you bend the format of the show to the reality of the spectrum of choice not the other way around.

As a New Democrat I'd like the NDP to be the first to say this of all the other parties this time-- we should show leadership on this end of democratic principles and fight May and her party on policies and principles not by unfair advantage and exclusion.

Doing the right thing is a good habit and I refuse to consider this kind of point through the lines of electoral advantage-- if you care about the process then you consider that first. And frankly if the process were fairer both parties would be better off.

Lens Solution

Canada's debates are already more complicated than those in many other countries because they have multiple party leaders AND take place in two languages.

Adding a non-elected party to the debates is something that should only occur after serious thought.

Sean in Ottawa

The purpose of the debates is for people to consider their options. A party that has routinely polled as the first choice for more than 1 voter in 20 over a period of several years now seems to be at least a contender for consideration -- and that is the purpose of the debate.

I think only serious contenders for votes should be in -- I think the Greens qualify. In the FPTP system they may not get seats but they are certainly considered by enough to make it worth hearing from them.

I don't see any flood as there is no party even close to them after them.

They invest heavily run a national campaign, advertise, participate in campaigns across the country.

I don't have to like them to see they are a legitimate contender for votes.

Even though I am not a potential Green supporter I want to see what they have to say and their positions in the debates and in answer to the questions.

Life, the unive...

Interested Observer wrote:

KenS wrote:

I am SO worried.

And I'll bet all the reporters are quivering in their boots over the pending earthquake.

 

I wasn't talking about you. However, you do seem to be curiously attracted to any and all threads about the Greens on the net - There must be a solid reason for that.

 

Snert wrote:
Quote:
They've been saying this stuff for years! It just proves they're worried.
What's the nightmare scenario here? The Greens get 7% this time around? Or a whopping 8? Elizabeth May gets a single seat, just like an independent? Ya, everyone get ready to be rolled over by the Green Juggernaut. LOL!!

I wasn't claiming there was going to be a Green Juggernaut around the corner (However, movement can happen when people are disgusted enough with politics as usual and are given a good enough reason to vote for something, as can be seen with the doubling of the Greens support in Germany in the past year), but the Liberals are worried about the Greens given how little support they have right now and that they're probably easier prey for them than the Ndp. i.e. They're worried about losing their seats, not what the Greens could gain. 

As for the Greens imminent demise, it's not like Climate Change is going away anytime soon, young people in general support them heavily, and I haven't seen any evidence that people are coming to the conclusion that the SocialDemocratic ideas as espoused by the NDP are seen widely as being an adequate enough response towards dealing with the Crisis. 

You see this is the silly stuff that made me leave the Greens.  The Green party under May and Harris before her do not espouse solutions that will get anywhere near dealing with any of the problems you mention.  Their market drive, conservative flimflammery is not only not the answer, it is getting in the way of serious people who are proposing real solutions.  There are some good people in the Greens but they are hopelessly lost in a party that doesn't deserve them.

And with respect as someone who was inspired by the German Greens in the 80s after living there, the Canadian Green party is the to German Greens as a pebble is to a mountain.  You can not have intellectual honesty and pretend they share anything other than a name. 

 

On the issue of the debate.   I have to wonder what would happen if pollsters started prompting for the Christian Heritage party?   They run candidates in every province as far as I know.   Have serious candidates in many ridings and might well show better if they were given even a slice of the attention the Greens get undeservedly.   Would we have a bunch of progressive voices clammering to have this voice heard.  Somehow I doubt it.

Lens Solution

I'm just wondering what the bar is in order for a party to be in the debates.  Who determines what the barometer or standard is?  The precedent used to be that you had to have one elected member of Parliament, but that changed in 2008 when May was allowed in without the party having elected an MP.

West Coast Greeny

You know, I've been reading obituaries for the Green Party since I got here. Check my join date.

 

ottawaobserver

Lens Solution wrote:

I'm just wondering what the bar is in order for a party to be in the debates.  Who determines what the barometer or standard is?  The precedent used to be that you had to have one elected member of Parliament, but that changed in 2008 when May was allowed in without the party having elected an MP.

The broadcast consortium has a rule of thumb that the party has to have a seat in parliament. Because they've been taken to court before on this issue, I believe they are unlikely to give up a criterion this easily defined. There was some discussion last time about other possible criteria, but at the end of the day the Greens conceded that point because they had succeeded in getting an MP to cross the floor to them before Parliament adjourned.

Their best prospect at this stage would be Helena Guergis (I don't really believe that, however, just wrote it down to allow the absurdity of the prospect sink in).

May herself says that she fully expects to be included, or else Canadians will raise an uproar. I think she will be disappointed on both counts this time, but I've been wrong before.

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