Green and growing

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On polls and rejuvenation

I have watched the polls for quite a while. I have come to regard them like photographs taken at a party. That is, the poll may show something which is quite temporary and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. What I have learned to watch for is the long term trends .. the things which seem to consistently move in a particular direction, sometimes up, sometimes down, but generally moving toward something.

Lately, it seems to me that a major trend in the last few years has been that there is a movement away from the "old" parties of Sir John A MacDonald and Wilfrid Laurier, of Trudeau and Mulroney, with that support moving to the NDP and Green parties. This trend sits on top of an 80 year trend of decay of support for the top 2 parties combined in federal elections. Together, these trends are accelerating.

This makes a great deal of sense to me. If it were not for where they sat in the House of Commons, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a government member and a member of the official opposition. The two largest parties are extremely busy at centre ice, trying to elbow the other guy out of the circle, while trying to contain their most recent scandals. Is this what we want our government to be?

I believe that people want political parties to stand for something, and then fight to get what they believe in, rather than fight to get power. The issues facing us on our limited planet are simply too important for us to waste time over the battle of who gets to live at 24 Sussex. Rather, we need to pull together to ensure our long term survival.

Here's what I stand for: (a) we need to modify our democratic institutions so that we have more effective representation, more effective participation, and more effective government; (b) we need to spend our money wisely, live within our means, and use our investments as a way to move toward sustainable futures for ourselves and future generations; and (c) we need to balance our use of the scarce resources of our planet with our need to live .. that is, we need to restore a balance in which we treat the planet as if we intend our children to live here.

A recent Harris Decima poll put both leading parties below 30% popular vote. As any gardener knows, you begin the spring by clearing away old growth to make room for new growth. The perennial parties that have governed this country since the mid-19th century have run their course, run out of ideas, and run out of credibility.

Now is the time to stand for something. Our government should be all about making a better future.