Green Party Platform, Part 2: "The Ten Key Values"
The Green Party platform contains a section that addresses the first two questions... their "Ten Key Values". Interestingly enough, it is placed in the middle of the document, neatly at the halfway point of their policy sections. Not sure whether this indicates any hidden meaning or if it is just a coincidence, but it's different, I'll grant you that much.
Anyway, here are the Green Party's Ten Key Values:
Social Justice — Without justice there can be no liberty, no stability and no lasting progress. We must act locally and globally to secure human rights and achieve a just society.Here are some of my thoughts and reactions to this list of values.
Nonviolence — Every act of violence delays our progress toward a just society. Anger closes the open mind. Fear hinders constructive change.
Sustainability — Activities are sustainable if they can be continued without diminishing the opportunities and resources available to future generations. We have only one planet to live on.
Decentralization — The people most affected by a problem must have the authority to solve it. Distant administrations cannot be responsive. We must empower individuals and municipalities to shape their own destinies.
Grassroots Democracy — True democracy exists when citizens meet as equals to resolve problems. Citizens must be able to participate in the political, economic and environmental decisions that affect them.
Personal and Global Responsibility — We must learn to take responsibility for ourselves, our families, our communities and our planet. As we learn to be responsible, we can inspire others to do the same.
Diversity — We honour the diversity of life on our planet. Cultural and spiritual diversity has intrinsic value. Every plant and animal has the right to exist, independent of human needs.
Community-Based Economics — Healthy economies help people grow stronger. Our economy must build communities, rather than extract profits.
Gender Balance — Our goal is the full and equal participation of women and men in all spheres of activity. Cooperation and understanding must replace domination and control.
Ecological Wisdom — Human beings are a part of nature, not separate from it. We cannot endanger whole ecosystems and remain unaffected. Whatever we do to the web of life, we do to ourselves.
- I'd be curious to find out how Green Party members would carry out the Social Justice value in reality. To be more specific, what I mean is, would rights be "created", as many people say happened with the Liberals and same-sex marriage? I suspect this would not be the case, especially at first... when you are part of a new political party taking on the establishment, it certainly would do no good to start acting like some parties in the establishment would, now would it?
- I would like to assume that Green Party members believe that the Nonviolence value would not preclude Canada from being a part of any foreign war that was necessary and justified. Hard to tell from the statement itself. This could potentially be an interesting one to monitor in the future.
- Certainly the Sustainability and Ecological Wisdom values (as well as parts of the Personal & Global Reponsibility and Diversity value statements) are in keeping with the strong environmental focus of the Green Party... no surprise there.
- Decentralization... now here's a key difference between the Green Party and the traditional federal parties. This difference is especially noticeable when looking at the Liberals, who can't seem to avoid getting involved in areas dangerously close to being out of federal, and into provincial, jurisdiction (some of their health and education polices being good examples of this). Giving people most affected by a problem the authority to solve it... quite a radical concept by Canadian political standards!
- Grassroots Democracy is another differentiating value. Sure, the Conservatives did merge with the former Reform party and still have many of the Reformers in the tent, but the Conservatives don't quite have the same emphasis on empowering the grassroots as Reform did. Not sure if all of the polices of the Green Party are appealing to former Reformers looking at their options beyond the CPC, but the emphasis on the grassroots must appeal to them and give them something to think about. In any case, this is likely a key selling point the Greens will use with people cynical with the traditional federal parties and with Canadian politics in general.
- Personal and Global Responsibility... seems to be different from what the traditional leftist parties offer, isn't it? Considering the left, in a lot of areas, often want the government or someone/something else to take responsibility...
- One of the most intriguing sentences, to me, in this section comes from the Diversity value statement... "Cultural and spiritual diversity has intrinsic value." It seems to me that spiritual diversity has taken a hit what with the anti-Catholic sentiment on the rise after the SSM debate and passage of the law. I'd be VERY interested to hear the Greens expand on their views of cultural and spiritual diversity.
- Gender balance... sounds fine to me.
On the whole, these are nice motherhood statements, but they do provide a pretty good general answer to the first two questions I asked at the beginning of this post. As for the third question, "Can Canadians identify with these values?", I think they can... but that will largely depend on what the policies themselves are.
More on those, later.