Are the Greens to the left of the NDP this election?

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Are the Greens to the left of the NDP this election?

I've been debating this, but I feel, after reading the platform of the Greens, it's them. The NDP was, but is no longer.

White Cat White Cat's picture

I read the Green party platform. It's based on neoclassical economics: aka neoliberal economics. Their solution to everything is a tax cut. The Canadian Green party is a strange brew compared to other countries.

This is not to say they don't have progressive policies. They do.

The Guaranteed Income is not one of them. This is a favorite of market fundamentalists. Given market fundies said we had to cut UI benefits and welfare benefits because they were a disincentive to work, they would argue the GI has to be set so low that you would have to work to supplement your income even if you couldn't. So that kind of defeats the purpose. Which is fine with them.

The Keynesian economic system is what people would call progressive and what market fundies hate. It is used by left-leaning social democratic countries and centrist liberal countries — which Canada and the US were before 30 years of free-market reforms destroyed the economy.

Here's an international perspective on the Canadian election, ranking parties on the left/right economic scale: Political Compass

Rev Pesky

Here's a question for the Greens. Is it time for Elizabeth May to resign? She has been the leader of the party for almost ten years now, and the Green Party has gone nowhere in that time. Their percentage of the popular vote was up in 2008, down in 2011. It was apparently down again this election (according to Wikipedia 2011 - 3.91%, 2015- 3.3%). And they lost one of the two seats they had.

I think Elizabeth May sees the Green Party as her own, and I can understand that. She has been the sole source of it's popularity for most of her term as leader. At the same time, the party has stagnated. As popular as May has been, she's been unable to make a dent in the electorate. So maybe it's time for her to resign or perhaps seek a merger with another party. I would suggest the NDP as the best option, but I know many Greens really don't like the NDP. In the Liberal party they would just disappear. The Conservatives...well, now that Harper is gone a new leader there might be more flexible, and the Green Party platform, trimmed of a few items could fit right in. Certainly the Greens last leader, Jim Harris, would have had no problem with that. But yes, most of the membership would be opposed to it (with the memory of Harper still strong).

By the time of the next election Elizabeth May will be at retirement age, facing, in all likelihood, a Liberal party with a leader in the prime of life. You have 2-3 years to think about it, Greens. Think hard. 


After what happened tonite the NDP are quite probably dying but it sounds like you can't wait to put the final nails in their coffin.

Gotta love all this advice for the NDP from people who oppose the NDP.

Rev Pesky wrote:

I would suggest the NDP as the best option,


Hi NR.  I don't think the NDP are dying.  And, I support both the NDP and Greens.

The Greens are just as to the left of the NDP as the Liberals -- which isn't left at all in my opinion.  Yes, parts of the Green party platform are to the left, but that has not been the focus of the Green party nor should it be.  The left and right thing really doesn't mean much from an ecological perspective.  For instance, the Greens were the only party to oppose ALL piplelines -- I don't know where that position puts the Greens on a right-left continuum.

The Greens and NDP can keep squabbling, or create a Left Green alliance.  I think that there are a number of issues that Greens and NDP agree on:  Mixed Member Proportional Representation, killing bill C-51 to name a few.  Are these right-left issues?

Rev Pesky

NorthReport wrote:

After what happened tonite the NDP are quite probably dying but it sounds like you can't wait to put the final nails in their coffin.

Oh, I don't think the NDP is dying. I think they're going to have to rethink the strategy of abandoning left principles in order to win elections. Let's face it, given a choice between a real Liberal and a pretend liberal, the voters will take the real one every time. All the NDP needs for resurrection is a leader with the courage of her, or his, convictions. It was obvious to me, and perhaps to others, that Mulcair was trying to out-liberal the liberals in this campaign. What are Mulcairs dearly held progressive convictions? Who knows.

NorthReport wrote:
...Gotta love all this advice for the NDP from people who oppose the NDP.

If I opppose the NDP I have a funny way of showing it. I voted for Peter Julian, as I have for every election in which I've lived in his riding. I've voted federally and provincially for the NDP for as long as I can remember, which goes back as far as the Dave Barrett NDP goverment in BC. That means every election for the last 43 years. I remember cheering the news of Svend Robinson's upset win in 1979. I volunteered for one of Mike Harcourt's election campaigns.

But I have seen enough to know that electing people is not enough, and I've seen enough elections to know that they are a once in a while way of expressing your politics. And all I've ever seen from the NDP was, 'get us elected first, then we'll change things.' Well, it's not true. If you put all your eggs into the 'get elected' basket, there's precious little left for the 'change things.'

As I've said many times here, and elsewhere, I prefer an NDP government, but I have enough understanding of the politics of bureaucracy to know that you have to keep pressing once they're elected. Otherwise they collaps like a pricked balloon. 

And by the way, Svend Robinson's case is instructive. He had serious left-wing principles and stuck by them, often in the face of vicious attacks from the profit driven media, indeed, even from his own party. He was elected repeatedly from 1979 -2004. In the end it wasn't his principles that overthrew him, but a sad affair of a stolen ring, and subsequent conviction for theft.

So it is possible to get elected, and re-elected while espousing views that are defintely not mainstream. I wish for the day the rest of the party figures that out.

p.s. Sometimes loyalty to the party is not blindly following whither it goes.

Evening Star

White Cat wrote:

I read the Green party platform. It's based on neoclassical economics: aka neoliberal economics. Their solution to everything is a tax cut.

Fwiw, the only 'tax cut' I see in this platform is a mention of "tax breaks to employers for the creation of child care spaces". Otherwise, the tax policy seems similar to the NDP's: raise corporate taxes, close loopholes, go after offshore tax havens.

The Vision Green document that was released earlier in the year seemed to express something fairly different: it does mention cutting income taxes, which I oppose, but at least they wanted to do it by raising the basic exemption, not by cutting the marginal rate for income earned between $49k and $80k (such a terrible policy that I don't know why anyone bought it). It also mentioned cutting 'payroll taxes', again, something I tend to oppose. On economic policy, though, that document also mentioned returning to borrowing from the Bank of Canada; afaik, they seemed to be the only party in the Commons who advocated this.

The Greens' position on the TPP also seemed more clearly critical.

In terms of social programmes, the Greens advocated eliminating tuition fees, which seemed unrealistic to me but certainly not neoliberal policy. Their policy on pharma care was similar to the NDP's. I don't think it is clear-cut that they are a more right-wing party. (I voted for the NDP, to be clear, although it was mainly on the strength of the local candidate this time around.)


The Greens spent the national budget trying to get May reelected and trying to unseat Murray Rankin. I suspect that when people from across the country donated to the Greens in the lead up to the election they would have been shocked to hear a large part of it would be used to unseat one of the strongest voices for the enivronment of any of the MP's.

Actions speak louder than words and the campaign on Vancouver Island this time was misleading and devious. They did better on the Island than anywhere else but in the end they were running on things like no Whipped votes and May somehow being an honest broker for parliament who would resolve all disputes. Of course when you know anything about May's behavour towards the NDP over the last decade that last one was either deliberaltely misleading and laughable or insulting to peoples intelligence.


The Greens are interesting.  Their support is a mix of a protest vote, people alienated by the politics and policies of the major parties, pro-business environmentalists and NDP-light supporters.  I find everyone who votes Green likes the NDP as well, and either sometimes votes NDP or use to vote NDP.  All the polling firms have shown again and again that the NDP is the 2nd choice for most Greens, with typically 50-65% choosing the NDP as their second choice (with the Liberals and Conservatives both around 20%, and not voting for the remaining Green supporters).  


The people who run the party are centrists and Liberal sympathizers.  The people who support the party are basically people who would have strongly supported the NDP if no Green Party existed.