Sunday, January 11, 2009

Green Shifts

Top Green Party vote-getter defects to the Liberals

When Elizabeth May (reputedly) leaked her own election post-mortem to the press, one of her conclusions was that her popularity with the Canadian electorate was the Green party's greatest asset.

This past week, however, may leave many Greens wondering if they haven't just lost their greatest asset, as Monica Jarabek, the Green candidate who got more votes than any other in the country, decided to leave the party for the (pun intended) greener pastures of the Liberal party.

Jarabek may or may not decide to seek the Liberal nomination in London West for the next federal election.

"I'm keeping an open mind about my role in the next election," Jarabek announced. "I won't rule that out. It would be an honour."

Jarabek's goal as a Liberal is very simple: she wants to attract more Green-minded Canadians to the party. "I'm hoping to transfer more 'green thinkers' to the Liberal party, whether they are from the Green party or not," she said.

She, like Elizabeth May, seems to believe that the Liberal party has come a long way from being the party that failed to implement the Kyoto protocol. "Now I realize we are running out of time on the climate crisis and I see the Liberal party has come a long way as far as green philosophies," she said. "The Liberal party is full of excellent people and it has attracted a lot of 'green thinkers' like [MPs] Glen Pearson and Justin Trudeau and Ruby Dhalla. These are people who I think are leaders of the future and I want to work with them to make that change."

Whether or not the Liberal party has truly changed its course regarding the environment is entirely up for debate.

But the bigger question becomes pretty obvious. The Liberal party ratified the Kyoto protocol then promptly allowed its implementation to languish for years. Elizabeth May is willing to deal so closely with a party that failed to live up to the commitments that it, itself, made regarding cliamte change, then one has to wonder if any practical difference remains between the two parties.

When choosing between a party that failed to implement Kyoto and a party that's willing to overlook that in the name of political convenience, perhaps more Greens would be better off choosing to join the party that actually stands a chance of winning political office.

When Elizabeth May became the leader of the Green Party, she was taking it over when many wondered if it even had a reason to exist. May promised an electoral breakthrough -- something that would have provided it with a reason to exist -- that she subsequently failed to deliver. Now that May has proven that the party is willing to sacrifice its principles vis a vis environmental policy in order to get its leader elected -- or at least appointed to the Senate -- many Green party members may be realizing that there is no reason for the party to continue existing. At least not with its current leadership and its current policies.

The Green party is now being viewed by a majority of Canadians as Liberal lite.

Which is another good reason for the Green party to rid itself of May's permanently-bungled leadership.

If the Green party doesn't divest itself of May's leadership and recover its identity, there will be reason for even more Greens -- maybe even May herself -- to continue leaving for the Liberal party.

Monica Jarabek could be only the most recent of many Green party defections.


  1. Anonymous5:57 AM

    Because many Greens (not all) put the environment before democracy, they see the Liberals as the only solution to implement stronger environmental policies. It's not that the Greens seems themselves as Liberal lites but the Liberals are the only alternative for them (I'd disagree but that's another post).

    As for getting rid of Ms. May, that's not an option. Unlike the other political parties, the Greens do not have a leadership review mechanism. The next opportunity that members can express their opinion (good or bad) on her leadership is at the 2010 leadership race.

    However, it's quite likely that the country will be in another general election before that.

  2. I'd also disagree that the Liberals are the only alternative to the Liberals.

    The NDP is also a pro-Kyoto party. I'm not sure how far you and I would agree that the NDP is an alternative for Green Party supporters, but I'm sure we'd agree on that to an extent.

    I wouldn't count on another election before 2010. I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't count on it either.


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