The times are a changin’!

Photo by Grant Neufeld |

The Green Party of Canada is officially part of the democratic process of this country, and that is a monumental step forward for Canadian politics.  The 2011 election has been a dramatic one filled with some monumental shifts in the Canadian political scene, where the Conservatives have gained a majority under Prime Minister Harper but the official opposition is led by the NDP’s Mr. Layton, the first NDP leader of the opposition ever.

But another change has come across the political scene of Canada:the first ever Member of Parliament from the Green Party, represented by leader Elizabeth May.

Now, this signifies a paradigm shift in Canadian politics and the politics of the world in general. Canada has been one of the greatest polluters on this planet, and under the Conservative government our carbon-emission records have gotten worse.

To have an MP in the House of Commons who believes in an economy that is shaped by greener and smarter economic forces is reassuring to many Canadians. This election, May was completely shut out of the leader’s debate because the Green Party did not have a single MP in Parliament but now she can actually take part in the political and democratic process. She has a mandate from one of three hundred and eight Canadian ridings: a modest start to say the least.

But the most important thing to remember is that, now because she is in Parliament, the perception of the party changes and it gains a more recognized and respectable position. This is immensely important in politics and the policies that the Party advocates will be brought front and center in a national debate.

Here is a summary of the Green Party platform:

1) Green Jobs

     -Create thousands of jobs through investment in renewable energy

     -Expand passenger rail and modernizing freight

     -Retrofit thousands of buildings to high standards for energy efficiency


2)Smart Economic Stimulus

     -Expand access to employment insurance for those who paid into it, while protecting the pensions of retired Canadians

     -Reduce EI and CPP contributions for businesses


3) Healthy Industry

     -A healthy agriculture sector, with support for those who wish to transition to organic farming

     -A healthy fishery, with an end to devastating draggers

     -A sustainable forest industry with more emphasis on value added, and less raw log or unprocessed  pulp export


4) Sustainability

     -Get the prices right for long-term sustainability

     -Avoid structural deficits

     -Implement a revenue-neutral carbon pricing architecture to modernize our economy

     -Build a “Made in Canada” Green economy

It may seem a little premature to talk about how this development could positively affect the Canadian political landscape, but I think ambition is good. I think overreaching is good. I think giving people a vision of government that's more than Social Security checks and debt reduction is good and that is exactly what the Green Party promotes in the form of a smarter and more eco-friendly Canada.