Petra Kelly, founder of the Green Party in Germany, used to describe the Greens as the “anti-party party.” That stems from our shared green global values—we never put the short-term interests of our party above the best interest of our country and our planet.
The other principle that makes us different is our commitment to listening to citizens. Seems old-fashioned, but it is more important now than ever. Our party does not allow me, the leader, to influence candidate nominations. Our policies come from our members. Our party decisions come from a council of volunteers, who are elected by the Green Party membership. We walk the talk. We know that centralized party control is strangling the democratic process.
A caucus of Green Party MPs will be a strong force in the House of Commons. Before I got elected, political analysts insisted that one MP couldn’t make a difference. We know now that was not true. I have brought many issues of concern to the fore of public debate, my private member’s bill to create a National Lyme Disease Strategy is now law, I have brought important grants to Saanich-Gulf Islands, and I have helped nearly 1,000 individuals with constituency issues like immigration. The Green Party does not need to (and perhaps should not) “form government” in order to shift the political agenda and work for the issues that matter to you.
Over and over I have been selected as Canada’s hardest working MP. My constituency office works hard for everyone who comes through our door. Former Senator Pat Carney is a constituent and told national CBC that my constituency work is the best she has ever seen. I have spoken more often in the House than any other MP, was the first MP to put all my expenses on line, and have been at the forefront of the fight to oppose omnibus budget bills, the Canada-China Investment Treaty, and the anti-democratic Bill C51. As well, I have been active as an intervenor opposing the Kinder Morgan expansion within a discredited NEB process. I remain in that process to pursue my rights on behalf of my constituents. I have retained Clayton Ruby to represent me and will sue to overturn an adverse decision.
The issues and concerns of British Columbians need a voice that is not constrained or controlled by party brass in Ottawa. Each Green candidate signs a pledge for respectful conduct, to be transparent and accountable and to work for their constituents—not for me. As the only leader of a federal political party representing British Columbia, I commit to you that the climate, defending our coastline, protecting wild salmon and moving to a healthy sustainable economy are top priorities. I will not compromise on security for future generations.
The work of the House of Commons used to be more collaborative, not long ago. I remember when the Parliament of Canada really did the work of the people. There was some mud-slinging and there was fierce disagreement, but MPs from all parties actually cooperated on creating legislation the majority of MPs could be proud of. This is not the case today, but we can demand that MPs work together again. In fact, this will be a huge relief for the MPs from all parties, who do not seem to enjoy the unworkable current conditions of the federal government.
I believe that elected Green MPs are the missing ingredient to change the course of government, away from fractious partisan bickering, toward real democracy and cross-party collaboration.
Vote Green for a Canada that works, together.