Friday, March 23, 2012

Will the Green party survive a Mulcair victory?

The federal Dippers choose a new leader on Saturday, and should Thomas Mulcair be chosen, that may very well spell the beginning of the end of the Green Party of Canada as the country’s environmental conscience. Elizabeth May, please take note.

Thomas Mulcair, the Outremont MP, is a former Quebec environment minister who, according to a Nov. 2011 article, has a quotation from David Suzuki on the front page of his calendar in Ottawa: “We are the environment, and the environment is us.”

Mulcair has been pretty consistent in his support of the Kyoto Accord and in his criticism of Alberta’s oil sands, especially of subsidies to that sector. “You have to remove the subsidies, the $1.6-billion [annually] that we were giving to the tar sands,” he is quoted as telling the Georgia Straight.

Doesn’t get much greener than that, does it?

My bet is Mulcair would be very comfortable and effective poaching voters from the Green party, thereby padding the NDP’s base by about three per cent—perhaps even a point or two more.

Surely Green voters would see that a vote for an environmentally friendly party, which is the official opposition and could form the next government, makes more sense than a vote for an environmental party that doesn’t have a chance of ever holding more that a handful of seats in the House of Commons, if that.

With their raison d’être usurped by a Mulcair-led NDP, the Green Party of Canada could be left to wither and die.

© 2012 Russell G. Campbell




  1. I wonder if our esteemed representative from Saanich/Gulf and Papua New Guinea will jump over to a more environmentally centered NDP. New Guinea's loss is our gain I guess!

    1. You make a good point, Lorne.

      If the is a serious unite-the-left movement, I bet Ms. May will join it.

    2. Lizzie May will jump on the first bus that leads to a senate seat, even if it is being driven by a closet separatist.

  2. As an active member of the Green Party of Canada, I too have been giving a lot of thought about what a Mulcair victory means for my Party. And I've landed on the notion that I'm not particularly concerned. The NDP have always offered what have been perceived as being by the mainstream as "strong environmental credentials", and certainly Mulcair brings some of that to the table. However, Mulcair has put himself in a straight-jacket of his own making on the issue of carbon pricing, by slavishly adhering to the NDP's unworkable and expensive Cap & Trade policy.

    And in part, he's already lost one MP over Cap & Trade intransigence, with Bruce Hyer leaving the party earlier this week.

    As Mulcair takes the NDP toward the centre and offers up more populist pap, what he will actually do is create additional room for the Green Party to prove itself as the only champion of the environment with a complete suite of workable policies, including an appropriate, realistic and timely means of addressing the climate crisis, which will be good for the business community. With May expected to be in the televised leaders debates (as every precedent points toward her inclusion), she'll be able to make this case directly to the Canadian people. Last time May did that, the GPC's share of the popular vote doubled.

    I expect Mulcair will alienate as many NDP supporters as he attracts, and although they won't all go Green, a good number will. Mulcair will prove to be a gift which keeps on giving to the Green Party, in my opinion.

    -"Sudbury" Steve May (email: