Re: Editorial, ‘Greens have a long way to go before they’re a political force’
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 Greens’ 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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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.