Dear Mr. Murray Dobbin,
I am writing to offer some comment on the recent string of vociferous anti Elizabeth May and anti Green Party of Canada articles written by you and your colleagues at The Tyee.
In these articles you are proposing that Elizabeth May is both working to elect Conservatives and lying to the Canadian public.
You admonish her, her party, and her supporters in the aims of precipitating a widespread GPC candidate withdraw, or at least some depression of their surging support across BC. A vote for Green is a vote for Harper? Is that what I’m reading?
That’s an interesting, although not unfamiliar, dreamscape coming forth from long-time NDP ‘beasts of burden’.
I can agree with you on your central premise: it certainly would be an amazing rout of Canadian politics if we all woke up tomorrow and found the NDP working in electoral cooperation with the Green.
That type of electoral cooperation might lead to government, both federally and provincially; all be it, a shared government.
I can assure you, Green insiders understand this reality. That’s the central reason why, in the advance of every major election in recent memory, the Greens have extended an olive branch of electoral cooperation to the NDP.
The Greens have been rebuffed every single time.
That’s astonishing regularity, especially for politics. In fact, this time, Tom Mulcair didn’t even offer the courtesy of returning the phone call. Not only a major breakdown of decorum and professional respect, but also a massive insult to Green voters everywhere.
Are these the same Green voters the NDP is trying to court with their now perennial ‘vote-split’ argument?
It seems odd that no respect can be shown to these voters, especially now that they appear to be central to any concept of an NDP victory.
After all, the NDP can’t win on their own, isn’t that basically what you’re saying?
Let’s be clear about a few things:
- The NDP has never produced a platform that addresses the sweeping range of core Green issues, i.e. climate change, pipeline expansion, proportional representation (still not in the NDP platform by the way – have a close look)
- The NDP is beholden to the same industrial-extraction interests as all other ‘status-quo’ parties
- Future generations require far swifter movement than what the NDP brand is offering, in order to both re-ignite our struggling economy and avoid catastrophic climate change
I’ll happily inform you once again, that until the above gets addressed, you have no credible argument as to why the Greens should be supporting the NDP base.
As I’m sure you understand, the ‘vote split’ argument applies to parties that have, more or less, a congruent platform going after the same voters, offering them two identical options. This argument could easily be made about the Liberal and NDP platforms.
Point by point, it’s essentially the same document, except for minor nuances. Summarily, the slogans are even the same: ‘real change’/’ready for change’, and ‘middle-class economics’.
The same can’t be said about either the Conservative or Green platforms: they are materially very different than the near identical NDP/Liberal platforms.
At the Green Party of Canada, they’re talking about the big ideas:
- Eliminating post-secondary tuition by 2020
- 80% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050
- Proportional representation and a return to community minded, principled MPs
- Opposition to all current heavy oil pipeline projects
All contained within a fully developed comprehensive 44-page platform, with a five-year budget outlook.
There is no true vote split in discussion of this party, and what choice they represent to voters, in relation to other parties.
One should rightly be asking why the NDP/Libs are content to produce nearly identical platform documents, and go after the very same voter base, year after year, and truly split the vote in ways the Greens never have.
Should Greens suggest that NDP/Lib candidates withdraw with such indignity and disrespect that have been shown to them? I think we’re all pretty aware that the Greens will not be levelling these baseless attacks at their fellow progressive running mates.
Greens, in ridings across Canada, including my own and your own, now have the best platform, the best candidate, and the best leader.
Why on earth would they consider voting for a lesser candidate, lesser platform, or lesser leader, in another party?
Let’s cut to the chase: you, and your colleagues’, repeated attempts to demand Green support move elsewhere are fundamentally un-democratic and disrespectful to voters.
In light of the NDP ‘shutting the door’ to any meaningful electoral cooperation with Green for decades, voters will rightly be asking hard questions about your argument.
Greens have been subject to baseless and personal attacks for far too long, and without a dignified response, or a respectable forum to discuss the charge.
I think we need to really get to the bottom of the arguments you’re proposing, and so, I offer you a challenge:
I’m inviting you to a town hall in Sechelt and Powell River held before the general vote Oct 19th, where you can make your case to the public in person, and also hear my arguments against it.
I further propose that it be a parliamentary debate, with an independent moderator.
The topic: “Why don’t the Greens Just Go away”.
We’re both sideline commentators in this Federal election, what have we got to lose?
Are you game sir?
6 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Murray Dobbin…..”
“Why on earth would they consider voting for a lesser candidate, lesser platform, or lesser leader, in another party?”
Because Greens simply do not stand a chance of winning any new ridings. And because regardless of the imperfections of the NDP or Liberals, they are better than the Conservatives by many degrees of magnitude on a number of issues.
And no. Neither the NDP or Liberals or Greens is likely going to garner enough votes to win even a majority government. We’ll be lucky if either the Liberals or NDP can win a majority. And it’s not necessarily due to any huge failings of those three parties. It’s simply that we can’t split the progressive votes three ways and expect to beat the Conservatives.
So we have a choice if we want to take down the Conservatives. We can vote for the party we think best to run the country, even if our local candidate is polling at 10%, and hope that somehow the polls are wildly off, even though historically they have never, ever been off by that much.
Or we can decide who our second choice is amongst the other two parties with a serious chance of beating the Conservative and voting for them.
I happen to be voting NDP because they are the party that is projected to beat the Con in my riding. I would happily vote Liberal or Green if they were leading.
Greens desperately want a seat at the table and I can appreciate that. But they are willing to let the Conservatives win yet again if they can’t get what they want. To be honest, this strikes me as incredibly irrational. It certainly doesn’t make me think they are any different than the other parties. They are just as willing to put their interests ahead of those of the nation.
And to be clear… I think the NDP and Liberals are as well. They just happen to have a better shot than the Greens. I’m sorry if the ABC strategy kills any chances of new Green victories, but that’s just the way it is.
thanks for the response, and thanks for listing the ABC voting mantra for us all once again,
you seem to have missed the central premises of my article,
but I’m more than happy to offer my two cents in reply:
1) I could possibly agree with you if we weren’t standing in the shadow of catastrophic climate change.
We might then be able to suffer a few more weak-kneed, totally void of vision governments from the big 3 status quo parties.
The fact is, we don’t have that opportunity any more. The seas are now rising by .5 cm per year, and we have 27 million climate change refugees globally.
The science on climate change has been absolutely clear since 1980.
We’ve since seen as relatively progressive Liberal, Conservative and NDP governments (Provincial), have come and gone, and made absolutely no credible steps toward addressing this phenomenally important issue.
Are you aware that no government in Canadian history has ever met a Green House Gas reduction target?
I’ve searched myself wondering if I can strategic vote ‘just this time’ as so many say to themselves, and the answer is:
it doesn’t seem to matter if a single Conservative, Liberal or NDP MP is elected,
there will be no credible action on climate change from each of these parties.
I wish this wasn’t the case, but that’s what 35 years of political history show unequivocally.
2) Electoral cooperation has been offered by Greens in advance of this election…no takers came to the table.
I know it may not be seen at street level, but between the leaders of the progressive wing, electoral cooperation in advance of the election was possible.
Elizabeth May wanted it, asked for it, and the others refused.
That in itself is enough, to not only to reject the concept of the strategic vote, but also to never, as long as I live, vote Liberal or NDP again.
Canadians asked loud and clear for cooperation, but they didn’t get it from their would be leaders.
The truth of the matter is, this has now become a perennial feature of both Liberal and NDP election campaigns at every level. They’re working very hard to keep the Green message from growing, and rightly so because they’re now clinging to basic electoral capacity.
After all, the Greens now pull from across the full electoral spectrum.
When you canvas for Green, something like 80% of respondents ‘wish they could vote Green’. I don’t hear anyone excited about voting for their major party, it’s something they do out of a deeply ingrained fear politics.
Voting out of fear is a deeply damaging practice to our democracy, and something we would be wise to leave in the past.
– my two cents John, thanks for your note
In that case, what we need is a not yet another party that splits the progressive vote, but a strong Green streak in the Liberals NDP.
In fact, I hate to see the country go the way of the US, but the Liberals and NDP might have to go as well. It could be that we need all three progressive parties to merge into one.
I generally avoid giving Conservatives credit for being intelligent, BUT they were smart enough to merge into one party, which can take the country with less than 40% of the vote.
There is a strong chance the Cons will win a minority. (God help us if it’s a majority). What we need to see happen then is a merger. That, or we just accept the fact that we will be relegated to being ruled by a small minority of stupids.
Click to access 2015-BCPlatform-EN.pdf
thanks for posting, I’ve been asking the NDP to produce a full length platform all election, glad to see they finally did it. I didn’t see proportional representation in there….was that an oversight?