The Green Party of Canada (GPC) strives for a democracy in which all citizens have the right to express their views, and are able to directly participate in the political decisions which affect their lives. We place great value on the input of our members into all aspects of our Party, including policy development.
Organizationally, the GPC is a grassroots organization. Decisions directing how the GPC is governed, and what it would do if elected, are decided by the membership. At the 2016 SGM, the members directed the party to examine the process of motion development and to improve it for the 2018 BGM and we are pleased to announce that there are a number of changes in the process to allow the Convention to focus on priority proposals and to more fully involve all the members in decision-making. Therefore, all members are advised to read the Policy Process and the Submission Rules and Drafting Standards.
As well, it is critical for members who wish to participate in the process that they review carefully the Constitution and Bylaws of the GPC. Proposals come in three types:
- Constitutional: A proposal pertaining to either the party's Constitution or Bylaws.
- Directive: A proposal that directs Federal Council to take a specific action in accordance with its mandate.
- Policy: A proposal that articulates what the party will work toward in Parliament. Policy forms the background for the party’s election platforms. That is, election platforms are developed by the leadership of the party in order to prioritize specific policies and apply them to current events.
The procedures for submitting proposals vary for each type. Members should therefore follow carefully the directions provided in the template to ensure that the process is fair and democratic.
The proposals process is composed of four events: Submission of proposals, Online prioritization vote, Convention and the Post-Convention final online vote.
- Submission of proposals: Detailed procedures for submitting proposals are provided on the web form. The Policy Process Committee will be providing support to members in the development of principle-based, research-supported proposals that comply with the party’s Policy Proposal Submission Rules.
- Online prioritization vote: To allow for the participation of all members and to determine which proposals will be discussed at the BGM, all proposals will be part of an online prioritization process conducted using the Bonser method. The opinion of Shadow Cabinet about each proposal will be provided to members as part of the prioritization vote.
- Convention: Proposals that are voted “green” via the Bonser ballot will be recommended for adoption and motions voted “red” will be recommended for rejection. All other motions are “yellow” and thus go to workshop groups for further debate and possible amendment, and then return to a plenary session for a vote to either accept or reject the motion. The motions with the highest percentage of “yellow” votes will take priority in the workshops. Policy Process Committee is responsible for the procedures used at the BGM and these will be provided at a later date.
- Post-Convention Final Deciding Vote: Following the BGM, all proposals will go to the members for a final vote. The results of the BGM vote and the opinion of Shadow Cabinet will be provided to members as part of this final vote.
More on Political Policy Proposals
The "Green Book"
The “Green Book” (Download PDF >>) is the comprehensive compilation of all policies adopted by the Green Party of Canada members. Members should consult this document first before drafting any new proposals to avoid redundancies and inconsistencies. Members who are seeking to revise or rescind any previous passed policy must explicitly reference the proposal title and date.
Note: Members should not seek to make changes to Vision Green as it is a policy communications document (much like a standing Platform) rather than official policy.
The Shadow Cabinet is an alternative cabinet who shadows and provides critical opposition on policy matters to the government’s position. Shadow cabinet members may be in a position to offer you valuable advice during the drafting of a policy proposal. Below, for your information, is the link to the various portfolio Critics.
The policy process begins with the party members. As members come together to discuss the issues of importance within their community they begin to develop policy. The development of policy at the grassroots level is critical to the party's continued renewal.
Members are encouraged to hold policy meetings within their electoral district associations and to discuss policy ideas on the party website at greenparty.ca. Policy meetings in electoral district associations should take whatever form works best in their community. Any activity that brings members together to consider a better Canada is a successful effort!
Policy meetings could take the form of town hall meetings, round tables on specific subjects (e.g. taxation, justice, defence), local online policy forums, membership surveys through newsletters or telephone, etc. When members have decided upon a change needed in the Green Party’s policy, they are ready to begin drafting a policy proposal.
Drafting a Policy Proposal
Policy is a proclamation of the values and principles held collectively by Canadian Greens as applied to specific topics. The policies of the Green Party – in agreement with the Charter of the Global Greens – are founded upon the values of: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy, Non-Violence, Sustainability, and Respect for Diversity. Policies of the Party must be consistent with these values. When drafting your policy, remember that policy is principle based and is not strategy or tactics.
Examples of well written and poor policy statements.
- Well written policy example: Canada should transition from non-renewable to renewable energy systems in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
- Poorly written policy example: Canada should be completely off fossil fuels by 2030 by switching to solar and wind.
- Reasoning - While moving off of fossil fuels is desirable, being overly prescriptive on how will narrow the range of options for our platform and positions. Good policy balances good ideas with practical realities and recognizes that details might change.
Policy Proposal Drafting Checklist
Members should consider the following points when drafting a policy proposal:
Is your proposal a proclamation of the values and principles held collectively by Canadian Greens as applied to specific topics?
Is your proposal dealing with an issue already mentioned in the “Green Book”? If so, does the proposal clearly state how it will rescind or amend the previous policy?
Is your proposal dealing with an issue that is within the jurisdiction of the federal government? All policies relating primarily to matters within provincial or municipal jurisdictions should be submitted to your provincial Green Party. The Green Party of Canada only adopts policy relevant to the federal government. For more information on this, please see: http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/aia/index.asp?lang=eng&page=federal&sub=legis&d...
Is your proposal in keeping with the values and philosophy of the Green Party of Canada?
Is your proposal serving the strategic goals of the Green Party and making the party more likely to win office?
Is your proposal clear and concise with no more than 50 words?
Is your proposal sponsored by at least twenty (20) members in good standing or a unit representing at least twenty (20) members?
Use the directions provided in this template to help you to draft your submission. Click here to access the online form when you are ready to submit.
The ‘submitter’ should be the name of the proposal’s lead sponsor or contact person. A ‘submitter’ constitutes an individual member or a recognized unit of the Party (e.g. an electoral district association). Each individual member is asked to prioritize their own policy ideas before submission and may submit a maximum of one (1) proposal for the BGM.
In 50 words or less, describe the goal or objective that this policy works to achieve.
In 50 words or less, describe why this objective is of benefit.
Which of the following of our six core Principles does it support? (check all that apply)
- Ecological Wisdom
- Participatory Democracy
- Social Justice
- Respect for Diversity
Type of Proposal
Which type of proposal is this? (check one)
Political policy proposal which proclaims what the party would work toward if elected.
Constitutional amendment which seeks to change the constitution or bylaws.
Directive proposal which directs the party’s Federal Council in some way.
In 50 words or less, state your proposal as follows:
- Political policy proposal: Policy is a proclamation of the values and principles held collectively by Canadian Greens as applied to specific topics. When drafting your policy, remember that policy is principle based and is not strategy or tactics. Using broad terms, state the principle which the Party will support and the outcome which it hopes to achieve. This statement is the wording which becomes party policy.
- Constitutional Amendment proposal: The amendment should clearly reference the current constitutional clause and show how the proposal supports and aligns with our principles.
- Directive to Council proposal: The proposed directive should clearly state the action it asks Council to undertake, how that action aligns with our principles and how that action will help council to more effectively carry out its role to fairly represent the membership.
Relation to Existing Policy
Does this proposal: (Check one box)
- Add to current GPC policy
- Rescind and replace an existing policy
- If so, which policy is rescinded.
Please provide evidence the proposal has worked elsewhere or can be expected to be effective. If references are provided give no more than 5 and describe them with a short phrase.
Does this proposal affect any particular group and what efforts have been made to consult with the group or groups?
Is this proposal under federal jurisdiction?
Has the proposal, in its final form been discussed at (check all that apply)
- any EDA?
- if so, please indicate the EDA
- other party meeting?
- if so, please describe the event
Include name and email of sponsors.
Policy and directive proposals must be sponsored by at least twenty (20) party members in good standing or a unit representing at least twenty (20) members. If claiming support of a unit, the name, email, and phone number of the Chair of the meeting in which a decision was taken to support this proposal should be provided with the names and emails of the 20 members who attended the meeting. (Please refer to Bylaw 4.3 for details.)
Constitutional amendments must be sponsored by at least fifteen (15) party members in good standing or a central party unit representing at least fifteen (15) members, or three (3) EDAs.
Bylaw amendments must be sponsored by at least five (5) party members in good standing or a unit representing at least five (5) members.
Constitution and Directive proposals must follow the requirements as laid out in the Constitution and bylaws.
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding Green Party policy and the drafting of Policy proposals, email the Party at email@example.com
For a current list of contact information for the Green Party Shadow Cabinet, see http://www.greenparty.ca/contact/cabinet