The time for compromise has come and gone. A certain temperature increase is inevitable — already “locked in” — but if we are to have any chance of preventing runaway global warming and the destruction this would entail, then we need to start saying no right now to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Either we stay below the two-degree warming threshold or we don’t. Politicians who only get us partway there are no better than those who don’t even try.
This is the issue of primary importance during the election campaign underway here in British Columbia. Environmental questions are the ones with the most profound, far-reaching, and long-lasting impacts. Air, water, land, food, climate. These are not frivolous, “post-materialist” concerns that we have the luxury to think about only when there’s nothing else on the radar. They are inescapably wrapped up in our collective survival.
In this context, limiting our consideration to just the NDP and the Liberals won’t cut it. We British Columbians must “think globally” while we vote locally. It is time for us to embrace the Green Party.
No one is perfect, but a brief look at the party’s platform makes it clear how the Greens got their name. They alone in the electoral field support raising the carbon tax, and they are the ones most consistently opposed to oil pipelines. On natural gas, the Greens provide a lone voice of skepticism towards LNG and propose a moratorium on new gas developments. They even go so far as to endorse relocalization and to question our current economic model of perpetual growth.
On non-environmental issues, the Greens favour the creation of a Guaranteed Livable Income as a means of poverty elimination, ensuring that no one in BC falls below the Statistics Canada low-income cut-off. This would amount to a major raise for those on welfare or disability, while at the same time reducing administrative costs by combining all social assistance programs into one. The Greens also propose a living wage for public sector employees, a phase-out of BC’s regressive MSP premiums, and a drastic reduction in post-secondary tuition fees. They support an end to drug prohibition (which is, strictly speaking, a matter of federal jurisdiction, but provinces do have the freedom to set their own policing priorities). And more than any other party, the Greens are committed to a deepening of democracy through free votes in the Legislature, campaign finance reform, electoral reform, and an expanded use of citizens’ assemblies.
So why vote Green? Why vote for a party that is not Liberal or NDP, not one of the two main contenders? A party with a reputation for being marginal, minor league, no more than a protest vote? Simply put: because the Greens have the strongest policies on the issues that matter most.
Considering all that is at stake, why would one vote otherwise?
This post appears on rabble.ca.