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Maxed Out: The irrelevance of Canada’s ‘only relevant’ political party—The Greens

The Green Party's new co-leader, Elizabeth May.

“We’re the only relevant party.”

Quick quiz. Which Canadian politician said those words recently?

If you guessed David Eby, the newly-minted premier of all British Columbians, you’d be wrong. While it is possible the NDP are the only relevant party in the province—although with the upcoming change in the Liberal-in-name-only party to B.C. United, not to be understandably confused with a non-existent soccer team—he didn’t say that.

Likewise, Danielle Smith, Alberta’s loony premier, didn’t say it either. When you think about it, something like that would have been one of the more reasonable things she’s ever said.

Justin Trudeau, leader of the natural-governing federal Liberal Party certainly thinks that but probably wouldn’t say it without apologizing first and worrying about infuriating Jagmeet Singh, co-leader of the Liberal-NDP coalition.

The leader of the loyal opposition federal Conservative party, PeePee Poilibear, undoubtedly believes his party is the only relevant party, but undermines that notion every time he opens his mouth... or posts a video on social media.

No, the self-described only relevant party is—muted drum roll—the Green Party. Yes, the Green Party, according to its back-to-the-future, newly elected co-leader, Elizabeth May, is the only relevant party in Canadian federal politics.

“Why?” I hear you ask. Because, May says, “The Greens are more trustworthy than other parties on the environment.”

If you pay any attention to issues relating to the environment and the climate “crisis,” you quickly discover there are two or more camps fighting for hearts and minds. There’s the economic-hardship camp, peopled with pragmatists and climate deniers who argue Canada is such a bit player in CO2 emissions that whatever we do is a fart in the breeze in the overall scale of the problem and only likely to cause economic hardship and lead to loonies like Smith running Alberta.

And there’s the scientific camp that implores us to look at the science and stop emitting CO2 before we turn Canada and the rest of the planet into sub-Saharan Africa. Presumably the Greens hew more closely to the scientific camp.

But the science—all science—is based, largely, on mathematics. And that’s where the Greenies’ claim of relevance begins to break down. Okay, it completely disintegrates.

In the last federal election, which you can be forgiven for having suppressed in your memory even though it was only 14 months ago, the Green Party received 2.33 per cent of the popular vote. Even that abysmal result was largely because of Mrs. May’s stubborn hold on her Vancouver Island riding, which gave them three MPs, since reduced to two as a result of the astute leadership of the former party leader, Annamie Paul.

By contrast, the Bloc Quebecois, a party that doesn’t even run candidates outside of Quebec, garnered 7.64 per cent of the vote, and the crazy-as-a-loon People’s Party racked up twice as many votes as the Greens.

Relevant? More like rounding error.

By stepping back to lead the Green Party, Mrs. May is both missing the point—the point being the Green Party is completely irrelevant—and missing an opportunity to actually contribute something useful to the dialogue and possibly even action on climate mitigation, the last, slim hope we have for avoiding a local banana industry in B.C.

Her energy and pair of percentage points of the popular vote would have more voice and power if she were to fold the party into the governing Liberal Party. Rather than have no ability to move the needle on environmental policy, she would at least have a seat at the table to help affect change.

More importantly, she would not be siphoning votes—admittedly not a lot—away from defeating the Conservative Party, which continues to promise to roll back the carbon tax and model Canada’s climate policy on the game Blind Man’s Bluff.

Environment aside, a Conservative victory in the next election would be a disaster on other fronts. Last week PeePee’s Just Say No video on how he would handle the opioid overdose issue suggests he fails to understand even the basics, hasn’t learned a thing from the decades-old war on drugs, and will dredge up any zombie he thinks might spark his base of intolerables, as opposed to conservative-minded Conservatives who are at least still able to reason.

PeePee claims the province’s approach, offering addicts access to a safer supply of drugs, is a failed experiment. Failed because there are still far too many people overdosing and dying in Vancouver. Failed because it is an insane policy devised by a “woke Liberal and NDP government.” (Hint: Any time someone uses the word “woke” in other than a satirical sense, whatever they say should immediately be ignored.)

His solution is to strengthen Canada’s border, not to, say, build a wall, and intercept that tsunami of illicit drugs before it reaches the streets. Now is probably a good time to ask yourself what planet PeePee lives on.

Canada’s land border is more than 5,000 kilometres long. Its coastal border is over 3,800 km long. Canada has 13 international airports, some 500 airports in total and countless places to land some form of plane on land or water.

There are 57 federal correctional institutions in Canada. There isn’t one able to completely keep drugs out.

Is it just me or is PeePee and anyone else who thinks the answer to Canada’s drug problem is tightening up supply coming across the border suffering from some kind of brain malfunction? Rhetorical question.

I’ll admit it’s taken a long time for me to completely warm up to the idea of government being the corner drug pusher. It was a deep dive into the history of prohibition and alcohol consumption that convinced me it was a good idea.

Before governments stepped in, adulterated, often home-made alcohol killed, blinded and otherwise incapacitated thousands of people globally each year.

Prohibition obviously didn’t work. In fact, it exacerbated the problem by cutting off  “clean” supplies of alcohol. But regulating, licensing and to some extent or another controlling the sale of liquor eliminated the problem. People can and do still drink themselves to death, but it’s not from consumption of poisons in their bottles.

Governments will never staunch the numbers of folks bent on getting high or finding pain relief through opioids. But only governments can ensure a safer supply of drugs and underpin that supply with programs to help people deal with their devils in a better way.

Obviously, like environmental action, not if guys like PeePee hold the reins of power and not if ideologues like Mrs. May continue to enable his efforts by failing to see the reality of power politics. 

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