Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Monday, May 26, 2008

When does partisanship surpass good judgement

I am becoming quite tired of the kind of insults and bickering that passes for political debate in this country. At the core of it are the people like me, who are highly involved in political issues, and have made a decision about which party they support. Like me, these people are interesting in promoting their parties platform, philosophy and point of view. I can accept all of that.

What really frosts me is when there is no acknowledgment that one's "opponent" may have a legitimate point. It seems that as soon as one party does something, the other parties are jumping all over them, nitpicking and denigrating, insulting and reframing, trying to change the focus of the discussion to something they want to talk about. I find this particular frustrating with the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP. Between them they have over 250 seats in the House of Commons and if they put their heads together, there is nothing they couldn't accomplish.

Instead, it is a daily game of "my way or the highway", and so nothing of substance gets accomplished. The three parties seem to continue their endless dance of verbal aggression, but are careful to not actually cause an election since none of them would benefit from such a thing. (Qualification: the NDP has been most active in trying to force an election. However, the history of this parliament suggests that they can continue to do that, because of the Liberals strategy of abstention).

Today, the issue is the shifting of the tax structure to cause users to pay for carbon emissions and using the money to pay for other programs. Shifting the tax burden away from consumers has been a key plank in the Green Party platform for some time. While the details of the Liberal plan are not known yet, it is at least a step in the right direction. The Conservatives and the NDP are both supporting a cap and trade system. Once again, instead of doing something, our parliament will conspire to do nothing.

So, where is this cap and trade system? Why is the quality of our future and our children's future not being addressed right now? It reminds me of the time that the NDP did not support the Liberal motion to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of the current NATO commitment. Then, a few days later, the Liberals did not support an NDP motion for immediate withdrawal. So, although their goals would seem to be aligned, they accomplished nothing.

If only our politicians would stop talking and start listening. And then act like cooperative and responsible leaders. Is that so much to ask for?


At 2:56 AM, Blogger Devin Johnston said...

Excellent post. Another example (taken from my own party) is the NDP attacking the Liberals' "new found support for the automotive industry." It seems to me that when a rival political party expresses support for an issue that you've been active on for a number of years, you should welcome it instead of attacking it.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Jim Johnston said...

I guess I have to walk the talk and say that I think the Conservatives apology to First Nations people was done well and properly. It is unfortunate that it was marred by the comments of Pierre Poilievre, who cheapened an otherwise historic moment.


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