The Green Party of Canada reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Green Party of Canada

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Image:gpclogo.gif
Green Party of Canada
Current Leader:Jim Harris
Founded:1983
Headquarters:Box 997
Station B
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5R1
Colours:Green
Political ideology:eco-capitalist, civil libertarian

The Green Party of Canada is a federal political party in Canada.

Table of contents
1 Current Status
2 Relation to provincial parties
3 History
4 Leadership
5 Policies
6 Election results
7 Affiliations
8 Provincial Wings
9 External link

Current Status

In the 2004 federal election, it fielded candidates in all 308 of the nation's ridings and received 4.3% of the popular vote. In the 2000 election it fielded candidates in 131 (one third) of the then 301 ridings.

The Green Party is still not regarded as one of Canada's major parties. It has never won a seat, and was dissappointed in the 2004 election when it again remained seatless, although predictions had indicated it could win one seat in British Columbia.

The CBC and CTV have refused to invite the Green Party to televised political debates. This has sparked legal actions by the party, and a petition by its supporters to have it be included. However, the party secured enough votes in the 2004 election to qualify for federal funding that is available to parties that receive over 2% of the vote. The party will receive $1.75 (Cdn.) per vote that it received for each year until the next general election.

Relation to provincial parties

The federal party was founded and originally promoted mostly by members of the largest provincial green party, the Green Party of British Columbia. There are now affiliated Green Parties registered in seven of the ten Canadian provinces.

The federal and provincial parties remain closely affiliated, while no joint memberships are issued, the affiliates elect representatives to the federal council, and many officials and candidates in the federal party have positions in the provincial affiliates. The Green Party of Canada has its headquarters in Ottawa, Canada.

The current leader of the Green Party of Canada (GPC), Jim Harris, was overwhelmingly endorsed by the membership in a vote in 2003.

History

About one month before the 1980 federal election in Canada, 11 candidates, mostly in Atlantic province districts, issued a joint press release declaring that they were running on a common platform which called for a transition to a non-nuclear, conserver society. Although they ran as independents, they unofficially used the name "Small Party" as part of their declaration of unity-a reference to the "small is beautiful" philosophy of E.F. Schumacher. This was the most substantial early attempt to answer the call for an ecologically-oriented Canadian political party.

Three years later, North America's first Green Party was born in British Columbia, and later that same year the Ontario Greens were formed. The BC Greens leaped right into elections, running Canada's first Green candidate. Later that year, the founding conference of the Canadian Greens was held in Ontario. Close to 200 people from 55 communities attended, coming from every province except Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

The birthing process was difficult, with deep divisions between those arguing for a national structure, and those in favour of a process that would build from the regions. Trevor Hancock, the party's first registered leader, was eager to get Green politics up and running in Canada. However, a more cautious form of anarchism prevailed. Eventually, an uneasy agreement was reached for a federation of regional parties, with strong support for building upwards from the bottom.

"Is the priority to redefine politics from the ground up, or to play the electoral game according to the present rules? Or both?"

The Green Party of Canada contested its first federal election in September 1984. A little over 1% of Canadians voted Green. Unfortunately, the ongoing discussions about the party's modus operandi became so exhausting that, at one point in the mid-80's, there was a near collapse of the party. It was kept alive—if not particularly active—for almost a decade under the stewardship of the BC Greens.

In the 1988 federal election, the Green spotlight was on Quebec, where le Parti Vert ran 29 candidates (up from just 4 in the previous election). Les Verts received higher results than Green candidates anywhere else in Canada, polling an average of 2.4% of the vote. The Quebec wing hosted the 1990 Canadian Greens conference in Montreal. But soon after that, Canada's constitutional problems interfered, and many Quebec candidates abandoned the Greens in favour of a separatist party, the Bloc Québécois. There were only six Green candidates from Quebec in the 1993 election.

In the summer of 1988, the BC Greens tried to get the Green Party of Canada onto its feet by hosting a conference -- the first federal gathering since the founding meeting in 1983. The main accomplishment of that conference was the acceptance, after five years as a registered party, of a constitution. The party continued to field candidates at the federal level, and provincial parties were organized in a few other provinces, led by consistently strong efforts in British Columbia.

In the spring of 1996, although the hopes of electing a representative to the BC legislature proved premature, one candidate in the interior of the province received over 11% of the vote. Overall, the party's proportion of the popular vote surged to a new high.

At the party's 6th annual gathering in Castlegar, BC, in August of 1996, major constitutional amendments were passed, and policy was agreed to in a wide variety of areas. An important step forward was the structuring of a Shadow Cabinet, whose mandate was to create a platform for the next election in 1997.

The Castlegar gathering marked the beginning of a new era in Canadian Green history, and a somewhat uneasy one at that. In spite of a concern about the nature of leadership in a decentralized party, the Greens' first leadership campaign had been underway for the previous six months. Four candidates contested the leadership. A mail-in ballot was held: Wendy Priesnitz (from Ontario) beat Don Francis (Quebec), Jason Crummey (Newfoundland and Labrador), and Harry Garfinkle (Alberta) to become the Registered Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

In January 1997, Wendy Priesnitz abruptly resigned. Harry Garfinkle stepped in to be the Interim Registered Leader of the Green Party of Canada, and a leadership convention by mail-in ballot was held.

British Columbia's Joan Russow became leader of the Green Party of Canada on April 13, 1997, and served until 2001 when she resigned. Russow won 52% of the ballots cast in the 1997 leadership race, surpassing Ontario's Jim Harris (39%) and Rachelle Small (8%).

In the 2000 Canadian election, the party nominated 111 candidates, in nine out of ten provinces -- all but Newfoundland and Labrador -- and in one of three territories (Nunavut). These candidates collected 0.81% of the total popular vote.

Candidates were not run in Newfoundland and Labrador because Joan Russow had refused to endorse Newfoundland candidates in a St. John's West by-election. This caused much uncertainty and friction between Newfoundland's Terra Nova Green Party Association and the Green Party's Registered Leader. This is well documented by Newfoundland's CBC radio, CBC television and the NTV news. An article by the NTV news service stated:

Green Party Wrangle
April 18, 2000

Jason Crummey is a member of the Green Party of Canada and he makes no secret of his support for a sustainable seal hunt. And it was the management of seal hunt and other fisheries, that Mr. Crummey wished to highlight if allowed to run as the Green Party candidate. However he's since been told that himself and other local members, called the Terra Nova Greens, can't run under the emerald banner. Now Crummey thinks the west coast wing of his party is out of touch with issues on this coast.

Local green party candidates were also asked their opinions on issues such as capital punishment and abortion. For local Green Party president Hedley Pinsent, these aren`t issues for a party with an environmental focus.

Despite being told he can't run in St. John's West, Jason Crummey, says he'll continue to speak out on fisheries issues from the perspective of the local branch of the green party. Meanwhile, national Green Party president Joan Russow told NTV news today that Mr. Crummey's support of the seal hunt, the Voisey's bay mineral development, and aquaculture make him an unsuitable candidate for the green party. However with the resulting attention resulting from Jason Crummey's exclusion, Dr. Russo says she's now considering running in St. John's West herself.

In the 2001 Quebec City protest against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Russow was the very first person thrown in a jail built specially for protesters, for taking a photograph of it from outside.

As well as severe strains with Atlantic Greens over policy and candidate endorsements, Russow experienced a rift with the BC wing of the Green Party. Russow stepped down as party leader and left the party to join the New Democratic Party of Canada. Volunteer efforts were substantially absorbed in provincial campaigns between 2001 and 2003, and the federal party became dormant between elections, as was typical in the past. Chris Bradshaw served the party as interim leader from 2001 to February 2003.

With over 80% of votes cast in the 2003 leadership election, Jim Harris defeated John Grogan of Valemount, British Columbia, and Jason Crummey. Crummey was a charter member of both the Northwest Territories' Western Arctic Greens, and the Newfoundland Terra Nova Greens, and a former Green Party of Canada National Vice President. Jim Harris won mostly through extensive use of the GPC membership list. Harris claimed the support of all provincial Green Party leaders.

Leadership

The present leader of the Green Party of Canada is Jim Harris, a management consultant who describes himself as a green conservative. His election reflected a desire among the members to "become serious" in achieving electoral progress, and to steer away from being a decentralist party.

At the end of 2003, several party councillors sometimes described as fundi resigned in connection with a subsequent new direction for the party, including the Chair, Ontario Rep/Policy Committee Chair, Secretary, Organizing Chair, and International Secretary. Some exiting councillors were frustrated with the new leader's suggested reluctance to participate in face-to-face meetings, and by his unwillingness to contest an Ontario by-election.

The party's new direction initiated by its new leader saw a rebuilt, largely appointed, council with a realo majority, increased concentration of power in the party leader, and increased focus on green economics and fundraising, including borrowing money. However, many felt that less emphasis was being placed on green policy development under the new leadership. Under Jim Harris' new direction, the party managed to conduct more successful fundraising campaigns than before while hoping to repay its debts with federal funding. Also, the party acquired a core office staff to prepare for the 2004 election. The party's policy continues to be developed in a more centralised fashion: primarily by the party executive.

Policies

The GPC supports the
ten key values originally authored by the Green Party of the United States.

The August 2002 Convention adopted the 6 principles of the Global Greens, as stated by the Global Greens Conference held in Canberra, Australia in 2001. These principles are included in the GPC constitution.

Also at the 2002 convention, a resolution supporting a "moderate commercial seal fishery" was passed unanimously. In 2004, Freedom for Animals protested the Green pro-seal hunt policy. Some Green Party officials responded with a plan to rescind the pro-sealing policy at the 2004 Convention, to be held in August.

Under Jim Harris, the policy direction of the party has been described as eco-capitalist with an emphasis on a green tax shift from progressive income tax to consumption taxes and support for corporate tax cuts.

The policy platform for the 2004 federal election can be found on the internet on the platform website.

Election results

Election # of candidates nominated # of seats won # of total votes % of popular vote
1984
60
0
26,921
0.21%
1988
68
0
47,228
0.36%
1993
79
0
33,049
0.24%
1997
79
0
55,583
0.43%
2000
111
0
104,502
0.81%
2004
308
0
580,816
4.31%

Affiliations

The GPC is a member of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas and recognized by the Global Greens as representing Canadian Greens federally.

Provincial Wings

See also:

External link