The Green Party is not a ‘sad joke’ — it’s Canada’s most relevant party today
As the other of the “two potential leadership candidates” referenced by the Star’s Bob Hepburn in his July 14 column on the Green Party of Canada, I feel compelled to address some of his comments.
There is no doubt that the Greens face challenges. The party must do better in almost every facet of the political arena — better organization and mobilization, better communications and messaging, and most of all, better engagement with Canadians.
But the Green Party and its core values have never been more relevant. I would argue that the Green Party, and its Global Greens Charter, is the most significant and relevant political party today. You don’t have to look further than recent electoral gains in the UK and Australia to see how this might be true. Don’t just look at the results, look at how the Green Party is reshaping global politics and why voters all over the world have chosen to put their trust in Greens.
According to Mr. Hepburn, “For the Greens, the dream has died. It’s time to close the doors.”
The dream is far from dead. In truth, recent events, such the mishandling of the truck convoy, a failure to control unbridled inflation and a Liberal-NDP alliance that no one voted for, are causing Canadians to awaken to the fact that politics cannot continue as usual. There is an overwhelming dread among citizens regarding their own prospects, with 44 per cent of Canadians believing our country is on the wrong track to a prosperous future, according to a recent Nanos research poll.
There has never been a greater need for a party that is not kept to outside interests. For a party that espouses principles of non-violence and social justice as core to its entire being, not as a campaign talking point to be forgotten even before all the lawn signs are collected.
In the wake of new and never-ending wars, a cost-of-living crisis and an unfolding climate disaster, Canadians are publicly tearing up their memberships to entitled parties — parties that are becoming less and less distinguishable in both their ideology and their lacklustre performance on issues of affordability, quality of life, and caring for everyday citizens and the country’s most vulnerable.
The Greens are far from being a one-issue party, if that issue is the environment. There is no significant event in our lives today that isn’t somehow tied to or affected by climate change. Every event is a climate event. Rising food costs, pandemics and supply chain constraints are all tied to global climate events. Not to mention that almost every armed conflict in the world can be traced back to the extraction of, and ownership over, fossil fuels and mining.
I am an outspoken critic of how the Green Party conducts itself politically because I see its relevance and its potential for improvement. Change is necessary to ensure it does not squander the opportunity that currently exists.
The Green Party is absent from the conversations that matter. Its policies are too complicated; its messaging too high brow and elitist. It must do better, if it intends to reach everyday Canadians that are concerned with putting food on the table and looking for real solutions from elected representatives who understand their needs and concerns.
Before it can ask Canadians to care about the end of the world, the Green Party must show it cares about the end of the month. The party and its spokespeople can do this by connecting every environmental issue and climate-related concern with the issues and concerns that are consistently top of mind for Canadians: health care, cost of living, jobs/economy, housing and education.
Rather than closing doors, the Green Party must realize that they are open wider than ever for a party willing to do the work of winning the hearts and minds of pandemic-weary Canadians already stretched thin.
Najib Jutt is a political adviser and small business owner. He focuses on issues of equity, sustainability and accountability within politics and business. Twitter: @najibjutt
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