We are all familiar with the major political parties in Canada today. There are the Liberals, who by most standards actually represent the middle of the political spectrum; the ever present and opposing Conservatives; the Bloc Quebecois with their unrelentingly French vote; and the New Democrats with their electorate of die-hard socialists. And then, there’s the Green Party. Every election year, most of us consider them for a split second and then give our vote to someone else. Why is this? Perhaps, it’s a lack of knowledge, a lack of understanding about what the Green Party is all about. During our next federal election, this may change.
Since 1984, the Green Party of Canada has endeavoured to promote its policies of environmental conservation and progressive social planning. Through the years, the party has gained supporters all over the country. In 2004, it proudly had a candidate running in every one of the 308 ridings. It was during that election that the Greens received 4.3 percent of the popular vote and finally had enough support to merit federal funding. A political party requires at least 2 percent of the popular vote to receive this kind of monetary campaign aid.
So now, as we endure the campaigns of all parties in the run-up to the January election, we can also look forward to a new face on the scene. Green leader Jim Harris intends to use those funds in a particularly efficient and effective way. In fact, the Green Party was awarded an efficiency prize by Elections Canada for its resourceful use of campaign money in the 2004 campaign. Greens spent $0.86 per vote they obtained, in stark contrast to the hard-edged crusade of the NDP who spent the most money of all political parties at $5.66 a vote.
Equipped with $1.75 per vote, what can we expect to see from the Greens? It is probably a safe bet that the party would demand inclusion to the Leaders’ Debate, broadcast live on CBC before voters take to the polls. Last year, they were not invited to participate in the televised debate and party members were not impressed. Aside from television coverage, the party would certainly benefit from a full and publicized explanation of its policies and current platform. At the moment, Harris’ party has a very comprehensive and unique approach to its policy development, called a Living Platform. Found on the party’s official website, the Living Platform offers party members and the general public a virtual roundtable to converse about Green ideals and plans. Platform 2005 has already been adopted and will be used as the official policy during this election campaign.
A Green campaign is likely going to contrast sharply with the rhetoric of some of the other parties we know so well. That fact might make for an exciting political battle. Once that overlooked option on our election ballots becomes a real political entity with ideals and goals, perhaps a lot more Canadians will mark their ballots with an X in a new place.
Green Party of Canada – http://www.greenparty.ca/