Green and growing

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

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On expectations

(cross-posted at .. originally a response to a post about recent seat projections showing 2 Green seats in Ontario)

If the Green Party continues to climb in popularity and voter first preference, then there will eventually be Green MPs. That is a mathematical certainty.

However, I believe that we do ourselves a disservice every time we say that we will elect MPs in the next election, or worse, that we must elect MPs in order to remain viable as a political party. The reason for this is that the first is not necessarily true, and the second is clearly false.

I am profoundly guilty of promoting the first point of view in the past. I believed that by being optimistic, I created a sense of vision and momentum and made the realization of the dream more possible. Instead, I now believe that my credibility comes from being true to my word, rather than being unrealistic. To me, this means that we run to win in every campaign, but without making the promise of winning, a promise that is fulfilled only by the voters.

I post this because I have become concerned that people inside and outside the party are beginning to believe that the second statement is true, that is, we must elect MPs in the next election. I think this is patent nonsense. If we do, great .. good for us. But if we don't, we are not going to disappear. We are not going to stop trying. We will get back to work doing what we have always done .. a process that has gotten us this far, and will continue to develop support for us, as more and more people come to understand that the status quo in Canadian politics is simply too dysfunctional to keep propped up.

So, back to the point of your original post, Matthew, I would suggest that you can use the polls to show that things are changing, because some people will not change unless they see that others are changing too. Just don't make any promises about electability. Remember, that Kim Campbell's Progressive Conservatives were leading in the polls in 1993, and the election moved them from 169 seats (22 more than a majority) down to 2. The outcome of the election is in the hearts and minds of the voters.


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