Being a self-described partisan, I don’t always take the time to reflect on what other parties in Canada do well. I’ve previously written for this blog about the ups and downs of partisanship, and let me be very clear: partisanship is only as good as the inclusivity of party members. The Liberal Party of Canada is very much a “big red tent”, and many different ideas, opinions, and stories are welcome within it. It is truly my party, and I am a proud member of it. That being said, I can still admire aspects of other parties.
When asked to pick one thing that I admire about another party, I was a tad overwhelmed. Certainly I can applaud different aspects of all political parties (perhaps some more than others), but what is ONE quality of ONE other party that I admire? My answer might surprise you.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Green Party of Canada, namely its leader, Elizabeth May. This may seem like an unconventional choice. With only two members in the House of Commons (and only Ms. May was elected to Parliament as a Green), the Green Party seems to have very little impact on the overall Canadian political climate, even in comparison to the recently diminished Liberal Party as of the 2011 election seat-wise. This fact is exactly why I have admiration for the Greens.
I don’t think anyone, even Ms. May herself, would disagree with me when I say that it is virtually impossible for the Green Party to form a government in the next election, or in many more to come. The Green Party does not have the same voting power in Parliament, and it is often forgotten by Canadians. For me, Elizabeth May and the Green Party are therefore a wonderful example of perseverance, fidelity, and a sense of purpose. On a personal level, would it be better for Ms. May to simply join another party with more political power? Perhaps. Will she do that? Absolutely not. I admire her because she is principled. She fights for what she believes in, regardless of whether or not it is popular. To do what is right rather than what is convenient is a guiding principle that I feel is often absent from other political parties in Canada, namely the governing Conservative Party.
Having the Green Party as Canada’s “little-engine-that-could” only serves to benefit Canadians, in my opinion. It keeps our system diverse, it represents more interests, and it brings the environment, an issue of inexplicable importance, into the spotlight.
Am I a Green Party supporter? Not in the traditional sense. I believe that other Green policies are not substantial regarding forming a government. Does this mean it is a “waste” of a party? No way. Not all parties are meant to be governing parties. The Green Party can help serve as a catalyst for change through ways other than sheer political size. To me, this is admirable. I wish more parties and their leaders would consider their message before their might.