With the upcoming October 19th election, the Conservative vote is shrinking. Key Cabinet Ministers are not running again. We do not have to vote out of fear or panic.
We should elect as many Green MPs as possible, knowing our best defence against the risk of Harper forming government in a minority parliament is a Green caucus more committed to Canada than to our own party – willing to reach out across party lines to ensure that our government reflect the needs of the majority of Canadians.
On every poll, it appears a near certainty that the election will produce a minority parliament. In such a parliament, Elizabeth May believes that Tom Mulcair will be far more welcoming to her efforts at cooperation. Working together, we can take a two year minority parliament to a four year, more stable parliament with a chance to fix all the things Harper has broken, while embarking on a serious job creation effort across Canada through effective and aggressive climate action.
British Columbians will want a lot of Green MPs working with either Trudeau or Mulcair to make sure we are not forced to accept Kinder Morgan and increased bitumen-diluent tanker volumes on our coast.
Liberals favour Keystone, Energy East and Kinder Morgan. Mulcair has said he is “bullish” on Energy East and has only criticized the process around Kinder Morgan. With an NDP government in Alberta still favouring Kinder Morgan, Elizabeth May is far from convinced that Mulcair will come around to opposing Kinder Morgan. According to Peter O’Neil in the Vancouver Sun, Tom Mulcair “ridiculed” her opposition to all dilbit pipelines.
The “look what happened last time!” argument, while persuasive, is fear-based. Vote splitting is a fear tactic used to confuse the public. Here is why the Green Party is the biggest threat to the Conservative Government:
The Green Party is the only party committed to cooperation and have repeatedly appealed for cooperation.
Had Greens been elected into the 2006 or 2008 parliament, Greens would never have stood by – as both the NDP and Liberals did – and allowed a Conservative minority of seats make Stephen Harper prime minister. Greens would have reminded Canadians (including our national media) that we do not elect prime ministers in Canada; we elect members of parliament.
Whichever party or group of parties can best hold the confidence of the House can form government. Stepping back, waiting for the next election when more money is raised to do battle again, and letting Harper become prime minister is something Greens would never do.
Greens can and do win. Look at these results:
In the 2008 federal election, the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding was won by a Conservative incumbent with 43% of the vote. The Liberal’s had 39% and the Green Party had 10% (Note: the NDP candidate dropped out of race).
In 2011: Elizabeth May won with 46% of the vote, Conservatives 35%, NDP 12%, Liberals 6%.
Check out the interactive maps here: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/saanich2011.html
Provincially, in 2009, the Oak Bay- Gordon Head riding was won by a right wing Liberal incumbent with 46% of the vote, followed by the NDP with 44% and Greens at 8.9%. In 2013: Andrew Weaver and the Green vote won with 40% of the vote, followed by Liberal Cabinet Minister Ida Chong with 29%, and the NDP.
Federally, in 2011, NDP incumbent Denise Savoie had 50%, Conservatives were second with 23% and the Greens at 11%.
In the fall 2012 by-election when Savoie stepped down, the NDP loudly claimed that a vote for Green Party candidate law professor Donald Galloway would elect a Conservative – after all the Conservatives had come in second only a year before.
In that by-election: NDP’s finished with 37% of the vote, Greens’ Galloway placed a close second at 34% and the Conservatives were a distant third at 14%.
And one last example: In 2011, the Green Party won only 9% of the vote against an incumbent Cabinet minister in Prince Edward Island. This year, Green Party leader Peter Bevan Baker defeated that same Cabinet minister in a bi-election with 54% of the vote.
2011 results are not useful predictors for this 2015 federal election. In fact, if the entire 2011 federal election is examined, removing all Green candidates and our entire vote does not change the Harper majority.
The truth is that the Green Party does not “split the vote.” In every one of the above examples, the strong Green race also resulted in very high voter turn-out.
In 2011, Saanich-Gulf Islands had 75% voter turn-out. When Andrew Weaver won his seat, Oak-Bay-Gordon Head had the highest voter turn-out in BC. New Brunswick Green Candidate David Coon won in a riding with 70% voter turn-out and Peter Bevan Baker’s riding had an astonishing 90% voter turn-out.
So, before deciding Greens are bad people for wanting to give Canadians an alternative plan that is positive, pragmatic and committed to a healthy economy and meaningful climate action, think it through. Look at the candidates in your own ridings and decide who you think is best equipped to represent you.
With candidates like SFU professor, scientist Lynne Quarmby who has put everything on the line to stop Kinder Morgan, running in a new riding with no incumbent, or former national meteorologist Claire Martin running in North Vancouver against incumbent Conservative Andrew Saxton, or First Nations leader Brenda Sayers who led the charge against the Canada China investment treaty in a riding with no incumbent, North Island Powell-River, ask yourself, what would be the best outcome for Canada: a parliament with those voices, or one without them and dominated by the nastiness of hyper-partisanship?
Vote for what you want. In riding after riding across Canada, Greens have proven that if you vote (in large numbers) for what you want, you actually get it.