Political Cooperation

Greens favour a cooperative strategy in the next federal election.  We need to move away from First Past the Post (FPTP), to a voting system that will ensure every vote counts and that the popular vote will be reflected in the proportion of seats held by each party in the House of Commons.  And while we are discussing the impact of FPTP, it is clear we need some form of cooperation between the New Democrats, Liberals and Greens to avoid another term of Stephen Harper’s agenda. 

Even as strong a New Democrat as Murray Dobbin is now pointing out that the NDP fixation on destroying the Liberal Party is responsible for the 7 year (and counting) reign of Stephen Harper.  

It is clear that, at least for the moment, efforts at cooperation are being thwarted by the NDP and by most of the Liberal leadership candidates.  It needs to be mentioned in this context that BC MP Joyce Murray stands out as the exception to all the rules.   As a contender for Liberal leader, she is advocating many of the same things that I have been doing as leader of the Greens.  She is calling for cooperation and for the end of the FPTP voting system.

Nathan Cullen called for cooperation in his bid to lead the New Democrats.  Many Greens temporarily left the GPC and joined the NDP in order to support his candidacy.  Some Greens have asked for advice, and all I can say is that we need our supporters to remain active in the Green Party. 

As leader of the Green Party of Canada, I am not going to endorse candidates for leadership in other parties.  As an MP, I know and work well with Joyce, as well as with fellow MPs Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau, and I regard all three of them with respect and affection.  

Nevertheless, it is pretty obvious that Joyce Murray doing well in the leadership race should advance the shared goals and objectives held by Greens, by NDPers who supported Nathan and by many across a political, progressive spectrum. 

In that spirit, I want to publicly salute Joyce Murray for charting a difficult course, displaying political courage and integrity.  Let’s hope the goals of cooperation and electoral reform gain ground through her efforts.  


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Mobilizing Non partisan Public Interest Co-operation

I am glad that Elizabeth is taking a realistic approach to political consensus building. I was very impressed when a public health nurse in Kelowna attempted to get a website called Heart2Heart4All mobilized a couple of years ago that envisioned a group of citizens from each party establishing an on-going citizens' group in each constituency.  This would take a non-partisan approach to educating  elected representatives on what social development policy consists of and to hold the representatives to some objective standards of what must be regarded as essential policies if Canadians are to have a responsible vision on social policy. Shan Lavell has expressed interest in getting this project in gear, and I would be interested in speaking with any Green member who  has an interest in creating  more formalized and networked action toward political understanding on social policy that may be effective. 

Alan Blanes


Ph 250-860-7719

FPTP replacement...

Ms. May, as I see it, the biggest thorn in the side of electoral reform is that its replacement remains fuzzy and there is certainly no consensus on anything.

My observations are as follows:

(1) Any party that sees a majority in its grasp suddenly forgets about electoral reform and then never looks back.

(2) People don't understand why electoral reform is needed, nor do they understand what other options exist.

(3) The only way to avoid (1) is for the effort to be a very broadly based grassroots effort that transcends party ties.

The way any other group of disparate parties gets things done is by forming a proper lobby group that has permanence, and in this case can exist outside the confines of political parties.  It is time that those who are truly knowledgeable about electoral reform seek this pursuit.  It is necessary to determine not only what are the best ideas for electoral reform, but to maintain objectively neutral in the face of what people truly want.  Political parties are notoriously bad at adapting in the face of a changing mood.  Compound the situation with the obvious need to pass this via coalition, and it is obvious why electoral reform never happens.

Hard to change

Hard to get a change even though one would think any Liberal or NDP with 1/2 a brain would jump at it.  Odds are if any type of proportional system is in place then the Liberals and NDP would battle it out for who gets to lead while the 2nd place party between them gets to put pressure on to get certain projects done.  The Conservatives won't see 50%+1 overall anytime soon and it has proven hard for the Liberals or NDP to prop them up long term.  Worst case is the 2005-2011 situation where one or the other isn't ready for an election thus props up the CPC.  But often it would be a case of one or the other being in power. 

Sadly, the dream of 100% of the power takes over thus FPTP keeps kicking.

John Northey