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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

David Suzuki: Get rid of the Green Party [Green Party responds]

David Suzuki is making a lot of sense. No, really. He says the Green Party has to go because it is hurting the green movement, politically speaking:

Canada’s foremost environmentalist says there’s no need for the country’s political landscape to include the Green Party.

David Suzuki on Tuesday via teleconference told a gathering of Lakehead University students that as long as there’s a Green Party the environment will be tossed around like a hot potato with no real action being completed.

"There shouldn’t be a Green Party," he said, matter-of-factly and unexpectedly.

He makes the argument that as long as the Green Party exists, environmental issues will never make it into mainstream parties. And he's absolutely right. The bottom line is that any mainstream party that attempts to green-ify its platform will have to integrate it into a platform that balances a number of competing political needs. But as long as the Green Party exists as a dogmatic purist environmental party, the green vote will go with the Green Party.

Why have tofu burgers when you can have vegetarian steak?

So there is no pay off, electorally speaking, of trying to go green as long as the Green Party makes it impossible for a party to gain significant traction on that file. Any attempt to do so means tilting so far to the green side as to alienate many of your less-than-green voters.

That's what happened, in part, to the Liberals under Stephane Dion. For example, the Liberals lost much of the rural vote when voters rightly decided the Green Shift would hurt them. And for all that effort and subsequent lost votes, the green vote still went to the Green Party!

David Suzuki makes no mention of proportional representation, probably because he knows it won't solve anything. Under PR, the Greens would still lack any real power, but would continue to make green issues a wasteland for other parties.

So give David Suzuki credit. He's no fool when it comes to politics. He knows the Green Party hurts environmental politics and he wants it gone.

No word from the Green Party yet.

Full commentary and quotes at Angry in the Great White North.

Update: The Green Party issues a response.

Posted by Steve Janke on October 22, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Don't be discouraged, Elizabeth May. David Suzuki also once said that human beings didn't have the ability to cause global warming, so it shouldn't be too long until he backs up the Greens.

Posted by: Kjosness | 2008-10-22 10:40:10 AM

Finally, Suzuki and I can agree on something. The Green Party is a lunatic fringe party, particularly since the May took over as leader -- it certainly doesn't get any shriller than that.

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2008-10-22 10:42:43 AM

Why not get rid of the Libertarian Party too? Like the Greens, the Libertarians are a non-issue party with little support.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-10-22 10:44:05 AM

David Suzuki may be an evil little commie but he doesn't lack intelligence. I love the Greens being there in left field to split the vote as I'm sure the Conservatives love it also.

I'm sure that Suzuki also resents the competition in the field of Junk Science where he used to be top dog.

WS Bloggers - Keep giving them the respect that they don't deserve.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-10-22 10:47:57 AM

I agree, those asshole Libertarians, standing for non-issues like low taxes, small government and the right of uninformed people to speak their mind.

Posted by: Kjosness | 2008-10-22 10:52:54 AM


You might have a point. One difference is that at least the other parties are _trying_ to incorporate Green ideas into their platforms. They're watered down, sure, but they're there. If the Greens faded away, I doubt the other parties would stop talking about Kyoto, carbon taxes, etc.

On the other hand, none of the major parties has taken a position against Section 13(1) of the CHRA. Only the NDP took a stand for marijuana decriminalization, and, as I recall, they backtracked even on that. Libertarian issues receive substantially less attention than environmentalist ones.

So I doubt the Libertarians are taking votes away from anyone on a systematic basis. Not so with the Greens.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-10-22 11:22:40 AM

He is right on this issue, for actually the Green Party has little, if anything, to do with protecting the environment. Furthermore this misrepresentation is not limited to Canada.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-10-22 11:47:22 AM

Here's a thought. Get rid of the Green Party AND Suzuki at the same time.

Posted by: atric | 2008-10-22 12:42:31 PM

Sorry to be such a cynic. But I suspect that part of the reason Suzuki sees no good reason for the Green Party is that the David Suzuki Foundation has probably suffered financially in having to compete for green supporters' dollars.

I happen to agree with him about Ellie May's party, but I suspect the purity of his reasoning.

Posted by: batb | 2008-10-22 5:16:07 PM

Why not get rid of the Libertarian Party too? Like the Greens, the Libertarians are a non-issue party with little support.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 22-Oct-08 10:44:05 AM

And might as well burn the Constitution while we're at it eh Zeb? What with Libertarians being Constitutionalists and all...

Oh well, you can be pro communist if you like, that's your privelege.

Posted by: JC | 2008-10-22 7:26:22 PM

I thought the Green Party was there for its comedic value! Who knew that some people actually take Ellie May and Co. seriously! I disagree with "getting rid of the Green Party" in an alleged "parliamentary democracy". However, that particular Canadians continue to seriously entertain the idea that the Greens are a viable political option is indicative of a serious Canadian Stupidity Problem. Maybe it's the education "system" or the fact that Canada is the ONLY western democracy with a national education strategy (ostensibly because "education" is a matter of "provincial jurisdiction").

Trust me on this - if there is a way for Canadians to shoot themselves in the foot, then Canadians will shoot themselves in the foot. The only Canadian "constant" is a national commitment to mediocrity and also-ran status.

Posted by: Pesky Pundit | 2008-10-23 3:24:35 AM

Green = Communism in disguise. That's not my opinion, it's the opinion of someone who knows Communism when he sees it - Czech President Vaclav Klaus. He wrote a book entitled 'Blue Planet in Green Shackles', and lived under communism for years.

Posted by: Randall Semrau | 2008-10-23 8:14:07 AM

Suzuki says his comments were distorted:


Posted by: Conrad | 2008-10-23 9:50:36 PM

Why do I get the feeling that most of the posters here find their opinions at the bottom of a bottle? Blind, paranoid, self-serving conspiracy theorists... "lunatic fringe?"..."junk science?"... "communism?"... guys: it's time to come up for air, really!!

Posted by: tagteam | 2008-10-24 10:13:34 AM

Actually Suzuki said he wishes there wouldn't be a need for the Green Party as the issue of the environment should be an issue for ALL parties. Anyone can twist the meaning of an out of context quote.

Your post and the comments illustrate a certain ignorance that only the WS can provide.

Posted by: prairieboy | 2008-10-25 6:31:29 PM

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