Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Gang Green

Is an ecological conservative based party the next big thing in Canadian politics? Preston Manning has been musing about it for years and it may happen sooner then we think. If it does occur, is it going to be the Green Party?

The majority of Canadians support the Kyoto Accord, but the Liberal's handling of this file has been insulting. The Greens may just hit their stride at the right time. They are evolving from a fringe party (almost evangelical movement) into a traditional political party that brokers competing interests. A market-oriented agenda is starting to emerge. The party now eschews deficits and would pay down debt. It would lower taxes on income, profits and investment to foster productivity and jobs. And it would use the tax system, including a controversial carbon tax on coal and fuel, to penalize polluters and promote smart energy usage. Basically, a real agenda.

Leader Jim Harris (former Progressive Conservative) styles himself as an "ecological conservative." As University of British Columbia political expert Allan Tupper says: "The party is integrating environmentalism with market assumptions. And Canadians no longer see a simple split between environmentalism and economic growth." The Greens, in effect, are starting to look like Red Tories. Joe Clark you have a home again!

Each vote in the next federal election is now worth $1.75 - another parting gift from Jean Chr├ętien. This means that the Greens now get $1 million plus from Ottawa this year, more than double what they spent in the 2004 election.

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