By now you may have heard the news that the Green Party of Canada will not be fielding a candidate for the upcoming Labrador by-election. The story has been swirling around social media all weekend and we wanted to give you - our loyal supporter - a more concrete explanation of the reasons why the Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada has made this call.
As a grassroots party, the governance of the Green Party of Canada is directed by the will of our members from across this great country. During our last convention, our membership expressed overwhelming support for resolutions calling on the party to ensure electoral cooperation is part of our strategy to ensure Green values are upheld in the face of a Harper majority.
The Green Party is committed to open and cooperative politics for the good of all Canadians.
Federal Council has been told firmly by our members to find ways to cooperate with representatives of other federal political parties at the national and riding levels when it is in the broader interest of our party and of our friends and neighbours across Canada. We see that cooperation can lead to new solutions for a fairer and more proportional model for parliamentary representation.
The decision in Labrador support efforts I made on behalf of the party, when I wrote to every progressive MP in the House of Commons in December suggesting Parliamentarians start a conversation about cooperation. Regrettably, the leadership of the NDP and the Liberals have not yet expressed a willingness to discuss the matter.
In the case of the impending Labrador by-election, Federal Council came to the conclusion that standing down made sense. The electoral situation in Labrador is very unsettling, with the call for the by-election potentially rushed given that former MP Peter Penashue may still be found guilty in the Elections Canada investigation of his 2011 campaign. Yet it appears the Prime Minister will aggressively support his re-election.
Given that the Conservatives won by only 79 votes over the Liberals, and the disturbing allegations about election offences, we believe it is in our nation’s best interest to avoid Mr. Penashue’s re-election and lend our support to the Liberals. Had the NDP come in second, we would be throwing our support behind them instead.
The Green Party will continue to press for collaboration in the lead up to the next general election. However, as in the Calgary Centre and Victoria by-elections, we will present Canadians with a strong team of Green Party candidates in 2015, with the goal of a Parliamentary caucus in mind.
Greens do politics differently.
Leader, Green Party of Canada
MP Saanich Gulf Islands