Congratulations Canadian Green Party

It is great to see that Elizabeth May has won the Canadian Green Party’s first seat in the Canadian Parliament. The NZ Greens offer her our heartfelt congratulations on such an extraordinary accomplishment.  We wish her the best in holding the Conservative Party to account.

I lived in Canada (Ottawa) for three years a while back – beautiful country, and great people.  I have an appreciation for the complexities of its domestic politics, and how proud Canada’s country’s foreign policy used to be through UN peacekeeping and human rights leadership.

This result comes on the back of a wave of Green successes in Britain, Australia, Germany and France. I believe the tides of change are coming and we’ll start making genuine progress on the many critical global issues facing our world.

That said, the wonderful Canadian result also highlights how deeply flawed their first-past-the post electoral system is. If they had a fair proportional system that provides for representation that matches the amount of support they have – the Greens would have 13 seats in Parliament.

In the 2008 election they had almost a million votes but no representation in Parliament.  That situation is intrinsically unfair.  It undermines the fundamental tenet of democracy – that people have someone to represent them in decision-making.

We believe it is vital that MMP is retained in New Zealand in this year’s referendum and that we not return to the unrepresentative FPP system.  MMP makes sure that a party’s share of power is directly proportional to the share of votes it wins, and there’s no chance of an unfair and undemocratic outcome.

Anyway, congratulations again to Elizabeth May.  I met and worked with Elizabeth at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference – one of the few good things to come out of the meeting for me.  We’ve stayed in contact ever since on this and I’m looking forward immensely to collaborating with her on this most vital of all issues, now that she will be spending much of her time in Ottawa.

5 Comments Posted

  1. @insider
    Almost everyone I know who votes Green in a usual election voted for the social democrat party this year in an effort to minimize the number of ridings electing conservative MPs. As a result the NDP increased the number of votes and seats they received exponentially.

    Unfortunately Stephen Harper and his party still pulled through to form a majority government. It was an interesting and sad election for the left leaning vote in Canada, with the exception of Elizabeth May being elected.

  2. @insider 4:48 PM

    That may have been the case, but it would have been a fair and representative result. That a party can get 54.2% of the seats and govern alone while getting only 39.6% of the vote, as the Conservatives did in Canada, is a travesty of democracy.

  3. FPP does that to minor parties – nevertheless, even with a smaller turnout their share of seats under PR would much higher than one. Also, the very fact of having more chance of being represented is an incentive to vote for what you believe in rather than the lesser of the evils.

  4. Way to spin a half story. A PR system would have been an electoral disaster for the Greens. They lost over 1/3 of their vote- dropped 350k votes. Bit of a pyrrhic victory if you ask me.

  5. Sadly other than our electoral systems I see some parallels in what is happening in Canada to what is happening here. Their huge tar sands excavations could be compared to our future lignite mines and they are experiencing a similar dismantling of their education system.

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