Politics of Colour: Blue + Green = Aqua

Politics of Colour: Blue + Green = Aqua
Posted on May 17, 2013 | Mitch Brisebois | Written on May 17, 2013
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

When I was a kid, an old dude named Robert Stanfield ran against a young Pierre Trudeau. I always thought a guy who ran an underwear factory would make a better Prime Minister than a rose-totin' lawyer. No?

It always bewilders me that sustainability causes are often judged as "leftish". Socialist. More orange than NDP - fuchsia even. We need to change the colour wheel!

A good friend once called me an enigma - not understanding my active environmentalism and my support of True Blue Tories. I'm equally bewildered why he'd think that.

Conservative Brian Mulroney was named Canada's Greenest Prime Minister - he used political influence to enact measures against Acid Rain and Ozone depletion. Not just talk ala Liberal Kyoto, but actual implementation. Perhaps that's why we don't hear much talk about acid rain these days.

Lately, I'm not so impressed by the environmental record of "my Tories". I'm also not hopeful for a green agenda from any party.

The only choice is to demand green / sustainable policies from whoever leads our town / province / country.

From what we've been seeing in Ottawa, environmental laws are overruled by developer interests.

Voices from all political parties need to be heard!

About The Author

Mitch Brisebois's picture

Sometimes I tweet for the South March Highlands / Carp River Coalition @SouthMarch


Liz Couture

The blue part of the equation, relating to the federal conservative government, of course, is the total enigma of the whole thing. They like to sway the gullible public with their conservative stances, and then they don’t take conservative stances when they should. The “economy versus the environment” argument is getting a bit stale by now (in political campaigns), and yet the fear that has been fed to us about not being able to put money into protecting the air, land, and water because we won’t have jobs is simply unfortunate.

It’s true that we are losing the good jobs in this country, but government policy can’t really do too much about that even though they seem to indicate that they can. Not talking about those ubiquitous “Action Plan” signs here, either, I’m talking about geo-political economics – the massive, interconnected, complicated system of business, trade, transportation and variety of competing global political parties that all are supposed to come together and agree on how to do it so that it’s better for everyone. It’s become too much for any government to handle, I’m afraid. We need to figure out how to make our own jobs at this point. Lots of suggestions on that subject, but that’s another post.

The other problem with the whole “economy versus the environment” argument is that it’s really, really starting to polarize Canada regionally, more than it ever has before. My local paper had a quote referring to jobs, implying that there were jobs available if people were willing to go after them, and the quote read, “Go West, Young Man”. It was referring to the thousands of jobs driving trucks in the tar sands, no doubt. My sister-in-law’s nephew just did that recently. Up and left his wife and two small children here in Ontario so that he could work the tar-sands. I felt sick when I heard this. It’s true that we all need to work, but when there is no choice as to what work to do for a decent wage, we do have an economic problem here in Canada. But we have a bigger problem….

…And that is that we can’t really afford not to spend money now on our land, air, and water. I believe the Conservatives know this, they are not stupid people, but they are blinded by the ideology of the “free market” system, let the dollar be the God Almighty measurement that determines our decision-making and hence our fate, and let corporations dictate what will be. We need a new system, and it can be capitalist, but it cannot be at the expense of our ability to eat and breathe well and have good water.

So, I guess that if blue + green = aqua, then blue plus various shades of green equal various shades of aqua. We need some deeper green shades. For a long time now, I’ve considered myself a “deep green”, and yet I am not the deepest of deep greens. There are many more things I could do to reduce my carbon footprint, and as long as I keep trying to find ways, it means I haven’t given up hope yet. (That’s a good thing). As I look to our corporations, I see that they seem to be attempting to consider being greener. As I look to our political parties, I see that there are attempts to consider more green policy. But I don’t really see that with our current federal Conservative government. They seem to be all about getting the pipelines to happen, and that’s not deep green.

I’m so pleased that Andrew Weaver has been elected as the first MLP/MPP in British Columbia, the first provincial green to be elected, ever, in Canada. Absolutely buoyant about this. If everyone could gravitate to and support all green policy everywhere, regardless of political party putting it forward, it would un-complicate a lot of things.

The truth is, in the last federal election, more people voted against the Conservative party (all those that voted for NDP, Liberals, Greens, and other) than voted for. The other parties have environmental policy, where the Conservative party does not (generalizing here, you understand). And yet, no conclusions may be drawn about who voted for what and why because the polls are not enough to answer those questions. The voting numbers, however, are accurate. More people voted against the current party than not, but our single-member plurality system (also called “first past the post” and “winner take all”) did not reflect the votes wishes. That’s why we need to change the electoral system into some kind of a PR or Proportional Representation system. See www.FairVote.ca then all environmentalists, from all political parties, will be able to make a difference with their vote.

One of the things that attracted me to the Green Party was the line former Green Party leader Jim Harris coined, "Greens are neither left nor right, but out front". I really liked this idea because it eliminates the old and very tiresome left vs. right political philosophy arguments that I believe are holding Canada back. A major reason I created Unpublished Ottawa is to encourage discussion and debate around issues so that we can bridge the gap between left and right, focusing on solutions that bring us together rather than theoretical differences that drive us apart.

Liz is right about the need for electoral reform through Proportional Representation. I'm hoping that Canadians will eventually get past the fear mongering being put forward by the power brokers in Canada who do not want change, and embrace a "Made in Canada" PR solution.

Fair Vote Canada (www.fairvote.ca) is an organization that is working hard to make this a reality.