EDITORIAL – Greens have a long way to go before they’re a political force

Andrew Weaver on election night. (Image: Screenshot)

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

MUCH IS being made of the Green Party’s performance in the provincial election this week. It’s being called a break-through. Instead of a single seat, the party will have three when government fires up again.

The party’s popular vote increased substantially, doubling to 16 per cent.

That’s all very nice, but it’s still a modest success in many ways, and maybe short-lived.

If the BC Liberals remain shy of a majority, Andrew Weaver could negotiate some good policy trade-offs and maybe even a cabinet portfolio for himself. But realistically, minority governments don’t last long, and somebody always pays the price when voters have to go back to the polls in a cranky mood.

Theoretically, he could form a coalition with the NDP, giving the two a total of 44 seats. Wouldn’t that be a fine constitutional conundrum for Lft.-Gov. Judith Guichon to sort out?

In Kamloops, Dan Hines and Donovan Cavers both had very respectable showings, with roughly 21 per cent each. But they still both came third behind the NDP candidates, and way behind the two Liberals. Kamloops isn’t going to turn Green any time soon.

A year or year and a half, when we can expect the minority government to fall apart, will pass quickly. Not much time to build momentum, and the reality of actually having a voice in decisions will set in quickly — some people don’t like what you do.

The biggest hurdle, though, is the fact that the Greens will always have to fight to take votes from the NDP, leaving the Liberals a clear field on the right. The most sensible thing to do would be to seek a merger of the two parties but that will get especially difficult if the Greens get into bed with the BC Liberals for awhile.

Not to rain on their parade, but the Greens still have a long way to go before they become a force in B.C.

About Mel Rothenburger (7343 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Greens have a long way to go before they’re a political force

  1. Grouchy 1 // May 11, 2017 at 3:10 PM // Reply

    Given Weaver’s performance last term, where he supported everything Liberal, I can’t see them using their new found power wisely at all. Hopefully the other two Greens that were elected will see the bigger picture , and not be bullied by Weaver, or Clark.

  2. David Goar // May 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM // Reply

    As a voter who, finally, decided to resist the inclination to vote “strategically” and, instead, placed my vote where my heart was, I enthusiastically disagree with your perspective upon the Green’s performance and future prospects.

    Although “breakthrough” might be too strong a description of the Green’s performance, both locally and provincially, that performance has, nonetheless, served to change the political landscape in BC in significant ways.

    First, and most importantly, the Green Party has elevated itself above the status of a “fringe” party, even if it fell slightly short of achieving official party status. Many of us are proud of the fact that we voted Green and will contribute to the likely viral growth of the party’s respectability and attractiveness to other citizens, particularly the young. It is worth noting that, in mock elections conducted at our high schools, the Green Party won resounding victories. Perhaps the young, who have a greater personal stake in the future of our imperilled planet, will be the driving force behind the explosive future growth of the Green movement.

    Second, the results of this election have, hopefully forever, elevated BC beyond the status of a two party system, with all of its associated negative consequences. We need only look to the situation of our neighbour to the south to see what happens when a bi-polar political system reaches its full expression. The “us and them” dialogue that dominates their political discourse is divisive, unhealthy and inherently limiting.

    Third, the current configuration of our parliament ( provided it is not changed by the count of absentee ballots or judicial recounts ) makes it probable that we will, finally, see movement upon two critical improvements to our political system itself:

    1. The removal, by appropriate legislation, of the massive influence of “big money” in our election campaigns; and

    2. The introduction of a system of proportional representation that more closely aligns the configuration of our parliament to the actual results of our election.

    While the Green Party managed to capture only three seats, it was successful in registering close to 20% of the popular vote in this riding and on the provincial front. Translating this popular vote, as it increases in subsequent elections, to a seat count in parliament will serve to provide the Green Party with a real presence and, maybe someday, a chance to form government.

    Political movements can, in today’s world, be built and grow almost overnight, as we recently witnessed in the French National election. All it takes is a combination of old political perspectives and parties making themselves irrelevant while new political voices and parties generate attractive new perspectives and platforms, to fill the void. This combination could, very well, assert itself in the next provincial election, which, as you note, might be less than two years away.

    In summary, I choose to take the optimistic perspective and view the performance of the Green Party in this election as the beginning of something momentous in BC politics; the appearance of a new and different voice and perspective with the promise of enabling us to escape the inherent limits of a confining two party system and chart a path toward a healthy, sustainable and inclusive future.

  3. The smartest thing the Green party could do is not make a coalition with either party and vote on each piece of legislation on its own merit. I suspect that my faith in all politicians will be justified and someone will be bought to change party allegiances.

  4. -I think all the Greens need (to become giants in the BC political field of ‘what’s best for the people’), is, “A massive, comprehensive platform; detailing and outlining all the ‘changing areas’ associated with environmental control, vis a vis, the future.
    -To fully include all aspects of businesses and corporations, concerning what level of profits are ‘reasonable’ [competitive] and what necessary amount of monies need to be pumped back into the economy on the environmental side of the equation (lessening the profit and progress margin to real terms).” This is what the Liberals have also ascribed to, yet with the levers of control semi-mixed with business councils and corporate input, per se, that sometimes doesn’t either: reveal effective change or better timelines of change and correction in methodologies concerning growth and health of the Province itself.

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