Sunday, May 19, 2019

Something's Got To Give

For those of us who would like to see the Green Party hold the balance of power in  Ottawa, Robin Sears turns to recent history and offers a cautionary tale:

Forty years ago this spring, an eloquent, passionate, young American-educated German named Petra Kelly helped to launch the Green movement that swept first West Germany and then much of Western Europe. Kelly was one of those naturally charismatic politicians who drew supporters from a broad sweep of German voters: left and right, young and old.
Before her death the rapidly growing Green Party was fraught with fierce internal debates between those who wanted to govern, and those who refused to compromise on an agenda that was fiscally and politically impossible. The two camps, one dubbed the “fundamentalists” and the other the “realists” broke the momentum of their early years. Petra Kelly was a “fundi” herself, and became estranged from the party she helped to found, as the “realos” gradually took over.

Navigating the tensions in any political party is not easy -- as Justin Trudeau can attest. May could find herself trying to keep the different camps in her party happy:

It is easy to envision an adroit squeeze play by a shakily re-elected Justin Trudeau, or Andrew Scheer as the prime minister of any minority government. . . Set up a vote of confidence early in the new Parliament based on a decades long, sharply rising carbon pricing agenda, locked in combination with setting the first shovels in the ground on TMX. If the Greens vote yes they will enrage their base. Vote no, and they defeat the government, and they are into a snap election which threatens annihilation.
The climate crisis is a painful irritation for an already wobbly federal government. But they have a short-term trump: “A Green vote means a Scheer government.” For the NDP the threat is more existential. Most European social democratic parties, bobbing and weaving, co-operated with or tried to clobber the Greens. Both strategies lead to more fragmentation of political loyalties, and a steady weakening of the traditional parties’ dominance.
For Elizabeth May to continue to push herself and her party into ever more dismissive and hard-edged rejection of any compromise with the resource sector may be great politics in the short term. But most Canadians know that theirs is a nation built on those industries. Weaning them off their massive carbon emission loads is a project of decades not days.

And that is the dilemma we all face. People move slowly. And the clock is ticking relentlessly. Something's got to give.

Image: Rogers-Long Team


zoombats said...

I guess Greens will enter this upcoming election with the regular amount of trepidation. Some of the new converts will have to navigate those pitfalls of breaking the vote and replacing the government with Sheer. That is something that we will have to face and not be swayed from making the only real choice we have. As I have been saying, a vote for Green is not a vote for Sheer it is an educated, vote of conscience. Regardless of the outcome Greens who are committed to voting with their heart will get the recognition nationwide as being people who care and want change and the minority Sheer/Trudeau swamp will have to duke it out.

Owen Gray said...

The Green Party faces the task of educating Canadians, zoombats. It must convince them to do difficult things -- because they have no other option. It can be done, but it won't be easy.

thwap said...

Sears makes a number of debatable assertions in those quotes.

First: That the "fundie-greens" were the ones responsible for the party's collapse. That they were demanding "the impossible."

The trajectory that we're on, and that the "fundi-greens" were trying to alter, is what is impossible.

"Social Democrats" have flamed-out because they got totally captured by soulless mediocrities who put their own blinkered notions of "realism" and "electability" ahead of the ideals of their parties' memberships.

Politicians have to start deciding whether they believe in what they claim to believe or whether they'll say or do anything to try to get elected and "stay relevant."

We should choose to do the RIGHT thing and not to make a series of self-destructive comprommises with scum-bags to play their rigged games.

Owen Gray said...

Doing the right thing takes a profile in courage, thwap. There aren't a lot of those. That's why John F. Kennedy said he wrote a thin book. It's good to hear from you.

Danneau said...

Just thought you'd be interested to know that I posted a link to this article of FaceBook and it was rejected because it goes against their community standards. If this is how the social media giants propose to police fake news, we're in big trouble. Also, pertaining to the article itself, I live in a riding represented by a Dipper who has been consistent in standing up for ecological integrity. Will make for a difficult choice, especially with a nasty bit of Con red meat waiting in the wings.

Owen Gray said...

I've been informed by others that my blog runs contrary to Facebook's community standards, Danneau. One commenter claimed that "oily trolls" had logged a complaint. I noticed yesterday that somebodies from the United States and Ireland had gone from Facebook to my blog. I don't know if I've been banned in Canada or worldwide. As Mr. Lincoln said, "You can never please all of the people all of the time."

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree with Thwap. This business about politics as the "art of the possible" only demonstrates how politics as we know it offers only political responses to what is a scientific problem. Politics will always get a failing grade when faced with an existential threat that the political caste can pretend doesn't exist.

How do you "cost out" survival?

Sears gives the game away with this:

"For Elizabeth May to continue to push herself and her party into ever more dismissive and hard-edged rejection of any compromise with the resource sector may be great politics in the short term. But most Canadians know that theirs is a nation built on those industries. Weaning them off their massive carbon emission loads is a project of decades not days."

Where does he suggest we find these extra decades? We don't have that luxury which pretty much undercuts Sears' and his party's approach. Would that we were back in the 80s when the Germany Greens arose. We're not. We're on the cusp of 2020, a decade that promises to be more challenging and dangerous than anything Sears can imagine. We have until 2030 to cut our emissions by half and we're not even accepting that duty. We're falling ever further behind even meeting Harper's stated target of 30 per cent by 2030.

Like so many pundits Sears approaches the problem as though cutting GHG emissions is some signature issue. He omits other issues, potentially just as existential. In other words, he's a fool and like his contemporaries in his party, the Libs and the Tories, a dangerous fool.

Owen Gray said...

The science tells us we don't have a minute to lose, Mound. But we're stuck in our usual way of doing politics. And it's that disconnect that will be our undoing -- unless we decide to take the science seriously. There are signs that the young do. But, so far, their influence has not been felt.

Rural said...

"I've been informed by others that my blog runs contrary to Facebook's community standards,"
Good god! I cannot think of a more measured middle if the road blog and given that most of you content is taken from previously published material available for pubic view and given the 'crap' that Facebook will publish I am totally blown away. I do NOT subscribe to that 'garbage' platform and never will, but they publish Trump so what can you expect!
Sorry Owen, was going to say how much I agreed with the post re the Greens who I think are much needed in a 'balance of power' position but that other 'crap' got me pissed off.....

Owen Gray said...

We live in strange times, Rural. There's a lot of false information making the rounds. And there are a lot of attempts to suppress information. It boils down to a straight forward message: Choose your sources of information carefully.

Anonymous said...

Censored by a foreign-based company because of violation of community standards. Amazing. That's dictatorship by a foreign power.

So beholden to corporate dictates are our western governments, they agonize for years on how to keep tabs on the big social media platforms, and then get nowhere, letting unctuous pr!cks like Zuckerberg get away with anything they damn well please. Next thing we'll find we have to communicate with government on a commercial platform, which I simply refuse to do. Period. IBM has taken Canada for $2.6 billion for Phoenix Pay, something you probably could get Quickbooks to do. It's obscene.

As for the Green issue. The Dippers, Libs and Cons will print any old garbage to try to dissuade people voting for Green, trying to raise fears. I am afeared of all of those standard dolts myself - they'll give us more of the same, tinged slightly this way or that as they waffle forever on climate change and getting nowhere. I just laugh at their desperation and squawks, the coming end to the free lunch and privileges.

So Green it is.


Owen Gray said...

I'd like to publish your comment, Anon. If you initial it and send it back to me, I'll publish it with the other comments.

Owen Gray said...

Judging from your comment -- and the comments of others -- the Greens should do well in the next election, BM. As for Facebook, my wife joined to keep up with what your kids were doing once they left home. That is the only utility it has for us.

John B. said...

Will the Greens take any ridings from the CRAP Party?

Owen Gray said...

A really good question, John. Given CRAP's affinity for petroleum, I doubt it.