Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 13, 2022
The sad decline of the Green party
Climate change is no longer something we need to prepare for. It is here, in the form of extreme weather, and this country, and, indeed the world, is reacting to a crisis no longer at our door, but in our kitchen.
Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian are just the two most recent extreme weather disasters that are bringing death, destruction, darkness and despair to North America. We have also dealt with record heat, raging wildfires and a litany of “once in a century” storms that hit with frightening regularity, making a mockery of such hyperbolic labels. It also hurts the Canadian economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed $300 million in a relief package to rebuild after Fiona.
The Green Party of Canada had long held more mainstream parties accountable on dealing with climate change and a vibrant party pushing for more robust action would be crucial to the discourse of 2022.
But, that type of contribution is no more. There are signs that the national party could soon be no more.
There are those who would argue that the demise of the Greens began when Canada’s mainstream parties (with the notable exception of the federal Conservatives) began dealing seriously with climate change. We are now in an era when even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is mapping a strategy for NetZero by 2050 and the Canadian corporate community has long known that transitioning to low-carbon energy is no longer aspirational. Failure to act damages the bottom line.
But the steep decline of the Greens wasn’t sparked by the loss of its signature issue. It was the product of hubris. Rarely has a political party more completely lost touch with its raison d’etre. It is there to serve and advocate for its constituents, not settle internal scores and bury itself in a grave of leaked grievances, threats, petty sniping, charges of misgendering and legal minutiae.
But that has been the sad recent history of the Greens, post-Elizabeth May. Jonathan Pedneault, a Quebec Green seeking to become co-leader with May, put it this way: “Right now, Canadian voters would be hard pressed to look at us and think that we are a viable option.”
He’s being optimistic if he thinks Canadians are looking at them. Most have looked away, in the manner in which one would recoil from a bus crash.
Most of the Green dysfunction over the past couple of years has been chronicled first – and in excruciating detail – by Torstar’s Alex Ballingall and Raisa Patel. News stories have chronicled party resignations and allegations of exclusion, discrimination and toxicity.
The leadership of Annamie Paul crumbled amidst charges and countercharges. She said she was destabilized from within. Party officials said she could not accept the party’s principle of decentralized authority. Then Paul, a Black, Jewish woman, accused unnamed party members of racism and misogyny.
Now, the party has eliminated a round of voting in a federal leadership contest with one official saying the party lacked the morale and motivation to handle two rounds of voting. The party is said to be losing money and is at risk of having to close its Ottawa headquarters. It has two MPs, May and Kitchener’s Mike Morrice, it polls about three per cent support and last year won its smallest vote total since the turn of the century.
There remain signs of Green life at the provincial level, and that’s good. But sadly, it is difficult to find a pulse on the federal scene. If we lose the Greens, the lament will be for what they could have been, not for what they have become. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro …