What is Leadership?

Good Sunday Morning

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When Dimitri's supporters call for a leadership change over the BDS resolution, they don't realize that Elizabeth May has already taken us far beyond the limits of being a protest party. A leader is not just a spokesperson. As our leader, Elizabeth guides us through the nuanced twists and turns in the halls of power. She builds bridges and forges relationships that help us to advance our cause. She earns the respect of her colleagues across the political spectrum. She elevates the Green brand to a place where even some of our opponents believe that our democracy is better served by having us at the table. And she inspires us with hope and high expectations for a better future. All across the country, Green leaders at the provincial level have adopted this high standard of statesmanship.

We expect more from our leader than just championing a single cause, more than just marching in the streets or raising our fists in protest. Yes of course those actions are necessary to drive change but they are primarily the responsibility of the countless NGOs and activist groups that are already spread across the political landscape. A political party's success is not measured in how loud we can scream but by how effectively we influence the decisions made by our government. And that influence should not, it can not, be limited to the campaign period preceding an election. It is our ongoing daily engagement that earns us the credibility to participate in the affairs of parliament.

Thanks to Elizabeth's leadership, Greens now occupy a unique place on the political spectrum in Canadian politics. We are not left and we are not right. We are forward. We look ahead to the future and carefully explore the consequences of our actions. We believe in consensus even as our internal affairs have drifted away from that guiding principle. We believe that if we work together, we can solve the challenges of the 21st century. Maybe even in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Elizabeth has also demonstrated the importance of authenticity in capturing the hearts of the Canadian voters. So much of the Canadian public is disenchanted with, if not yet disenfranchised by, our political system. Decades of hollow promises and partisan rhetoric has left them hungry for an alternative that not only claims to be different but IS different. That is our opportunity as Greens. That is what we can represent. But not if we return to our past and are content with protesting from the sidelines. We need to continue to earn the right to govern.

So now we find ourselves at a crossroads. A highly contentious resolution, that contravenes existing party policy, was passed by a very small group of people who where privileged to attend our convention last August. The fact that less than 1/2 of 1% of the membership voted for this BDS resolution, without the opportunity to fully hear or explore their Leader's views and without the validation of a ratification vote, brought to light the vulnerabilities of our current governance structure. With the erosion of ratification votes, and aided by an unfortunate violation of the resolution naming convention that misrepresented a shift from Green Rules to Robert's rules as simply a clarification of the operating procedures, we now recognize that the decisions made last August may not fully represent the will of the membership at large.

We’ve worked too hard, we’ve given too much, to go back to just being a protest party on the fringe of Canadian politics. Other Green Parties, in Germany and New Zealand, have matured past this point to a place where delegates represent a constituency at convention and the elected members, both local and federal, are included in the resolution development process. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel but if we want to be able to participate in government, our policies have to represent our values and our principles, not the tactics of a protest group.

As many of you know in addition to being the coordinator for Saanich Gulf Islands I also have a part time contract with the Green Party of Canada to connect regional groups of EDAs into a Green Web of Engagement through potlucks and social media. In that capacity I was hoping to undertake one more tour this fall to engage the Grass Roots in supporting the policies we championed during the last election. Now it seems that fundraising has been affected to such an extent that this tour had to be canceled and my contract terminated as of November 6th.

When our SGI Green Media Group learned of this development they immediately searched for ways to pool resources that would allow the tour to go ahead. This was great news to the folks that had been disappointed by the tour's cancellation. In the words of one local organizer in Ontario: "...it strikes me how much more important it is for you to embark on a tour than any other time. And if you are able to do this, perhaps the tour should be considered a “unity” tour…"

And so, with the help and support from folks across the country, I hope to be embarking on a Unity Tour late in November. Five regions have already expressed interest to host an event and details are being worked out.

In the meantime we can't take our eye off the ball. Justin Trudeau needs us (is asking us) to push for electoral reform. As Elizabeth reminded us in this article in the Ottawa Citizen, The electoral reform committee has set records for public consultation – let's not throw that away "It might be said that Justin Trudeau did the process a favour by musing about whether there was less need for electoral reform now that he has become prime minister. Trudeau’s comments as reported in Le Devoir were ambiguous, but could be interpreted as meaning that there was not a sufficient public appetite for electoral reform to justify keeping his campaign promise: “To make every vote count, 2015 will be the last election held under First Past the Post.”


PRPEI.jpgThankfully, the Prime Minister has clarified that he remains committed to this long-overdue reform. That is not to say that there are not forces within both the Conservative and Liberal parties hoping this promise will go away. But the work that Elizabeth has done to bring cohesion and civility to the Special Committee on Parliamentary Reform makes this a historic opportunity to demonstrate what that new paradigm in Canadian politics can look like. Please share this article with friends on Facebook and tweet it to the 30 ministers. You can also tell the committee that you support their work and expect them to design a made in Canada electoral system that gives us fair and proportional representation.
 
And while we are on Electoral Reform, this is the big week for PEI. It's time for their plebiscite and voting will start tomorrow. Take a look at their video and then if you want to help you can be a PR hero right from your own home. Here is a link that will show you how.

Finally, if you have not yet voted in the ratification vote for constitutional changes proposed at convention your time is running out. Voting closes on Monday night and it is important that we vote no on C008 to preserve our tradition of consensus-based decision making. On Friday you received another reminder from GPC headquarters with the subject line "2016 Constitutional Resolution Ratification". Please take the time and vote.


Enjoy your Sunday,
Thomas


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  • commented 2016-10-31 12:39:07 -0700
    Right on, Thomas! Good luck.