Now is a good time for an NDP-Green Party

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Center-Left Hum...
Now is a good time for an NDP-Green Party

Ignatieff the pro-corporate earth destroyer defends the oil sands vs. National Geograhic documentation, and then the Neo-Liberals start running against the Greens in various ridings. Now is the time for the formation of the NDP-Green alliance. 1) The NDP concedes environmentalism to the Greens and adapts their entire enviro-policy to the letter, May is the exclusive environmental spokesperson. The recent Sierra club rating for the Greens was an A- (vs. a B+ for the NDP). They are not far apart on the issue at all. 2) The Greens concede nearly everything else to the NDP. It would take a few weeks to negotiate, but would create a very prominent 3rd (non-seperatist) party. What exactly is the gigantic obstacle here ? This would be done in Europe or Scandinavia easily, and overstated arguments about supposed vast economic and social policy differences are really more about May's personal (non-policy) statements and the lingering puny minority party wing of Jim Harris fiscal conservatives (but they really aren't conservative, but are instead merely "frugal" or "cautious"). It is the cynical, extremist, dismissive and uncompromising naysayers preventing a center-left national Canadian government, IMO. I really mean this post sincerely and respectfully, even though it might come off as intentionally provocative. I mean no disrespect to the cynics and skeptics - your cynicism and skepticism is fundamentally justified on this rightwing North American continent. But I've seen more progressive things in Europe, moves which allowed underdog coalitions to surprise and rock the world of rightwing dominance.

LeighT

I think it is possible to have a Green - NDP coalition.

a) GP needs it's enviro policy to be linked to solid alternatives on finance or the enviro policy will end up greenwash.

b) NDP needs a coalition partner, and a green one would be ideal with a) 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Oh, Centre-Left Humanitarian. First, welcome to babble.

Second, I need to tell you that this conversation has been talked about a lot in the past, especially after Elizabeth May became leader of the Green Party of Canada. We've also talked about this during the most recent federal election. Check out some of the older threads in the "canadian politics" forum. You should know that these conversations rarely go well. Please hang in there. 

Finally, many of us here don't consider the Greens to be particularly left wing on issues other than the environment (and some claim the Greens stole the NDP's green platform. Or was it the Liberals. I can't keep track.)

Other than those tips I don't have much else to add to the topic. I'll be watching and moderating though.

Again, welcome to babble. 

LeighT

thanks Maysie for your reference to previous conversations.

maybe some key points can be pulled forward, given changes to current conditions  ?

"many of us here don't consider the Greens to be particularly left wing on issues other than the environment"

that's why it's important they work closely with the NDP on '...everything else'.

 

 

Stockholm

Ou're assuming the Greens want anything to do with the NDP in the first place. Many of the odd ducks that are involved in that party will breathlessly tell you that they are NOT leftwing at all and that they hate unions just as much as the next guy! On environmental policy, you practicaly need a microscope to find any difference between the NDP and the greens in the first place. And then there are the massive egos involved. EMay could never be involved in anything she didn't run.

Better to just let the greens turn brown, wither and die and then pick up any flotsam remaining.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Ou're assuming the Greens want anything to do with the NDP in the first place. Many of the odd ducks that are involved in that party will breathlessly tell you that they are NOT leftwing at all and that they hate unions just as much as the next guy! On environmental policy, you practicaly need a microscope to find any difference between the NDP and the greens in the first place. And then there are the massive egos involved. EMay could never be involved in anything she didn't run.

Better to just let the greens turn brown, wither and die and then pick up any flotsam remaining.

You really go out of your way to make the NDP look bad by speaking for them.  I'd be interested in reading about this without the rhetoric.  Overtures should be made and welcomed, not dismissed at first sight.

 

eta:  P.S. - there's no election happening right now.

genstrike

The way I see it, the Greens don't really have a coherent ideology apart from the environment.  And to some extent, that is what they're going for with things like "not left or right but forward".  So there are right wing Greens like Jim Harris and left wing Greens like the Green Party of Manitoba which is significantly left of the NDP on most or all issues.

miles

I know what the Greens would get with the merger. Seats in the House, increased funding adn prominance on the national stage.

 

What does the NDP get?

Stockholm

In reality, a merger between two parties that are of such mis-matched size - would essentially be a takeover. The NDP has 37 MPs, the Greens Zero. The NDP has over 100,000 members and MPPs and organization across Canada. The Greens have a couple of thousand members in the whole country and no organization to speak of. You can call it a "merger", but in practice the NDP would quickly become about 95% of the new party and we would be right back to where we were before the Green party came into existence.

Unionist

miles wrote:

What does the NDP get?

I know the math isn't quite this simple, but the NDP had 18.2% and the Greens had 6.8% of the popular vote last time. Their combined total was 25% - not far behind the Liberals at 26.2%.

Simplistic, I know, but...

 

LeighT

i think the suggestion, miles and Stockholm, was 'coalition' rather than 'merger', but i could be wrong...

Stockholm

It IS simplistic because we know from past "mergers" that 1+1 never equals 2. A lot of people who voted green were Liberals who didn't like Dion, they will happily go back to where they came from now that Dion is out of the picture. Some were Tories who weren't crazy about Harper. Some were people who just wanted to register a protest vote by voting for a "non-party" if there is no green party on the ballot - they would vote Rhino. Then there are NDP voters who might think twice about voting for the "Green Democrats" if they think the party is now full f crackpots like Jim Harris and Elizabeth May!

The only thing the NDP would really gain would be having one less other party to worry about - and if there was no green party the NDP would never have to worry that raising the profile of environmental issues might also help the greens. But these are minor advantages.

Stockholm

"Coalitions" are what are formed by parties with seats in parliament after an election that produces a minority parliament. If the after the next election the NDP is 10 seats short of a majority and the Green Party has 15 seats - by all means lets have an NDP-Green coalition government!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

To those actually interested in disucussion beyond school yard partisan rhetoric ...

Personally, having voted Green in the last election, I oppose a coalition also. For reference material, here is a Toronto Star article: Green Party at a political crossroads

If the NDP is interested in electoral success, I would suggest the Bloc is a much better and more likely coalition partner. That would entail the NDP being able to manage the ensuing and stupid debate over national unity. As an example of the stupidity, I give you Subprime Minister Ignasty: Supporting oilsands a national unity issue

But nevermind the NDP, for now. For the Green Party, it must assess its role and future in Canadian politics. It must decide if it is to be another also-ran within a political system where it will never be anything more than an also-ran, or it it wants to have a genuine and significant impact on Canadian politics and the future.

If it is the former, then it should continue as it has been. It should pretend the environment is not an issue on the left, it should continue to prostitute itself to every elected MP without a home, it should continue to muddy and dilute its message to become palatable to the lowest common denominator. To be truly successful it should promote economy over ecology.

However, if it is the latter, the Green Party should position itself as the political voice of climate and environmental science. It should be prepared to state the dire warnings, now coming from scientists, on the political stage. It should give voice and force to those Canadians seeking a divorce from the destructive forces of globalization and neo-liberal capitalism in favour of building sustainable local and regional economies. It should have as the centre piece to its platform a mandatory 90% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050 without exceptions and it should state a foreign policy focused on supporting those nations with similar goals and decent human rights records.

In other words, the Green Party should seek to become the political voice and conscience of those Canadians and scientists who recognize, clearly, the window of opportunity to preserve a livable world for humans and other species is rapidly closing and requires urgent action.

The last thing Canada needs is yet another just a political party.

 

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

It IS simplistic because we know from past "mergers" that 1+1 never equals 2.

On the other hand, 1+1 might equal 3 - if a combined party looked more likely to achieve power. Like it or not, that's one of the biggest reasons people don't vote for third parties.

Anyway, I think my math is right. Let's test it.

From 1993 (the first election where Reform ran) to 2008, in every single election - except one, in 2004 - the PC vote plus the Reform (Canadian Alliance) vote was always around 37% - [b][i]more or less the same as the merged CPC vote in 2006 and 2008[/i][/b]

But under your logic, Stockholm, the merger should have scared off both hardened rightists and red Tories, creating a mass exodus. Never happened.

George Victor

FM:

"But nevermind the NDP, for now. For the Green Party, it must assess its role and future in Canadian politics. It must decide if it is to be another also-ran within a political system where it will never be anything more than an also-ran, or it it wants to have a genuine and significant impact on Canadian politics and the future."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

And here I thought that the Green Party's most urgent consideration was what to tell its members who looked forward to living off the proceeds of green corporations after seeing a carbon tax lay low all the market bad guys... Or am I imagining that they were depending on the market just a weensie bit much?

 

And was that only the Jim Harris libertarian section, anyway?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Don't get started on me here George as you know yourself the NDP is a market party. What I am arguing is that the Greens, and perhaps you too, stop focusing on the past and look to the future. I am suggesting they re-invent themselves as a party that might actually have relevence in Canada's political discourse and in its future as a nation on a planet under threat from ourselves. If they wish to be a lesser Liberal party they have no future and, besides, the NDP has already laid claim to that particular market niche. Sorry, that was a shot ...

 

genstrike

George Victor wrote:

And here I thought that the Green Party's most urgent consideration was what to tell its members who looked forward to living off the proceeds of green corporations after seeing a carbon tax lay low all the market bad guys... Or am I imagining that they were depending on the market just a weensie bit much?

And was that only the Jim Harris libertarian section, anyway?

You're right, we need non-market alternative to our ecological problems, but it's not like the NDP's cap-and-trade plan isn't relying on the market.  Cap and trade and carbon tax are both insufficient.

I like FM's suggestions

The way I see it, the best possible outcome would be for the Greens to drop the "not left or right but forward" crap and become a committed ecosocialist party which also focuses heavily on activism.

scarboroughnative

A green ndp alliance? Just what this party needs...more wackos who are out of touch with the center to left center crowd.  green-ndp would be a disaster. their unpublished right wing agenda is also quite scary as are their relatively unknown wild eyed fanatical candidates.

anchovy breather

quite scary as are their relatively unknown wild eyed fanatical candidates.

------

Who had the vetting issues in the last election?

Coyote

Quite apart from anything else, I don't think the Green Party is interested in a merger. I think there's a reason why Green Party members are not members of the NDP, and vice versa.

Unionist

scarboroughnative wrote:

A green ndp alliance? Just what this party needs...more wackos who are out of touch with the center to left center crowd.  green-ndp would be a disaster. their unpublished right wing agenda is also quite scary as are their relatively unknown wild eyed fanatical candidates.

Are you talking about Greens or Dippers?

Your post is deliciously ambiguous.

 

mimeguy

Stockholm wrote:
"Coalitions" are what are formed by parties with seats in parliament after an election that produces a minority parliament. If the after the next election the NDP is 10 seats short of a majority and the Green Party has 15 seats - by all means lets have an NDP-Green coalition government!

Stockholm and I would agree on this.  A coalition government between two independent parties.  That argument is moot until the Greens first elect members AND enough to form that kind of difference.  Any talk on the part of Greens in being part of a coalition government before then is just internal ego boosting.  One Green MP does not make a coalition government by any stretch of the imagination so it wouldn't matter if Elizabeth became the lone MP and became a minister. 

A merger isn't possible because the size difference would require the Greens to fold and simply become the ndp.  I doubt anything would even be affected within the ndp itself.  Most members would leave anyway and drift over to the liberals or conservatives.  They may even start a new party. 

The Greens have a solid platform on other issues other than the environment and it is tiresome to hear the same ridiculous arguments over and over.  I know for a fact that we have a solid foreign policy because I'm one of the ones driving it within and I've read our policy history.  Social justice is also prominent.  If politicians listened to activists and people working on the ground in grassroots organizations you would actually see no real difference between any party.  We don't need to steal anything from new democrats we just have to listen to the same people.  The answers to homelessness and poverty are the same no matter what party you belong to.  It's whether the party cares or not.  The liberals and conservatives don't care.

It is equally tiresome to hear the left/right argument.  The Greens have never said they were left wing.  Only right wing people argue that.  Left wing people argue we're right wing.  Not even the ndp are left wing so what's the point of the argument anyway.  The only party that needs to fade into oblivion is the liberal party.  That would be the most progressive thing to ever happen in Canadian politics except maybe proportional representation. (although PR would probably bring about the same result eventually)  It can happen without a merger.  The Greens just have to get their organizational act together and passionately contest the election without waivering.  It just remains to be seen whether this leadership can achieve that.  They're listening.  Now they have to prove they can act.      

 

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
If politicians listened to activists and people working on the ground in grassroots organizations you would actually see no real difference between any party.
And that includes the Greens as it stands today.

remind remind's picture

"they're listening"? Referring to EMay, as they is a bit royal, eh?!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Stepping over the poorly disguised bait to address Coyote, I agree with you on the first part. And neither they should be. On the second part, I agree but for different reasons. The perspective of the NDP, right or wrong, is that of a centre-left labour party. It is pro-market because its membership, derived from the labour movement, earn their living from market enterprises as well as public enterprises. 

The Green Party, right or wrong, is perceived as single issue eco party. I think they should embrace that.

Not because strategically it is the best thing for the electoral prospects of the party, but because we desperately need an uncompromising advocate for the environment in Canadian (and for that matter global) politics.

We require a party that will actively seek votes based on that uncompromising, and I would say radical, agenda in order to shift political debate toward the environment.

Only the Green Party, because of the public perception, is capable of doing that without creating a whole other party ten years (probably a lot more) behind the necessary curve.

 

mimeguy

Actually remind I meant what I said.  The leadership issues within the Greens go beyond Elizabeth.  But yes, she is listening as well. 

melovesproles

Quote:
The only party that needs to fade into oblivion is the liberal party.

I've come around to that view, I really don't see the point of having two parties for Harper and Iggy, there is very little they disagree on, surely they can get along within one organization.  And Liberal voters do seem to provide the greatest market for growth for the Greens, especially now that Iggy is cancelling the pact and singing the praises of the oil patch, hopefully, the Greens actually start levelling some fire that way.  Other than some nice shots at Harper in the English debate, the Greens have been pretty useless at the Federal level, hopefully we see a less Liberal friendly and more strategically astute party in the future.

mimeguy

I agree.  As a side note I think the debate format has to change in order to expand the debate itself.  Pitting the Prime Minister against all challengers without any real exchange between the opponents themselves was deceptive.  It actually made Harper appear stronger with a four on one offensive.

George Victor

FM:

"Only the Green Party, because of the public perception, is capable of doing that without creating a whole other party ten years (probably a lot more) behind the necessary curve. "

-------------------------------------------------

I'm with you on the urgency curve, FM.

But neither you, nor most of the public, have met Jim Harris or debated with the wingnut crew of techno dreamers who justify their "alternative power" mouthings with Buck Rogerish  creativity.

Correct me if I'm wrong on those speculative points, please.

So, I'm banking on collapse of the market to the point that both NDP and Greens are freed from the speculative market dreams that have screwed up left thinking from Reagan's time....and since unions won large pension concessons and did not give a fiddler's fart about the creativity involved and market dependency.

We all became little speculators, FM. Little capitalists. Let's rebuild public pensons on the ashes of the pile of garbage created for us by the enemy - good, solid old bonds and utilities and food and all the things that the big pension funds are now seeking out. 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

But you see, George, that is my argument too I just need you see to a little beyond your distaste for the GP's market analysis. Let me give you an example. A few years ago, I was at an event and the topic of water was under discussion. A fellow was there from the GP and he argued that corporate executives care about water too because their children drink it. What that told me, George, is that the market proponents really don't understand the market. 

The market is supposed to be efficient, really, at only one thing: the distribution of goods and services. But as Maude Barlow so expertly uncovers, over and over again, in her book, Blue Covenant, the market doesn't distribute goods and serivces where they are most needed (an essential ingredient, I would think, to being labeled efficient), but disproportionately to where there exists a disproportionate surplus of wealth. In other words, the market shifts surpluses to where there already exists surpluses compounding a growing and dangerous social, economic and environmental imbalance.

What we require is a party that will discuss that imbalance, that will argue an alternative vision, and that will point out that the status quo is a model for collapse at every level.  We need a party that will speak the unvarnished truth, George.

A party committed to tailoring its message to the widest possible consumer voters, can't to do that. A party committed to reframing the debate can. And to be relevant, it must be going after votes in order to force the electoral parties to respond to the message.

I submit to you the best vehicle for that is the Green Party. It isn't starting from zero, it already has the perception of a single issue party, and most Canadians have never heard of Jim Harris so it is only the opinions of a few that are soured by history.

I would argue that the GP could become very relevant in the next election if it were to adopt an agenda as being the political voice of the scientific community with regard to climate change, bio-diversity, energy, food, etc ...

That would mean ditching the market ideologues, yes, but that is not unreasonable or impossible. Committed green activists, like many others, will have to come to terms with the critique of capitalism as saviour which, in real terms, is an argumemt for a guilt free status quo. And it is as impossible as it sounds.

George Victor

If they shuck their market dependency and commit to protection of public rights to the foundations of life itself, like water, and develop means by which the people of this country can hope to have a life  after their working days, I'm on board.

But who, to roughly paraphrase Henry (was it the II ?) will rid us of this goddam market priest?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

The young who have everything to lose.

Wilf Day

Center-Left Humanitarian wrote:
This would be done in Europe or Scandinavia easily.

An electoral alliance? Or a coalition? or a merger?

Germany: coalition, since they have proportional representation.

France: electoral alliance, since they have winner-take-all for their National Assembly, with a two-round system. It worked well, giving the Greens four seats, giving the Socialist Party the Green votes in the rest of the country in the second round, and giving the left some unity even though they lost.

Spain: local electoral alliances with farther-left groups, not too productive.

Netherlands: they call it GreenLeft, the Greens plus a small radical group, but Labour and the main farther-left Socialists are separate.

Denmark has something called the Red-Green Alliance or Unity List, but it's actually an electoral alliance of three far-left parties, no Greens as such.

In Sweden the Greens run on their own, but could have been in a coalition cabinet with the social democrats if they had not been opposed to the EU.

In Norway we find a Red-Green coalition, but it's a misleading name: the Green component is the Agrarians. The Green Party failed to get a seat.

 

Center-Left Hum...

Maysie wrote:

Oh, Centre-Left Humanitarian. First, welcome to babble.

Second, I need to tell you that this conversation has been talked about a lot in the past, especially after Elizabeth May became leader of the Green Party of Canada. We've also talked about this during the most recent federal election. Check out some of the older threads in the "canadian politics" forum. You should know that these conversations rarely go well. Please hang in there. 

Finally, many of us here don't consider the Greens to be particularly left wing on issues other than the environment (and some claim the Greens stole the NDP's green platform. Or was it the Liberals. I can't keep track.)

Other than those tips I don't have much else to add to the topic. I'll be watching and moderating though.

Again, welcome to babble. 

Thanks.

She's no ideological socialist, but I had the chance to hear her on a radio show last year and she destroyed the myth that she's a capitalist. She praised the Scandinavian model, and the Irish model. Apparently, Ireland had the biggest economic turnaround in the last 10 years due to high unionization, universal health care, universal education and fiscally efficient expenditures. She emphasized the fact that she and the Greens have been fighting for a guaranteed minimum monthly (or yearly) wage as an inalienable right for all citizens.

I'd say she is certainly left-flexible.

Center-Left Hum...

Wilf Day wrote:

Center-Left Humanitarian wrote:
This would be done in Europe or Scandinavia easily.

An electoral alliance? Or a coalition? or a merger?

Germany: coalition, since they have proportional representation.

France: electoral alliance, since they have winner-take-all for their National Assembly, with a two-round system. It worked well, giving the Greens four seats, giving the Socialist Party the Green votes in the rest of the country in the second round, and giving the left some unity even though they lost.

Spain: local electoral alliances with farther-left groups, not too productive.

Netherlands: they call it GreenLeft, the Greens plus a small radical group, but Labour and the main farther-left Socialists are separate.

Denmark has something called the Red-Green Alliance or Unity List, but it's actually an electoral alliance of three far-left parties, no Greens as such.

In Sweden the Greens run on their own, but could have been in a coalition cabinet with the social democrats if they had not been opposed to the EU.

In Norway we find a Red-Green coalition, but it's a misleading name: the Green component is the Agrarians. The Green Party failed to get a seat.

 

All signify flexible cooperation. And the fact that you list several attempts at multi-party cooperation proves my point... this is commonplace in Europe. It happens once in North America and the media, and the rightwingers go absolutely apeshit crazy.

We are backwards here, on the NA continent. We never think outside the box, and that is why the left is doomed.

Now, you pull off a merger, coalition, or alliance with the Greens, then get David Suzuki to formally endorse it, and you could very well be seeing Jack Layton as PM.

Dare to dream. If the results are repeatedly insufficient, change the strategy and approach. That is, if you really want to see the NDP form a federal government, albeit under "The New Green Democrats", or any other title.

remind remind's picture

Pfft just another thing the GP stole from the NDP.

George Victor

Centre-left :

"We are backwards here, on the NA continent. We never think outside the box, and that is why the left is doomed."

---------------------------------

 The "left" is "doomed" CLH? In NA but not in all of EU?

Does that leave an opening for the centre left? Would they be the ones who have privately embraced the market opportunities offered them by the big apples of Bay and Wall streets? Been sucked in by the promise of the good life after work? Hope not. Even some in the "left left" teetered on that one.

I hope you represent the vanguard - as centre left - of those who don't buy the individual-in-the-market route to a good life just before death.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

What is the centre-left other than the status quo?

George Victor

Now you're goin' Confucian, FM!

It's already confucian enough.

madmax

Why would the NDP want GP debt?  Don't they have enough of their own?

I don't hear NDP voters calling for a merge. I do hear GP members asking for a merger or co operation, but frankly, many people who vote for the GP vote for them, because they wouldn't vote NDP under any circumstances. There is enough of the NDP environmental policies to put the GP on the backburner 19 times out of 20. Infact, the NDP environmental policies actually deal with the environment and not shifting capital around.

 

Which then leaves what could be merged? The Green Party is tied to an economic policy which punishes poor people and does nothing for the environment. Governments like it, because it raises taxes.  And governments want tax revenue to increase. Environmentalists want to see reductions in bad environmental behaviour and these need to be legislated and enforced. Not driven by the "market".

Which then leaves people with "what" could the GP offer the NDP? Not alot really.  The few voters in each riding might result in 20% of commited GP voters choosing to vote NDP, but that might be optimistic. So an extra 40 to 200 votes isn't going to do much in many ridings across Canada.

The GP have no base, and paper candidates. People may vote GP because they like the name. Green is excellent brand marketing. But the Greenwashing leaves alot to be desired.  To vote for the NDP, you don't get the marketing hype or the gift of the name. To vote NDP requires a committment and hard work. It is how they win seats and keep them.

Having followed Babble for sometime now, and discovering that there aren't alot of regular posters, I find it surprising that GP posters (some that I thought were crazy) would appear ..... and then just as quickly disappeared. There are a handful of GP supporters here, who post regularly and are willing to broach topics like this.

But at the end of the day. The GP hasn't done anything to warm over any party.  I think they are boxed into a corner without many options. I think that the Liberal Sales Job on the Green Party Platform has doomed both parties. For the Liberals, you will never see them play with Taxes under the Environmental covers, and you will not see the Green Party with anymore support then we do today. With the economy tanking, and the Liberals moving their focus to Oil and Exports, means that the Environments voice will only be heard through the NDP until the next election cycle.

There is no reason for the NDP to change their name just because the Green Party is without seats, money and options.

I also can't imaging putting the Green Party in charge of the environment, as they caved in on Nuclear Power, before even having one MP elected.  The NDP has not done this federally.  One party is no better then the other on the environment, except that the NDP has a long track record on the environment, where as the Green Party has no track record.  Selling out the environment to be used as a method to create government revenues is further proofs the environment comes 2nd and tax revenues 1st. 

I had a  friend who used to run for the Green Party. He used to get around 500 votes. When He died, so did the Green Party. They get between 1,800 and 3000 votes today, but at the cost of selling out everything he stood for.  What he stood for, might have been alot closer to the NDP, then any other party.

The Green Party appeals to alot of Rich Conservatives. Perhaps the Green Party should use its Conservative Elites to merge with the Conservative party and make it more environmentally friendly. This would complete the process of Bringing the Conservatives to the Centre, while the LPC continues it's hard right turn.  The Conservatives could even absorb the GP debt :)

As for a Coalition? How? The LPC are working with the CPC and the NDP have no dance partners. The GP spent an entire election cycle with the LPC playbook bashing the NDP at every turn. Even undermining one of the ridings in which the NDP came closest to unseating a Conservative MP.

The GP just had their convention or something. 200 people all confirmed the party was going in the right direction with Elizabeth May at the helm.

Isn't that good enough? 

GREENS MORE UNITED THEN EVER 

Quote:
The Green party emerged from its policy convention Sunday united behind Leader Elizabeth May, though some delegates conceded disappointment at failing to make a House of Commons breakthrough in last year's election.

May thanked more than 200 Greens gathered at a waterfront convention centre in Pictou, N.S., for their approval and their endorsement.

"I can honestly tell you I didn't expect that strong and unanimous sense of support and appreciation and even forgiveness for mistakes," an emotional May said in her closing remarks, earning cheers and whistles from the crowd.

I think people are going to have to decide each election cycle on what party they vote for. Be it Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, Or BQ in Quebec. 

I don't see any mergers on the horizons from any of the parties. 

 

ottawaobserver

200 delegates?  That's not even 1 per riding.

Center-Left Hum...

remind wrote:
Pfft just another thing the GP stole from the NDP.

So if May and the Greens don't adopt NDP policy they are evil, and if they do they are evil too.

That's cynical defeatism.

Center-Left Hum...

Madmax, I vote exclusively NDP. I want Jack to ACTUALLY be PM. With the Greens in there picking up votes but no seats, the NDP would do best to swallow them up.

You are wrong when you say that giving the poor a guranteed minimum income punishes them. You are wrong when you say that rich cons vote predominantly vote for the GP - those rich cons want to decrim/legalize pot, tax polluters, expand public transit and give a guaranteed income to the poor ? If so they are not cons.

Again, there is ZERO basis for rejecting a merger with the Greens. The Greens are politically between the NDP and the Libs. Merging would give the NDP 20-30% in the polls, rather than the permanent 14-18%.

And Europe DOES have more left representation in their parliaments than North America. Anyone who thinks that Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands are as far rightwing as North America doesn't have a clue about reality.

The cynical, dismissive attitude here dooms the NDP to being a parliamentary ornament with very little power and no federal governance... EVER. Either the left here is so stagnant and STUPID or it is inundated with rightwing political operatives who have schemed to relegate the NDP to permanent insignificance, helping out a Harper majority.

ottawaobserver

Center-Left Humanitarian wrote:
The Greens are politically between the NDP and the Libs. Merging would give the NDP 20-30% in the polls, rather than the permanent 14-18%.

CLH, I've spent a bit of time examining those numbers on a riding-by-riding basis, and am forming the impression that the Green votes did not *come* from the NDP in most cases of ridings where we're competitive (but rather from the old PCs and from the Liberals over the course of the last 3-4 elections).  However, I thought I saw some opinion research towards the end of the campaign suggesting that when they break (i.e., when they leave the Greens), about 50% of them go NDP.

You can certainly see that in seats the NDP either won for the first time or came close to winning in 2004 and 2006 ... the Green vote dropped rather dramatically, given the chance to actually elect a New Democrat.  2006 examples would include Western Arctic, Victoria, Vancouver Island North, and New Westminster-Coquitlam.

By 2008, the NDP was picking up seats *in spite of* the Green vote increasing in them (probably by this point because the Greens were really drawing on the Liberal vote that did not switch NDP or stay home): examples here include Nickel Belt, Sudbury, Vancouver Kingsway, both Thunder Bay seats, the Algoma seat, Welland and Edmonton Strathcona.

I think because the NDP targets its efforts a lot more ruthlessly, it appears not to be a viable option in a lot of ridings where the Greens have set up shop instead.  But very few of those ridings would really be winnable for the Green Party either, barring flukish circumstances which can always happen.

I would be prepared to consider arguments for or against a merger, but I'm not convinced the current Green Party leadership (nor indeed their prospective replacements) are remotely interested in the concept.  The topic has been raised a few times on their party's public blogs, but does not appear to have any traction in my reading of it.

Lord Palmerston

My reading is the Greens picked up votes from the Liberals more than anyone else (i.e. split the pro-carbon tax vote) and the NDP in some urban ridings esp. in Toronto.  I don't think there was any Tory swing to the Greens.  Maybe some pre-merger PC's are voting Green, but contrary to the claims by some I don't there was any move of Harper voters in '06 going over to the Greens.

janfromthebruce

 I know when I was campaigning in the last election that quite a few "new young voters" said they were voting "green" cause they were for the environment. It was branding of "green" and were unaware that the NDP were the forerunners on the environment. It's these voters I would like to vote for the NDP as they really lacked any political awareness except they care about the environment. So even a name change would widen our brand.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

brookmere

LeighT wrote:
i think the suggestion, miles and Stockholm, was 'coalition' rather than 'merger', but i could be wrong...

You have a coalition when elected members of more than one party form a caucus or government. Since the Greens have no elected members, it's impossible to form a coalition with them.

 If what you're actually talking about is an electoral alliance, when two parties get together and stand aside candidates in favour of each other, well look how well that worked for Stephane Dion. The NDP would have to be absolutely nuts to consider such an alliance with the Greens.

 As Stockholm said, a merger with the Greens would essentially result in them being submerged within the NDP, which is exactly why the Greens would never consider it.

madmax

Center-Left Humanitarian wrote:
You are wrong when you say that giving the poor a guranteed minimum income punishes them.

1) I never suggested that, don't put words in my mouth.

2) The Green Parties tax shifting is a gift to the rich and a curse on the environment, and a burden upon the poor.

3)If you vote exclusively for hte NDP and you want "Jack Layton" to be the Prime Minister, I suggest you join the riding association and put forth a resolution for a GAI.  The idea of a GAI is ancient. Most people cannot tolerate the poor receiving welfare. Many even get angry when disabled and mothers receive a helping hand.  Spreading this money around to the Harpers, Martins, and Corporate Executives, has always been controversial, let alone finding the money.  But we do have other universal programs.

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You are wrong when you say that rich cons vote predominantly vote for the GP - those rich cons want to decrim/legalize pot, tax polluters, expand public transit and give a guaranteed income to the poor ? If so they are not cons.
1) Like many people, voters don't read the fine print. However, the GP riding association in my region is run by former Conservatives who left their party for various reasons. mainly the loss of the Progressive Conservative Party.  Do they care for the GAI? Maybe, maybe not, would they implement it? Heck, a GP candidate promoted clean coal over another GP candidate to the North Promoting Nuclear Power. Who knows.  That said, I know many thousands of Conservative voters who smoke pot and vote Conservative and you aren't going to change their voting intent on a single issue. 

Quote:
  Again, there is ZERO basis for rejecting a merger with the Greens.
You wouldn't get ONE member from the GP riding association in 4 of my surrounding ridings to join the NDP under any circumstances. 
Quote:
Merging would give the NDP 20-30% in the polls, rather than the permanent 14-18%.

 Merging with the GP would give the NDP possibly a percentage point.   In 2006 the NDP candidate Challenged Peter Mckay and gave him the strongest challenge of his political career. This was while the Liberals RAN a candidate. In 2008, the Liberals ran NO candidate and the Leader of teh Green Party, received LESS votes then did the NDP candidate in 2006. 

The GPs just had a convention. If merger didn't come up on the floor, this is a pointless exercise.  

Quote:
 Either the left here is so stagnant and STUPID or it is inundated with rightwing political operatives who have schemed to relegate the NDP to permanent insignificance, helping out a Harper majority.

You say you vote NDP. Do your best to get your friends to, and rebuild all the things the NDP have watched get GUTTED by Consecutive Liberal and Conservative Governments.

Polls are suggesting that the NDP values are becoming more popular since the election. This rarely translates into votes on EDay but it does start turning the ship around.  It was with Strong CCF and NDP MPs in minority parliments that moved the governments to adopt things that many Canadians use cherish and complain about today. But Canadians were behind these initiatives and they became popular in the PCs and LPCs of the day.

The GP votes are not going to change the direction of the LPC or the CPC.  The best way for the NDP to gain support of people who voted for the GP is to earn it.  Like any other party.

 

Sean in Ottawa

The problem with traditional parties other than the Greens is that they all, including the NDP, rely on selling a concept that further growth can lead to social justice even as they tart that idea up with their own colours:

The conservatives of the old spectrum say that individual work can close the gap so that everyone can make more without disturbing the wealth of the better off. Indeed they think you can stimulate the wealth of the bottom by giving more to the top through tax cuts etc.

The centrists believe that they can make real gains for the less fortunate without disturbing the wealth of the richest in society- the idea of additional wealth to close the gap is identical to Conservatives except that the Liberals propose to be a little more active about it rather than relying on the individuals themselves to do it alone.

The traditional leftists try to gain respectability by pretending that they can be like the Liberals in a hurry, that they can get more involved and create even more wealth with only modest increases in taxes on the best off.

The Greens understand that there is a finite amount of resources and capacity in the world for wealth in a sustainable world. Some of them address social inequality by downplaying it and saying well, if the whole world is not sustainable we will all be poor and dead anyway so why care about social inequity, let's focus on the environment. Some actually admit that social justice involves moving some of those finite resources from the wealthy people who have it to those who do not.

Environmental socialists have to bridge both gaps. Essentially they need to admit that we are in a finite world and growth is not an engine that can close the gaps of social injustice. As socialists (unlike other greens who only concern themselves with an ecological sustainable society no matter how unjust it is) they must find other means to close the social inequities. Problem is there are only two: 1) they can find non-material wealth, such as the advancement of non-material cultural wealth such as the arts and 2) they must redistribute the material wealth currently available while admitiing that nothing can replace what is being taken from those who have too much. This is problematic in a society where the vast majority of us have too much-- Seen in a global perspective most Canadians have more material wealth than the planet can support and therefore the platform of the party would essentially threaten most Canadians with being less well-off. Indeed that is the only possible trade-off for a real sustainable future: Canadians all need to learn to live with less material wealth than they currently have- or aspire to have.

 As I say, this might sound bleak but in fact there is technology that can help. Much of us have much of our lives as virtual, on the internet and are therefore in cultural realms that have less to do with physical wealth. (I do not mean fantasy games but entertainment, information etc.)

A society where we travel less, use physical resources less, rely on connection to pure culture and information rather than physical wealth can offer hope because in fact all persons in the world in theory could have this. 

But then again there is still a massive problem: much of the world does not have the essentials of life, clean water, health care etc. So a substantive amount of growth is required to settle these inequalities only making the essential contraction on the part of the overly wealthy more problematic. You can't give people virtual water.

This is a huge change. Some things will have to be very different to address these-- we likely can't afford to have a society where we all live in large mostly empty heated spaces-- our idea of housing must change-- we will have to return to living with extended families in smaller spaces, this is one of the reductions in wealth that will be essential. We can't afford to import some of the lovely fresh food we bring in from thousands of kilometres away and will have to return to the idea of "winter vegetables." We can't travel as much until we find a better way of doing it without fossil fuels. Many things we take for granted have to change. This is the change needed.You can easily be pro-Green at the cost of social justice, or you can be pro-social justice at the cost of the environment but if you want to be enviro-socialist then you have to bridge these gaps in ways that will be painful for the world's elites, a group that includes the vast majority of Canadians. It is a tough sell. But this is what the party would have to be committed to.

Perhaps the NDP cannot go there, in its desire to be electable, or the Greens either for that matter, both parties not wanting to bring the bad news to Canadians that we cannot have BOTH social justice and environmental sustainability without sacrifice and a real reduction in the false wealth most Canadians enjoy at the cost of one or another. Perhaps it is only another new party that can do this. And perhaps this new party could elect some people and try to influence the national debate. However, it will take an understanding and a commitment that you cannot have social equality without environmental sustainability and eventually we will need to address these gaps together in order to have a world to pass on to future generations.

I recognize this is horrible to contemplate as it makes clear the real challenge we face and puts the lie to all those who pretend we can make progress on one or the other piecemeal. But also, this might explain why it has not happened. After all, who doesn't like social justice and the environment? If these things were easy, we would have done it by now.

Unfortunately, I beleive we will have to endure more pain due to having these out of balance before we can get enough people to be willing to put up with the painful changes required to set things right.

Sean in Ottawa

Setting aside my more important discussion above to address the political: If the point is people like the name Green and they want a commitment to sustainability, the NDP does not need a merger or anything from the Green party which is a small enough group.

Instead the NDP could:

1) rename itself to include Green in the name or if this is not allowed - the word environmental

2) review and recast all policies accordingly- most are probably already in line but some need to change

3) produce a clear set of principles that go in the party constitution by which all policies will be tested

Then simply invite the current members and supporters of the Green party to walk on over. You don't need to wait for n impossible and improbable consensus- you can show leadership by acting unilaterally.

That said, this does not change my comment above which is that a commitment to both environmental responsibility and social justice is not an easy or painless one if it is real and sincere and not political posturing.

Put simply the Green party is hardly strong enough to require a merger in order to move on and it does not have any property rights over the concepts of sustainability and proporer environmental practices.

The NDP is there most of the time- it needs to be there all of the time. It needs to swear off eternal growth if it wants to be an ecological party.

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