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Power at any price?

By Stuart Hertzog
July 24th, 2007

The BC Green party should not go cap in hand to business

The BC Legislature lit up at nightConventional thinking maintains the view that Green parties will not be effective until at least one elected Green sits in Canada’s parliament or a provincial legislature.

This ignores the fact that the mere threat of Green environmental candidates has already forced Canada’s major political parties — even Campbell’s pro-business BC Liberals — to hurriedly ‘green’ their public image.

Even though Green parties were formed to offer an alternative approach to politics, the provincial council of the BC Green Party seem to have swallowed this conventional view. It seems that these supposedly ‘green’ councillors want political power at any price.

‘Business-friendly’ policies?

Interim BC Green party leader Christopher Bennett has publicly professed his admiration for BC premier Gordon Campbell, and even though he was not elected by the membership, Bennett has promised more ‘business-friendly’ Green policies, the meaning of which has yet to be explained.

The last time a Green politician offered unabashedly pro-business policies was when federal Green leader Jim Harris came out with his infamous 2006 Green Platform. The resulting backlash did not guarantee Harris a long tenure. The next leader, Elizabeth May, was an environmentalist.

Harris, like Bennett, didn’t grasp two basic political facts: first that there are already many green business owners who don’t need to be persuaded to be eco-friendly; and second, that a party claiming to adhere to ecological principles should not bend over backwards to pander to a corporate class who are far from Green as they can be. They are busily plundering the planet.

The NDP tried it

The NDP has tried moving to the middle — or at least, tried to persuade the swing voter to come their way. Their efforts have mostly been unsuccessful. Voters know when they are being sold a line. Harris, Bennett, and the NDP should by now realize that voters are looking for principled and sincere politicians, not sycophants who will bend their promises to the latest political breeze.

Instead of proclaiming “business-friendly” policies, Green parties should point out to business leaders that greening their business practices will increase efficiency. Cutting back on the use of fossil fuels will save money, increase sales, and in the not-too long run, boost bottom-line profits.

Green economics

The BC Green party should not go cap in hand to business. Instead, it should let the business class, lead by those who are already enlightened green business practitioners, come to it.

Because the real bottom line is that Green economics is superior to the destructive exploitation that unfettered, free enterprise corporatism has created in the world today.


Posted in Green politics, leadership | 1 Comment »

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One Response

  1. Roger Benham Says:

    Well when I was on the GPC Council, we’d have face-to-face meetings every now and then. At these often we’d state our vision for the party. I was so much the odd one out. The others were obsessed with getting someone elected whilst I talked of the crisis in Peak Oil and the looming Global Warming scenario. Catharine Johannson and Mike Nickerson spoke some sense, Harris almost never.

    The problem we have of course is an obsession by some to broadcast the Green message to all and sundry. This requires huge dollops of cash. We ‘can’ get that by getting more votes and we achieve that by being less contraversial and appealing more by promising we won’t do the things which need to be done. Further, as the party grows, we absorb more and more people from the other ‘denial’ parties and these new members have no liking for the original green ideas but want it all watered down. If we ever get even 10 seats in parliament, our policies will bear very little resemblance to our 2000 platform.

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