Letter to Members

Elizabeth May
Dear member of the Green Party of Canada, Assuming our technology works, this message will reach you very close to the time that the Leader of the Liberal Party and I jointly hold a press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Today, we change the face of Canadian politics. Today we will demonstrate that the Green Party is a serious political party, running to win in ridings across Canada. We will also be making it clear that the planet does not have time for the old, tired, cynical game of politics. We do not have time for games at all. We are serious and we need to put our country and the planet first. That is why Stéphane Dion, a man whom you know I admire on a personal basis, and I will announce that our respective parties will not be fielding candidates in each others' ridings. Our joint statement is found at the end of this message. I have discovered a lot about politics since becoming Leader of the Green Party less than eight months ago. I have discovered that there is a nastiness to partisanship that exceeds sense. It is essentially a form of tribalism, and quite primitive tribalism at that. As Leader of the Green Party, some would prefer I never said that Mr. Harper's policies are the biggest threat to our planet and our country, even though they know that to be true. They would prefer I never said that Mr. Dion is a man of integrity (even if we can all agree his Party has appalling baggage). I promised when I ran for leadership to be a relentless truth-teller. Even if that might be to a short-term disadvantage. The Green Party will always put principle and progress above petty partisanship. So I am proud of what Stéphane and I have agreed to do. In addition to not running against me in Central Nova, he has signaled a willingness to reform our electoral system. This is real progress toward Green goals. You should also know that the door remains open to Jack Layton and the NDP to find some way to cooperate to achieve progress particularly in rapid reduction of greenhouse gases to meet Kyoto targets. I have been attempting to reach Jack Layton for months. I hope there is still some chance of cooperation. Please be prepared for this historic step to be misunderstood and deliberately mis-characterized. Adriane Carr, Deputy Leader, is running in Vancouver Centre. We have made it a priority that she win, defeating Liberal incumbent Hedy Fry (by the way, Mr. Dion never asked me to withdraw or alter any other ridings than those of the leaders.) Across Canada, Greens will be running against Liberals. We have significant (huge, when one considers NAFTA and other policy areas) disagreements. Campaigns of Greens across Canada must be stronger and we must elect a solid caucus, not one or two MPs in the next election. Thus, it is clear we are not "endorsing" Liberals. The Green Party is emphatically against strategic voting. But in the archaic first past the post system, how else is the Green Party to work to ensure the democratic will of the majority is heard? How else can we signal cooperation , not competitiveness, is our core value? Your support through letters to the editor, etc would be appreciated. Thanks for your support, for your patience, and if you have misgivings, for your openness to the potential for real change. We live in interesting times and they just got a lot more interesting. Elizabeth