Unite the Greens?

04.13.07

No, not a merger, just some limited cooperation.

The deal between the Liberals and the Green Party that will see the Libs step back so that Elizabeth May can compete seriously for a seat, is, on the surface, a smart move for both parties. The Liberals have made it clear that, under Dion’s leadership, the environment is their #1 issue. The Greens have always made the environment their #1 issue. So they’re competing for the same pool of voters, and that pool is getting bigger every day as climate change has gradually shifted from being a “polls well but irrelevant on voting day” issue to an issue that can actually affect election results.

But will it backfire? If the Libs move left, will that just open up more space for the Conservatives to make gains in the middle? Conversely, it was arguably the Green Party that – despite a lack of elected MPs – elevated the environment to such a key voting issue in the first place.

The Liberal Party can’t afford to become a one-issue party, even if it is tempting for them to spend the entire next election campaign attacking the Harper government on its environmental record. (The ads are already in the can, I hear). That’s what fringe parties are useful for; bringing single issues to the forefront. But both parties that can govern – the Libs and the Tories – need to campaign on a range of issues representing the broad spectrum of governmental responsibilities. Anything less simply isn’t fair to Canadians.

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