The mess in Ottawa is an opportunity for the Greens, but....

By Harold Jansen on Dec 3, 2008

I think it's safe to say that none of Canada's four political parties in Canada are looking especially good right now: the partisan bickering and yelling, the political manouevering and scheming, the constitutional brinkmanship. There are lots of Conservatives upset with Stephen Harper, many Liberals disgusted with Stephane Dion, and even more Canadians just annoyed with everyone. 

This is a potential gold mine for the Green Party. They're not there. In the next election, they have an opportunity to make the case for change. If this is the way these four parties behave, they can say, why not bring someone in who is a real break with the past? Unfortunately for the party, Elizabeth May has cuddled up with the coalition. It's a bit surprising, really. Although the coalition may advance some environmental policies the Green Party would like, the Greens as a party don't benefit from the coalition, so some distance might position the party better. Furthermore, as Canadian politics polarizes between the coalition and the Conservatives, the Greens could find themselves squeezed. And if there is any truth to the (as of now ubsubstantiated) rumours that Elizabeth May would accept a Senate post so that she can serve in the coalition cabinet, any reasonable claim to be a party of change would be lost.

The Greens often face a tension between achieving policy goals and advancing their goals as a party. It seems to me that Elizabeth May's instincts are to take the former over the latter. Her response to the coalition seems to be more evidence of this.

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