“The deck is stacked against” Green Party, especially with the platform’s late release, experts say

While the Greens have secured their place in parliament as the country’s fifth political party for the past decade, their future in the political landscape seems to have been marred by struggle and controversy. That could suggest why the party released a platform less than a week before the election.

The Greens secured their first seat in the lower house in 2011 through then-chairwoman Elizabeth May. While their number of seats grew to three in the 2019 elections, May resigned as chairman immediately afterwards. In 2020, Annamie Paul was elected party leader, although the Greens have since been consumed by contestation. The Federal Council, a governing body appointed by party members, attempted to withdraw Paul’s party membership, a matter that has been brought to arbitration and has since been blocked. The dispute is now a matter for the courts and the party has now elected a new Federal Council. In June, MP Jenica Atwin crossed the Liberals over the Greens’ Middle East policy and reduced the party’s number of seats to two.

The internal quarrel seems to go beyond the party’s tension with its leader. The globe and the post received a copy of an internal report by the Greens which found that the party had significant problems with racism and transphobia and that the organization had not effectively resolved the problem.

It remains to be seen how the challenges within the climate change-focused Greens will affect the upcoming elections.

The Greens’ climate change policy is strong, but they have left no mark

Gerald Baier, associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, says the Greens are contenders when it comes to policies specifically related to climate change, though it doesn’t look like a breakthrough will happen if the Canadians break out Polls on September 20th.

“You have been involved in climate change issues for a long time, and these have a more prominent place in the elections than in the past,” he says. “The Greens are jointly responsible for ensuring that this is promoted. The question is whether the party has served its purpose in addressing these issues or whether they will have a real place in the House of Commons in the future. “

Cara Camcastle, a lecturer in the Political Science Department at Simon Fraser University, says the Greens won the election.

“The Greens who were elected in BC have been elected several times,” she says. “Elizabeth May is well known in her community … she and Paul Manly are experts in criticizing the government and speaking out on climate change issues, which is a top priority for Canadians.”

But Baier says if a party leader has lost the trust of candidates and campaigners, it can drain the energy of what they can do locally to win seats.

“It has been successful in finding mounts like Elizabeth Mays riding that they have a good chance of,” says Baier.

The deck is stacked against them so they must play the game that is dealt them. So that means finding a way and hoping to build on that dynamic in the future.Gerald Baier, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia

What do the Greens stand for?

Less than a week before the election, the party released a platform the core of which is focused on aggressively reducing greenhouse gases to “net zero” by 2050 – something no other party has promised – and removing pipelines.

During her campaign in August, chairwoman Annamie Paul said one was coming, but that the party’s environmental policy was the same as it outlined earlier in 2019. She also urged Canadians to resort to online research if they wanted to learn more about the Greens’ climate change policy.

Under the heading “Our Vision” on the website of the Greens, the party promises to “take sensible measures to avoid a climate catastrophe”.

Some important points are:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030 and to zero by 2050

  • End all fossil fuel industry subsidies

  • Lead a movement to end fossil fuels, starting with the federal government

  • Coal-based power generation will be phased out quickly and transition to a prosperous decarbonised economy

  • Invest in a Canadian grid strategy to deliver 100 percent renewable electricity across Canada

The Greens have also vowed to abolish the electoral system from the beginning, to develop and protect the health system, and to combat homelessness. They have pledged to work with other parties to tackle unmanageable housing costs by declaring a national housing emergency.

The party has also promised to create a guaranteed basic income and work to build at least 300,000 affordable homes over the next decade.

About Gloria Skelton

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