Why a Green Vote is not a Wasted Vote

5 Reasons to vote Green:

1. When people vote Green, they are making a strong and clear statement to the government that they want action on climate change — that they want the environment to be part of the equation in policy making. No other vote states this in such a direct manner. No other party comes close to the strong action that Greens will push for. It is false to claim that I “take liberal votes”. The results of the last election show that Liberal voters just didn’t turn up at the voting booths.

2. Your vote is worth money to the Green Party of Canada and the KW Green Party association.

In the last election I received 12.1% of the vote. Having earned more than 10% of the vote, our local campaign received 60% of the money we spent on the ’08 election campaign back from Elections Canada. It was a nice nest egg on which to grow our support and enabled us to build toward the kind of campaign we are now running.

This reimbursement is what the “in and out” scandal is about. The Conservatives actually cheated the system, transferred money into local campaigns that was not spent locally, but enabled the local campaigns to receive a much higher reimbursement than they otherwise would have. That’s taxpayer money by the way. I am running to win this riding, but given the fear-mongering and aggressive liberal campaign to get my votes this time around I am working hard to maintain that 10% of the vote! I need your vote to win and I need your vote to get that 10%.

The Green Party of Canada, along with all other national parties, receives about $2.00 per vote. This is the most democratic way to support political parties; if you don’t earn a vote you don’t get the money. Again, with almost 1 million Canadians voting Green in ’08, we have received more than $1.5 million annually since ’08. A very small sum compared to the other parties it helps us be better organized, better able to get the Green Vision out to Canadians all year long. It supports staffing an office in Ottawa, having policy conventions, etc.

3. Having one or a few Green MPs can have a profound impact on the House of Commons. For example, in 2010, in Australia, it was the one elected Green MP and three independents that held the balance of power and it was their support that made Julia Gillard the Prime Minister. As support for the Green Party of Canada grows (and please note that in the ’08 election ONLY the Green party increased its number of votes) more of our policies will be adapted by the traditional parties.

4. Even if I do not get elected I am having an impact here in this riding. Every candidate is working hard for every vote and that is how it should be. I actually bet someone that having a strong Green campaign in this riding will increase voter turnout. This will work against the voter suppression tactics of the Conservatives.

5. Vote for the future you want. Feel good about your vote. Vote FOR something not against something.

Contempt of Parliament

Canadians should know that the defeat of the Conservative government was not a trivial matter. No government in the 54 member nations of the British Commonwealth has fallen on a Contempt of Parliament finding. It is without precedent in countries with a Westminster styled parliament.

Green Party Position on Support for Municipalities

The Green Party of Canada recognizes that while 80% of Canadians live in urban areas, only 8% of our tax revenues go to municipalities. This has created an untenable situation and increases citizen’s vulnerabilities to catastrophic events due to infrastructure failure, social unrest and an inability to meet the energy and transportation needs of communities.

Campaign Primer: Canvassing

We’re about half way through the campaign. It seems like a good time to tell you about one of the most important aspects of any successful political campaign: canvassing.

To canvass is to solicit votes or opinions of electors. Throughout the campaign the candidate and volunteers will try to knock on as many doors as possible. The major goal of this exercise is to find out where your supporters are. Canvassers use the list of electors given to campaigns by Elections Canada and walk the streets with clipboards and brochures. There are great advantages to having a long list of previous supporters; strategically, we will return first to areas in which our vote was strongest last time around. Having run in 2008 I have a sense of the vote total in each poll.

We Greens just want to find out if you are going to vote for us. We then call you on election day and ask if you have indeed voted. If you say no, that you broke your leg and can’t get to the polls, we’ll drive you there. We need your vote. This whole exercise is called Getting Out the Vote – GOTV. 

This whole task takes FOREVER. It may take 4 hours for two people to complete a poll. A poll has anywhere from 200 to 600 voters. Polls can include apartment buildings, which can be difficult to get access to. In neighbourhoods where the homes are so spread out that you walk a lot for little data. There are about 220 polls in this riding. You do the math. There is no end to strategy about canvassing. I rember an evening some months ago when I was really studying the election results from 08 and 06. You can get all this poll by poll data from Elections Canada. After a couple of hours, my husband came into my office (worried that his wife who generally hates dealing with spread sheets had somehow morphed into an accountant). I told him that the numbers were starting to speak to me. They were telling the story of Green support across two elections, it was fascinating. I’m over that now and have left the serious number crunching to someone who is much more skilled than I.

Canvassing is the meat and potatoes of an election. It is the foundation of all successful campaigns. Like their fundraising, the Conservatives run their campaigns like a well oiled machine, often overpowering other competing campaigns. This time around they have an army of canvassers out walking polls.

When you see a canvasser, be kind: it’s democracy in action. We’re usually really tired but determined to get the job done.

E.May on Vote Splitting

Recently, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May met with the editorial Board of the Globe & Mail. Here is her response to a question on vote splitting, one I am getting a lot these days!

“How would Elizabeth May feel if the Green vote tipped the balance in the election and gave the Conservative party a majority parliament by splitting the non-conservative vote (e.g. like Ralph Nader did in the U.S. election of 2000?) (Question from reader Andre Vellino via Facebook)

Elizabeth May: The significant risk in Canada is not vote splitting, it is vote abandoning. If you look at 2008, Stephen Harper won more seats than in 2006, but the Conservatives had fewer votes than in 2006. The Green Party wasn’t taking away from other parties. We were attracting a vote that went up at a time when voter turnout was going down because we were offering people something positive.

The single largest voting block in 2008 was the people who didn’t vote. 41 per cent staying home is a larger voter block than the people who voted Conservative. So what’s going on in Canadian democracy right now that is a threat? It sure isn’t the Green Party. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper have adopted Republican-style strategies including what the Republicans called “voter suppression.” They know their base doesn’t grow, so they are deliberately trying to encouraging Canadians to stay home through things like attack adds, that have the effect of making people feel so disgusted that they don’t want to vote at all. Now the fact that other parties are responding with attack adds of their own is distressing because the overall effect of having the political culture appear to be snake pit of poisonous venom, does not encourage people to get out and vote. We are actually offering an antidote to that.”

Another reason we cannot be compared to Ralph Nader is I would never say there is no difference between Liberals and Conservatives in an effort to hold up our own vote. I think honesty and ethics in politics is so desperately lacking, that if someone stands up for it, it might actually get those 41 per cent who stay home to come out and vote.

Platform Launch Today

The Green Party has a full and comprehensive vision for Canada. Don Drummond, former Assistant Deputy to Finance Canada, reviewed Vision Green and presented his opinion on it at our biennial policy conference in Toronto this past August.He gave it a B+ noting that the other parties get an F, because they present no vision or have not shared it.

Today we released the Green Party Platform. You can read it at www.greenparty.ca. We are presenting something you can vote for: an economic, social and environmental vision for Canada.

The Platform provides a vision for a modern, smart economy that reduces the deficit, creates new long term quality jobs that don’t rely on generating pollution to generate energy.

We Greens love our country and want to pursue policies that create vibrant, well-educated and motivated citizens, living in healthy communities, eating safe and healthy food, and enjoying a life-giving, healthy natural world.

Read our platform, find a renewal of Canadian democracy and get inspired.

Green Party Policy for University Students

Here is my response to a recent email question from Angela, a UW student asking about GPC policy for students.

The Green Party is deeply concerned about the accessibility and sustainability of our post-secondary education system. It is our belief that universal access for every qualified individual to affordable post-secondary education and training is a basic right, and we will make it a priority to eliminate the barriers that currently stand in the way of access. Therefore we have proposed the following policies to address issues of affordability:

  • Allowing all students regardless of their parental income to be eligible for students loans to their rate of tuition
  • Reducing all students Federal funded debt by 50% upon completion of their college or university program
  • Decreasing the lending rate to that of prime and extending the time period for which student loans must be repaid.
  • Extending the grace period to 2 years after graduation in which time loans are interest free Extending the grace period to 2 years after graduation in which time loans are interest free.

If Canada is to transition to a skilled economy then it will need to have a highly-trained, education and creative workforce and therefore the Green Party believes that the Federal Government should ensure that all Canadians have access to quality education. For a full list of our post-secondary policies please visit our website at greenparty.ca.