After a grueling last few months in parliament, the House has risen for the summer. Our fabulous new Green MP Paul Manly hit the ground running and the two of us were able to make substantial gains in amending bills and raising key issues.
As much as I find the hyper-partisanship of politics unpleasant in any year, in an election year the nastiness is nastier, the jeers of hecklers more offensive. And in this election year, well before the official campaign, we are off to the races.
So, a bit earlier than usual, I am able to share our new slogan with you. As a party once described by heroic German Green Petra Kelly as the “anti-party party,” we have also pushed back at anyone else’s labels. We are definitely a round peg – holistic, inter-generational and planetary. Our round peg does not fit well in the old 19th Century square hole of “left-wing” or “right-wing.”
The real divide of the 21st Century is not of left versus right, but insiders (the one percent) versus the rest of us. We are assaulted by the mindless chanting of demagogues, wrongly described as “populists.” We know that fear-based campaigning and propaganda blaming “the other” – no matter how described – cynically divide us just when we need to come together. Politics of exclusion and division threaten the heart of our democracy. And those who preach inclusion, only to break their word, feed the very beast they claim to denounce.
At the heart of our new slogan is the banner under which we campaigned in 2015: For a Canada that works. Together. To face the threats to a healthy democracy, to a healthy biosphere and to a society grounded in equity and justice – with Indigenous peoples – we must do it together. So (drum roll please), we launch the 2019 slogan: "Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together."
We are a party that embraces social justice as a core value – in that sense we are “left.” We are also a party that believes we must live within our means, ecologically and economically – in that sense we are “right.”
Truth is that these labels are wholly irrelevant for the task that faces us. We need to persuade a disillusioned electorate that – at least for Greens – ethics matter. We need to communicate our work ethic, our integrity and our deep-rooted commitment to service.
To share those messages, we need to significantly improve our finances. We are now acknowledged as one of four main parties. But even as our polling numbers rise, our bank account trails too far behind the others.
Only Greens can make this pledge to you: We will never put short-term partisan advantage above principle. Our goal is to move forward – together. We must lay out a clear road map to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and do it in a way that advances justice and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, quells the fears of those who worry about their own jobs in the face of a massive transformation of our economy, and do so while improving the quality of life for all – not just in Canada, but around the world.
I hope you will be inspired by "Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together."
We are entering the most important election of our lives. Achieving climate goals will be impossible if the next government fails to start the process of shutting down all fossil fuels. We cannot make the essential 2030 target set by the world’s scientists if we start after the next election. This is our time. This is humanity’s one and only chance. We are ready.