NDP and Greens battle it out to be Canada’s third (fourth?) party

I found an interesting article on Canada’s two minor parties. I gotta confess that watching Canadian politics has been a hobby of mine ever since I dated a girl in British Columbia. Even though it’ll likely never affect me, it’s an interesting mirror to what American politics might have looked like under a Parliamentary system, and therefore it’s fascinating.

Well, at any rate, remember how the Greens kicked posterior and took names in a recent by-election? Well, it looks like this is why:

Earlier this fall, the government’s proposed Clean Air Act landed with a loud thud in public opinion. Rather than shore up the environment credentials of the Conservatives, the bill highlighted the absence of them.

To make matters worse for Harper, the environment has inched its way up the voter list of priorities since the last federal election, especially in markets where the Prime Minister’s party needs to break into to secure a majority.

To sum up the rest of the article, it essentially looks like the New Democratic Party severely miscalculated. They knew they couldn’t challenge the Greens’ environmental cred so they didn’t even try, and instead focused on things like the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

However, the environment has ended up being a major issue among voters in districts that the Conservatives need to pick up in order to obtain a majority government, and so both the Tories and the NDP are left with the necessity to write some serious environmental legislation. If they fail… then the Liberals, newly-greenified under their new leader Stephane Dion, will pinch the NDP out of existence together with the Green Party, who will become Canada’s newest major leftie third party.

My thoughts on all this? I understand that the Canadian Greens are a little more free-market than your average Green Party, and certainly less socialistic than the NDP, so I’m kinda rooting for them in the absence of a serious Canadian Libertarian Party. However, I haven’t really heard much on the new Green leader, so my information might be out of date.

3 Responses to “NDP and Greens battle it out to be Canada’s third (fourth?) party”

  1. Phil Says:

    The new Green leader is more like an actual Green, not like the somewhat economically conservative Harris who used to run the party. The Green leader was also born in America, but that’s unrelated.

    Anyways, Dion is putting a huge emphasis on the environment this next election so I think he’ll slow the Green monster. They could still pick up an MP in Nova Scotia though. The NDP also has a strong base that isn’t going to stray over to the Greens, plus the NDP just has several fundamental differences from the Greens.

  2. Otto Kerner Says:

    Based on casual observation, it seems that Green Parties tend to become Just Another Party pretty fast once they get a whiff of real power. They are willing to get with the program. The same would probably happen with a libertarian party, too, under the same circumstances, we just haven’t gotten to see it yet. The situation with the Moviemento in Costa Rica last year was pretty close.

  3. Sean Scallon Says:

    I agree with you Stuart, I find Canadian politics far more fascinating than American politics and I prefer a parlimentary system to a Congressional system. Now it may have been back at the time of the Revolution that the British Parliment was throroughly corrupt and undemocratic which may have influenced the founders thinking, but look at the situation today. MPs, whether in Canada or the UK, do not get paid all that much so don’t view the job as a career, don’t use the public treasury as trough to benefit their constituencies and have campaign that are short and far less expensive than U.S. ones. Plus, a Parlimentary system allows for more parties to have a voice in government.

    As for the Greens and NDP, the NDP was founded as a progressive party out on Canada’s prairies and has support from Canadian unions. However, as the left grows more cosmopolitian and higher schooled, the working class NDP finds itself in a bind between the Liberals and the Greens. The next election, when it comes, will be a battle between the Greens and the NDP to see who is the leftist party in Canada.

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