is intriguing to watch the coverage of the Green Party in the federal
election because the conventional wisdom -- that it will take votes
from the NDP -- is confounded by the party's actual policies. While
the analysis is likely correct, a look at Green policies reveals that
this party is really a Conservative alternative, not a social
democratic one. Its fiscal, economic and even environmental policies
would be a near perfect fit for the old Progressive Conservative
In fact, the Greens are led by a former Tory, Jim
Harris, and under his direction have become the quintessential small
government, pro-market party.
(photo: Green Party Canada)
Their social analysis says virtually nothing about the
structural causes of poverty, and their solutions borrow from both the
former PCs and the Alliance. They talk about how a Green government
would "enhance the existing network of ... school nutrition ...
and food-bank programs ..." to eliminate hunger in Canada. Those
who study poverty with a view to ending it see food banks not as a
solution, but as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the way
governments approach poverty.
The party is committed to smaller government in a way
that no other party is, except the new Conservatives. With respect to
the devastated federal public service -- characterized by massive
downsizing, unprecedented stress levels, completely inadequate
staffing to carry out department mandates and years without real
increases in pay -- the Green Party has a single response, and it
sounds a lot like Stephen Harper's: "Reform the public sector to
be more responsive and accountable." This is union busting by
another name, and seems to promise the continuation of the right-wing
assault on government employees. If you want the public service to be
"responsive," the logical solution is to return it to
functional staffing levels.