Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker
By Peter Bevan-Baker (guest opinion)
I remember the days when the political party to whom I have devoted my life rarely got a mention in any political discussions, never mind being referenced in an editorial, so it was with a certain degree of delight that I read the Guardian editorial of Aug. 11 which was entirely about the Greens. That delight was tempered as I read a version of the old and entrenched misconception that the Green Party is a “single issue” party. As the editorial stated “(The Greens) are now trying to convince Canadians there is much more to the party than meets the eye.”
Combatting the myth that we are nothing more than an environmental organization is an ongoing battle for those of us who have spent decades talking about the economic and social policies of the Greens. Finally it seems that Canadians are accepting that we are indeed a fully fledged political party, worthy of wide support and representation in legislatures across the country.
Certainly our federal leader, Elizabeth May is in part responsible for this, as she has spoken eloquently and thoughtfully on every issue before the House of Commons. Indeed she has stood out as an MP who has, through her industry and integrity, won the respect of her peers in Ottawa (twice in a row being voted as hardest working MP), and solidified support in her own riding. It is now up to other Greens across Canada to carry this message of a new and better way of doing politics to the public.
I have remained a Green Party devotee because I have a deep belief that the values the Party espouses and the policies we have developed represent a clear and welcome departure from politics as usual.
So many critical support systems upon which human societies depend are in peril. Food, water and energy supplies are becoming increasingly vulnerable; our climate and global economy more unstable; our vulnerability to disease and social unrest increase yearly. Politics as usual, far from alleviating these problems, seems more often than not, to make them worse.
A new approach with a long-term vision and a deeper understanding of our place within, and reliance on the natural systems which make life for us all possible is desperately needed. Underlying the unravelling of all these economic, social and environmental systems is one thing — the health of our planet.
There is no economy and no society without clean air, water and soil. So in a sense there is only one issue that really matters when it comes to our continued successful inhabitation of this world, and that is the maintenance of a healthy planet.
Maybe the Greens, as our name suggests are a one issue party after all: the only political party with a full understanding of our dependence on a robust and healthy environment. With increasing support for the Greens, it appears that more and more Canadians are getting this too.
Peter Bevan-Baker of Hampton is leader of the Green Party of P.E.I.