My Green vote: weary, hopeful and defiant

Must put political beliefs and good conscience on the back burner and vote NDP?

To the editor;

It happens every election.  The NDP line up and lecture other lefties on how they mustn’t split the vote and open an avenue for the current government to retain power.

It’s always the same.  Defeating the political right is of paramount importance, they sternly warn, and a vote for the Greens is a vote for the right.

Some of the more progressive among them take the debate a step further, recognizing that electoral math is not hard, that everyone can do it, and that there are actually good reasons to vote Green.

Nevertheless, in defense of the math (as if 410 ppm carbon dioxide did not also count as math) they insist we must put political beliefs and good conscience on the back burner and vote NDP.

Perhaps 2017 is an inauspicious year, following so closely upon the 2015 federal election, endless talk about “strategic” voting, and abundant promises of Real Change.  Even if you disbelieved Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises and weren’t disillusioned when he broke so many of them, it doesn’t mean you’re in the mood to hear them repeated.

As a reminder, Trudeau promised fact-based decision-making, and also promised the needs of the economy and the needs of the environment could be balanced.  From the get-go, he ignored the fact that every dollar invested in clean energy will yield three to seven times more jobs than a dollar invested in fossil fuels.

He also ignored the fact our parents taught us – you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.  His pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change failed to provide what he said it did, a pathway to approving tar sands pipelines and LNG projects while meeting established GHG emissions reduction targets.

A final insult in an overheated world, environment minister Catherine McKenna announced just days ago that implementation of methane regulations will be put off three years.  The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers explained that it was in reaction to their demands that the government rolled back the date.

Disappointingly, the NDP is no less captured by fossil fuel interests than Trudeau and McKenna, or than Christy Clark.  Lambasting Clark’s “phony promises” on LNG jobs, John Horgan says he will deliver the LNG industry that she hasn’t, and also “achieve the highest environmental standards while respecting our commitments to combating climate change”.

But experts have calculated that fracked shale gas has a heavy GHG footprint due to fugitive methane leaks – some say a footprint as heavy as coal’s.  Horgan’s promise was as phony as Clark’s even before McKenna effectively said all bets on methane limits and “clean growth” were off.

Count me weary – too weary to support such charlatans any longer.

Count me hopeful – I know a better way lies with the new green economy.

And count me defiant.  Ours is not a two-party system despite what the NDP want us to believe.  It’s perfectly legitimate to vote Green, and it’s perfectly possible that the Greens could wind up holding the balance of power in a minority NDP government.

Furthermore, in ridings where Green candidates won’t overtake the NDP, our votes will not be wasted.  They’ll signal to the NDP that if they want our votes in future, they had better take our phone calls, answer our emails, and deliver the policy that we, the progressive left, can get behind.  The days of supporting fossil fuels and their lobbyists are over.

Dianne Varga

Penticton, B.C.