In 2006, my then Deputy Leader Adriane Carr and I set out to create a foundational policy document for the Green Party of Canada. Working with the members of our Shadow Cabinet, we compiled and explained the policies approved by Green Party policy conventions over the years. Our goal was to make it easier for the public and members alike to find out where the Greens stood on major public issues. I remember when Adriane came up with the assertive preamble for each set of action items: “Green Party MPs will.” At that moment it was a leap of faith to know that Canada’s Parliament would have Green Party MPs. And to know what those Green MPs would fight for. On May 2, 2011, I had the enormous honour of being entrusted by the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands to represent them in the House of Commons. They also made a leap of faith in casting their ballots to elect Canada’s first Green MP. Since that day, I have worked tirelessly, primarily in the interests of my constituents, and less so as the leader of the Green Party. I believe that is how it should be. In spring 2013, Greens in British Columbia made history again, with the election of that province’s first Green Party MLA, respected climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver. In December 2013, our federal caucus doubled with the decision by Independent MP, Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North) to join me in Parliament and become Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada. And in September 2014, the leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, David Coon, outdid us all, being elected but also forming the third party in the New Brunswick legislature, with official party status. Now that we have Green MPs, I can add more to our list of commitments. Green MPs will:
- Set the standard for transparency and accountability (we were the first to scan all original receipts and post all expenses on our websites);
- Conduct ourselves respectfully in the House of Commons, through our commitment to never heckle;
- Practice ‘high road’ politics, never using ad hominem attacks, but sticking to issues in debate;
- Work hard, placing the interests of our constituents and of Canada above those of our party;
- Be the only party with a policy of no whipped votes; and
- Strive to find common ground with other parties, working across party lines in the public interest.
Vision Green, our hopes for re-building the Canada we want, is more real with every passing day. Please join us. Elizabeth May, O.C. Leader, Green Party of Canada
Since 2007, the Green Party of Canada has presented a comprehensive statement of our policies and programs. In every election, we distill our top priorities in an election platform which is thoroughly costed and accompanied by a budget. Vision Green is not an election platform. It is both too lengthy and detailed for an election statement of priorities. What it does is give any interested Canadian a more complete understanding of the full range of public policies Green Members of Parliament will work to implement. Periodically, we update and expand Vision Green to ensure we are ready to put forward a positive vision, grounded in current realities. Vision Green presents a well-researched analysis of critical economic, environmental, and social challenges facing Canadians from coast to coast to coast. In this document, we present practical solutions that can be achieved if there is the political will and leadership to take forward-looking action. It was developed by our Green Cabinet and was informed by experts, activists and citizens who participated in policy workshops held across Canada. Our vision is based on policies approved by the membership of the Green Party. Our solutions are realistic because they follow ‘best practices’ already in place in parts of Canada and around the world. These practices are cost-effective, deliver results, and benefit people, the economy, and the environment. The Green Party’s down-to-earth solutions will work in Canada because they have worked around the world. Many have been successfully applied in Europe, where Greens are elected at all political levels, including the European Union and national parliaments. Countries where Greens have served in government are the countries creating new high-paying jobs while simultaneously meeting targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are the countries where the gap between rich and poor is small and the standard of living is high. These countries don’t trade off the environment for the economy. Their economies and environmental laws are both strong. Green Party solutions are rational because the Green Party, unlike other parties, understands the scientific reality of limits to growth set by the carrying capacity of our planet. We must work within these limits. Otherwise, we will exhaust resources, degrade our environment and put our economy, health, and children’s future at risk. Many people find it hard to position the Green Party on the old political spectrum. We believe in sound fiscal management, fostering small business, and strengthening our economy while ensuring that it is sustainable. Does that mean we are ‘right wing’? We believe that government must provide needed social services while protecting our environment and the rights of women, minorities, and disadvantaged people. Does that make us ‘left wing’? We don’t think so. More and more people are simply thinking of the Green Party as the party of the future. The Green Party is different from other parties in another important way. We will never place the pursuit of power above principle. We will not allow partisan politics to get in the way of good ideas and needed action. We agree with Canadians who say it’s time for parties in parliament to stop bickering and get on with the job of governing, combating climate change, and taking better care of our environment, our health, and our economy. The Green Party of Canada, founded in 1983, is now a major force in Canadian politics. We are a Parliamentary party with two current members. Nearly one million Canadians voted Green in the 2008 federal election. More than one in ten Canadians are now saying they plan to vote Green. Green directions point to more jobs, more time with family, and a livable world, now and for our children and their children. We will strive to support a society where the pressure to make a living does not crowd out having a life; where having more does not supplant being more. We believe that the function of governments is to foster fairness and equality in social aspects like nutrition, education, and justice. We want to serve you in a government that does the following:
- encourages the creative, the industrious, the generous, and the sustainable
- protects the weak, and
- regulates corporate behavior to achieve these ends.
In our green vision, Canadians enjoy a higher quality of life, experiencing health and wellness, education and meaningful work, prosperity and economic success supported by ecological health. In our vision of Canada, ability or disability, economic, racial, or cultural backgrounds do not preclude individuals from contributing to and benefiting from a prosperous Canada. Canadian communities – urban and rural – thrive in our green vision, including communities dependent on fisheries, forestry, and agriculture. Canada plays a positive role in the world, working cooperatively with governments, North and South, to ensure equity, global peace, and security. “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place, we are entering an era of consequences.” Sir Winston Churchill In her last book, Dark Age Ahead, the late Jane Jacobs, Canadian urban planner and visionary, wrote that the five pillars of our civilization and culture are under assault. She wrote that government policies have been contributing to the “ominous signs of decay” eroding family, community and education. She warned that family, community, and higher education, as well as the practice of science and proper taxation, were “in the process of becoming irrelevant, and so are dangerously close to the brink of lost memory and cultural uselessness.” We feel this in our bones. Yet, what political party is addressing the threat? Real policies in the real world can lead us to a better future. Poor policies, badly conceived, imperfectly imagined and poorly implemented, could leave our children and their children in an unlivable world. The Green Party believes improvements can be made immediately while recognizing that long-term planning is essential if generations to come are to benefit. This is the Green Plan for Canada. These are the steps we will take when we form government. These are the policies we will advance to other parties until that time. We will work collaboratively in the House of Commons to shift priorities, to promote those innovative ideas whose time has come. “Nothing else in the world…not all the armies…is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo We start with a vision of the society we want.
- Does it advance the common good?
- Does it advance global peace and security?
- Does it address the needs of children?
- Does it ensure Canada’s continued quality of life and economic health?
- Does it make families more secure?
- Does it protect, enhance, and restore the life support systems of the planet?
- Does it promote systems − cultural, institutional, and technological − that are resilient and capable of adapting to shocks in a more unpredictable world?
The Green Government will jettison the baggage of currently stagnant political thinking. The Greens will leave the old-line parties to fight for turf at the cutting edge of the status quo. We have a vision. With your vote and your help, we can make it real. “Without vision, the people perish.” Proverbs, Hebrew Testament What kind of Canada do we want in 2020? How do we get there from here? The Green Party holds a positive vision of Canada, now and into the future.
Part 1: The Green Economy
Part 2: Averting Climate Catastrophe
Part 3: Preserving and Restoring the Environment
Part 4: People
Part 5: The planet needs Canada (and vice versa)
Part 6: Good Government