Letter to the Editor – Green Party of Canada

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Dear Editor,

I was waiting to see how the leader of the Green Party of Canada, Annamie Paul, was going to handle yet another attack on the Green Party by one of her hacks, before writing to agree with your correspondent, Constantine Kritsonis.

Yet again, she is failing to disavow this attack, leaving many in the Party to surmise that she approves of this mode of conduct.

I am one of those who don’t. While I would prefer all this to go away until 6 months after the election, when there is an automatic leadership review, Ms. Paul seems to be preventing this happening by still stoking the fire, this time by hiring an arbitrator, meaning that the proceedings would now be conducted in private, away from the full view of the membership. As a result, the GPC’s ability to speak openly about this matter has been constrained, and remains constrained.

The GPC is about participatory democracy, respect for diversity, social justice. Transparency and truthfulness has been lacking in these legal proceedings, and so now the GPC has gone to the Superior Court in Toronto in order to bring some openness to this matter, because, as a National Party, the processes must be conducted in a democratic way, in full view of the membership and the voting public.

As I write, this is where the matter stands.
I accept that a new leader of any Party is going to make mistakes. The proper thing to do is to fall on your sword, admit the error, apologise, and we all move on. Nobody expects perfection.

Like many in the Green Party, I was left wondering what I could do to make Ms. Paul understand the discord that she is sewing, so I temporarily suspended my monthly financial support. I probably wasn’t the only one who did that, but it didn’t seem to make one iota of difference to Ms. Paul. I believe that she is on a mission to reshape the Party in her own image, and damn the torpedoes. It is the only way that I can make any sense of her behaviour.

However, unlike other parties, the Green platform is shaped by the membership, not by the Party hierarchy. Ms. Paul has no more say in the Party platform than I do, so I am comforted by the fact that this is still the same Party that it was before she became leader.

This country, indeed, the planet, needs the policies and values that the Green Party espouses. When you see all around you the massive fires and floods that have been inexorably linked to climate change, we have to be concerned.

This was all predicted 30 years ago, and we still do not have the political will in this country to do what is necessary for our grandchildren to have a liveable planet.

The current Liberal government has given $23 billion to the oil and gas industry over the last 3 years. Failure to reign in this industry will ensure that Canada has no chance to meet its climate targets, as weak as they are.

They are now talking austerity to get us out of the supposed financial mess that we are in, and they will no doubt trot out that tired old analogy that compares their budget to our household budget.

That is both dishonest and disingenuous. Federal governments can print money. We cannot. Federal governments don’t have to worry about budgets. What they have to worry about is inflation, so they have to ensure what they do doesn’t drive up the cost of living beyond a certain point.

We just have to look back to World War 2, and to see what a powerhouse Canada became in the manufacture of war materials. Major industries were created in short order, and the whole country was mobilised, and put to work.

So how did we manage to spend all that money, and where did it come from? We have been fed a neoliberal mantra that says that if we spend like that, then taxes either go up, or social programs get cut. Absolute nonsense. During World War 2, neither happened. I would encourage you all to read “The Deficit Myth” by Stephanie Kelton, who explains all this in some considerable detail.

We can afford to transition away from fossil fuels, which is a major influence on climate change.

We can do exactly what we did in World War 2, we just need to elect a government that is not beholden to the oil and gas industry, and who has the vision to see what is possible.

Colin Creasey, Kemptville

 

 

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