Wednesday, December 6, 2006

What's good for the Greens?

I've seen a number of articles on the web suggesting that the election of Stéphane Dion as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will somehow be bad for the Green Party because he has come out strongly for the environment.

If the Greens were like the traditional parties, we might see it that way - but we're not like the other parties. Getting elected is not our goal - it's just a tool. Our goal is to advance the green principles. If that goal can be advanced by other parties, that's a good thing.

That said, the Green Party is not a one-issue party. Yes, the environment is at the top of our priorities - given the current extreme global crisis we are facing. However, there is a lot more to the Greens than just the environment.

That most of the other parties in Canada are increasing their attention on environmental issues is good, but doesn't change the fundamental structures and ideologies of those parties. They are all still rooted in the political modes of past centuries.

One of the key things distinguishing the Greens from all of the other parties is that we don't assume we have "the answers" for every single community out there. The other parties all bring a paternalistic assumption that they know best. The Greens bring the cooperative assumption that every situation needs the dialogue of all those affected in order to determine the best choices to make.

That's participatory democracy, rather than the old representative democracy the traditional parties are based on. I, along with Greens around the world, believe it to be a far better way.

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