Green Party of Canada: The Internal Revolt Begins

It looks like things have finally gotten to a crisis point over at the GPC. Fed up with an amalgam of political and financial mismanagement under the leadership of Elizabeth May, two ex-Federal Council members, Mark Taylor and John Ogilvie, have attached their names to what amounts to no less than an inter-party revolt.

Judging from their most recent posts, the event that pushed Mr. Taylor and Mr. Ogilvie over the line to take this action was the “coup” orchestrated by Ms. May to consolidate her power with a gaggle of obedient staff placements, i.e. non-elected, paid positions, comprising a new Campaign Committee. The crucial, non-democratic zinger of this new committee is that it surpasses and guts the duly elected Federal Council. To gain a clear understanding of what has transpired in the GPC and the logistics of same, it is strongly suggested to visit Mr. Taylor’s and Mr. Ogilvie’s blogs.

The GPC rebels may wish to take a closer look at the historic opportunity before them. It is now 25 years and counting and still no Green seat(s) in Parliament. (In a shorter time span an alternative political movement has been formed, morphed through several stages, and today sits as the government of the country.) Even if public support maxes out at 10% (and that’s a long shot!), due to the non-existence of a regional base, there will still likely be no elected Green. Political power for the GPC is not only elusive, it is non-existent and will remain so. The certainty of a Post-Peak Oil world (climate chaos/change inclusive), financial and economic meltdown, etc. makes Green philosophy somewhat redundant and passe, i.e. the political offering of false promises that the latter scenario can be averted if only one votes Green.

The opportunity before the rebels is simple: withdraw your support, agitate and expose May’s dictatorial opportunism, retreat to your bioregional/provincial parties (where the focus of Green politics should have been all along), and let the eco-political monstrosity known as the GPC die a natural, if somewhat financially sloppy, death. In other words, give May exactly all the rope for which she clamours.

The opportune event to highlight and politicize this move would be the GPC Policy Convention slated for Pictou, NS at the end of February, 2009. Hell, it’s just a spit away down the road from Cumberland County.



  1. I’ve been blogging on the issues facing the GPC for quite a while now (pretty much since my resignation from Council). This “tipping point” isn’t a point for me but rather for the party… it is a clear signal that the grassroots input has been eliminated.

    The reason that the Greens haven’t elected anyone in 25 years is that they still haven’t come to terms that they are a POLITICAL PARTY operating under a first-past-the-post system. It’s easier to continue acting like an environmental lobby group that constantly complains that there is no proportional representation.

    There are plenty of options available to frustrated Greens (both current and expired members) as we still operate within a democracy with enforcable laws.

  2. Mark:

    Thanks for the comment. I fully agree with your take on Green realpolitik (or lack thereof) in para two. Outside of a major philosophical difference, i.e. regional/provincial politicking vs national/federal politicking, which could not be resolved this was also evident to me 20-odd years ago when I resigned from the GPBC.

    It strikes me as ludicrous that the notion of political POWER is anathema to many Greens…almost to a point of affronting their sensibilities. So then why bother? IMO, much comes down to a lack of political perception, maturity and courage to play the game as has been laid out. When I have raised the point that “things Green” have been co-opted by now in one form or another by mainstream parties, on one occasion I was actually told by the local GPNS organizer, “We like it when the other parties steal from us.” Again, I agree with you, if the mindset is to be an environmental lobby group then wind things down and re-incorporate as a lobby group free from the public’s dime.

    The 25 years of non-performance on the national level has drained resources and creativity from the provincial levels, and now it is too late. This, of course, is where and how I currently stand relative to the political challenges looming on the horizon. That I see opportunities related to the GPC’s internal strife is my prerogative. Whatever actions we may take independently around a common situation need not necessarily be mutually exclusive.

    I shall be watching. Best of luck.

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