Greens..can’t live with ’em………can’t live anywhere else

I’m a Green.  I really have no choice.  Being at the virtual birth of GreenPeace (Bob Hunter’s boat was right across from mine in False Creek back in the very early 70’s. Talked with Paul Watson, Patrick Moore and a few others now and then but as a neighbour only), being now so pure of heart living OTG and loving Gaia, my political stance is pretty much pre-determined.  Earth first.

Especially since I have tried all the other parties at one time or another and found them all extremely wanting in even basic manners, ethics and good intention.

Having said that, I have been a harsh critic of the Green party ever since I joined it back in the day.  Nincompoops.  They seem to be naive, silly, unfocused and, strangely, somewhat elitist.  It sounds odd, but they are loathe to listen to the public and even most of their own members (maybe it is just me) and the party, tho uniquely democratic in so many ways, is usually deaf to input from the hoi polloi – especially if it is about economics.

Which, in light of the latest debacle, seems odd but it isn’t.  It seems a narrow, single-interest group timed their late-submitted proposition to boycott Israel to the then-dissolving Green party forum and, by employing Saul Alinsky tactics, kinda hijacked the platform.  Or so I gather….

Politics is an ugly business and, it seems, the Greens play in the mud as well.  Well, maybe better put; they got played by the mud this time.

But in a normal political party, that ploy would never have worked.  All the parties I have been involved in are run by a slightly mad power group and there is little tolerance for ‘revolutionaries’ in any of the parties.  Political structure-wise, all parties are conservative and rigid.  “Follow the rules, toe the line, be blindly loyal, do as you are told” .  That is the basic operating rule of thumb and the most egregious offender/defender of that faith I ever encountered was the Reform Party – later (d)evolved to the Harper Conservatives.

When I considered running for the then new Reform Party, they promised in their WRITTEN political platform a plank that stated the MP would first represent their constituents and secondly, their own conscience. Loyalty to the party was the THIRD priority.  Even though I had some basic conflicts with the rest of their platform and certainly some of the personalities I encountered, the simple fact that I could speak my mind, vote my conscience and put the constituents first, meant that I was in.

Plus my hidden agenda was that I was gonna preach GREEN to the party if I got in.

That exercise did not last long.  At the Reform-turned-Canadian Alliance ‘electioneering school’, they made it crystal clear that we were obliged to say what Stockwell Day told us to say, do as he told us to do and the WRITTEN and stated MPs freedom to speak was just a way to appeal to the public.  It was NOT going to happen.  That plank was a bald-faced lie.

I walked out.

And that kind of duplicity has been manifestly illustrated by the NDP, Liberals, Socreds and even BC First and the Conservative Party over the years.  They all seem to lie straight to your face.

So, sadly, in politics lying is a given…… 

But I have to make the point: I am not naive.  I know that leadership has to make decisions.  I know that not all decisions can be made by consensus.  I know that communication amongst volunteers and the power-mad is poor at best, negligible most of the time and downright two-faced lying bastards a lot of the time.  T’is the nature of the beast, I guess.

I do not expect perfection.  I do not even expect ‘good’ behaviour.

But I do expect some of the ‘basics‘.

Example: when Adrian Carr ran the Greens, she was offered a chance to speak at a pulp mill.  She went.  She preached Green and, after that speech, she was presented with a cheque for $5000 from BOTH management AND union. One cheque, two signatories. Unprecedented cooperation.

She refused it.

That the contribution showed ‘real people’ showing ‘real concern’ for the environment and in a pulp mill no less would have been a huge political milestone at the time for the party but it was refused because it smacked of ‘corporate’.  Then, of course, they went and blew their feet off with putting too late emphasis on Proportional Representation when the average Joe didn’t know what it was, what it meant or how to spell it.

And the list of mis-steps just goes on and on and on.

For every crooked, stupid, giant mis-step the BC Liberals have done these past ten years, the NDP and the BC Greens have equally missed every opportunity to show up with something better.  They haven’t even, for the most part, shown up!

And now this:  Elizabeth May is likely the best MP Canada has ever had.  She works harder than ten others.  I like and respect her a great deal.  But she is NOT a leader.  She COULD be, but, so far, she refuses to wear the crown.  She prefers the female approach of consensus building.  (God bless her, everyone). Trump (and that old-school, George Patton managerial style of his) prefers the MY-WAY-OR-THE-HIGHWAY approach.  (The devil take him!)

The reality is that both ways are required now and then.  A lot of stuff can be discussed and committee’d and logic, reason, analysis and commonality will prevail and the party can move as one in a certain direction.  Democracy at work. Sometimes the issue is so sensitive to the party that massive majority or consensus is required for the party’s survival because splitting the party would be worse.

But sometimes a leader has to step up, take charge, make the right decision and let their career rest on it.  If their ‘leadership’ turns out to be wrong (ie. the Brexit Referendum), they should resign.  It is called the honourable thing to do.  Leaders should have that strength at the very least.

But to let a splinter group ‘steal’ a plank from your platform by way of Saul Alinsky tactics and then consider resigning over it, is NOT showing leadership.  Liz should not only have to stay as the leader (which she announced today that she will), she has to quash the uprising, stall the proposal against Israel, take her own sweet time reviewing it and, she should make sure she grows a spine in the meantime.

Then, when it is time for another Green group meeting, put the topic back on the agenda and say, “I stalled this nonsense last year.  Now you can vote on it properly and with all the members having their say.  If I did wrong, the proposal will pass and I will, too.  I will resign.  If we kill this sucker, then taking leadership was the right thing to do and I intend to do more of it.”  

25 thoughts on “Greens..can’t live with ’em………can’t live anywhere else

  1. Such is the world of necessary illusions. Every one knows that politicians equivocate. That most political promises are aspirations spoken in figurative language. Trump will not build a wall but many metaphorically challenged believe that Trump will literally ‘build a wall.’ Or I’ll keep your taxes low but (unstated) I’ll toll many of your bridges. A toll is a tax. The lie that sounds like the truth is still a lie.


    • Agreed. But there is horrible, mediocre, good, better and best levels of management. We have had a lot of the first two a smidge of good now and then and precious little of the good stuff. And they say that it all starts at the top. Maybe. Maybe it all starts at the bottom. I don’t know. But I do know that if you are at the top, you should act like it. Liz is at the top. I want her to act like it. I have expectations of someone that dedicated to doing good. I have no expectations from those lining their own pockets (BC Liberals). So, it is not really fair, in that sense. Liz has a higher bar.


      • My late dad did not push a lot of advice, but one of his most memorable suggestions to me was that, ” it was a bad idea to have expectations of people”
        Kahil Gibran was a decent thinker and a great writer, he had a lot of disdain for office seekers of every kind.
        Maybe someone can explain why liz is so outspoken about the Israel boycott, while we all throw the boots to Russia, Syria , yemen ,, yada yada


        • Well firstly Aldo, Canada has ‘booties’ rather than boots. We are small potatoes. And, amongst Canadian politicians no one is smaller than Liz, with a party of two (I think) in parliament. If she throws her real boots even, they are just size 6. She’s small. Greens ain’t a threat to anyone. Having said that, she was against the boycott. She didn’t wanna go there. It was a small band of activists in the party that waited til the meeting was almost over and many people had left the building already. They ‘sprung’ their resolution and, because they were then in the majority at that moment, it passed. Pure Saul Alinsky (Chicago activist in the 30’s) I have never been a fan of BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) because they hurt the little people more than the biggies. But they certainly worked on South Africa. So, they can be effective. As for your dad’s suggestion, I agree. It is not a good idea to have UNSTATED expectations. But STATED expectations are the gist of contracts. Even something as ‘human’ as marriage has a coterie of unspoken and spoken expectations attached. And, in public life, we elect people to represent us – that, too, is an expectation. Bluntly: we all have expectations.
          And, as for Kahil (brilliant), seeking office for personal gain is reprehensible but to seek it for ‘doing some good’ is deemed the civilized way. Again, context changes the statement from both your dad and Kahil, I think.
          But I have been wrong before, will be again and, with luck, I’ll live long enough to exceed even those modest expectations.


          • I know my context is pretty sloppy, was just riffing off the word ” expectations” , but still really, looking for insight on why the BDS thing is so paramount to liz, given how quickly our gov will take sides against other more vulnerable groups, wonder if I could just ask google, we’ll see.


  2. Plato’s vision of democracy was limited to male land holding citizens. Those qualified for office were to be moral philosophers. Despite such aspirations from time to time tyrants assumed office. Plato if he were familiar with our democratic system might suggest we are in need of a philosopher leader.


    • Well, as a contrarian, I tend to disagree with everything but, in this case, I agree with Plato. If ever there was a need for philosophers (and one of my best friends is a famous one and we both wonder if he fell in the forest, would anyone care), it is in politics. One person can do little but they may sway the others in the house/parliament/legislature/senate with their ideas. Churchill never fired a rifle. He just spoke with inspiration. And, if the politicians ideas are NOT grounded in good moral philosophy, they shouldn’t be there. Trump is somewhat persuasive (vulgar, coarse, base, crude but human. MORE human than Hillary) but he is lacking in moral stature. His foundations are NOT good. The guy is all about money. And, sadly, so many of our own politicians think the same way although they express those thoughts with mealy-mouthed poli-speak. Money-getting is the main goal of our governments today. Moral leadership has been abandoned. “Geez, Dave, you gettin’ all pious on us?” No. I do not believe morality is best manifested in questions regarding who sleeps with who and all that other petty nonsense. But I do believe that the ‘the good of the people’ has to be a basic foundation from which all laws spring. All government work should start with ‘what is best for the people?’ If you don’t come from ‘the good of the people’, why are you doing it? Liz comes from the right place. She has to show courage and faith in doing good. It is NOT first about building agreement. First it is about doing the right thing.


      • Dave you are entirely correct. Democracy is a ‘good’ to enhance the lives of all Canadians. Standing in the way of ‘for the good of all’ is the hierarchy of meritocracy.’ According to the merit argument some folks are more deserving and thus they ought to get the greatest benefits from the system.. Add to the mix a systemic kleptocracy and a contempt for those not ‘bright enough to scam the system or too moral to scam’ and we have a country with a huge gulf between those barely scraping along and those whose ‘merit’ rewards them disproportionately. In the USA these abilities are often described as “God given” which reminds folks that they ought to know their place and keep to it.


        • I have never been ENTIRELY correct on anything so I have to assume that WE are now both wrong! Having said that, I have been to communist countries and total equality DOES not work. I was in Hungary (smuggling a car) in 1968 and the country was a complete shambles. Same for China in 1981. It was like a BIZARRO world. Nothing worked in Hungary except the car I had. So, I have come to accept SOME meritocracy even if it is often corrupted. It is the way of the jungle, the world and every system. Some win, some lose. Life goes on.
          BUT our politicians should be working to moderate that. They should be working to at least keep the playing field level. Usain Bolt will always beat me in a foot race but loading a bag of cement on me first is unnecessarily burdensome. And (as an example) we do that to students with crippling student debt before they even get a job. We do that kind of crap all the time to each other. It is the duty of those in charge to keep things as fair as possible. And the ferries, buses and trains running on time. Oooooohhhhhh….I am starting to rant, aren’t I?


          • Speaking of 1973 levels of debit, when I graduated my personal debt in the form of a student loan was $12,000. In the suburbs of the lower mainland $12,000 coulda bought a modest house. Gota job in ’73 that paid $450 a month in my pocket. Took ten years to pay off the loan. The terms of the loan in ’73 were reasonable but not so now with the way that loans are handled (I think).


  3. Aaaaah…..the pension issue……………reminds me of the first time the Reform Party came a’ calling……I was being interviewed by ten old white guys. They were nice. Smart. Good people. I liked them. But I had to ask, “Guys, you seem to be good people and I like you. I think I would like working with you but why is it that – here in the middle of Vancouver’s Eastside – not a single member of your committee is female or of some identifiable ethnicity? Don’t get me wrong…ten guys committed are fine. You don’t have to be black, Asian or female. I am just asking why there are not some.” Their answer was good. “Anyone can join. We just started doing the work and this committee came about naturally.” “OK. That seems reasonable enough. I am OK with that. Thanks.” And, after the interview was over, I walked out. I was seriously considering the offer. I wanted to do it. One of the old guys called me on the cell as I drove home, “So, Dave? You gonna do it?” “I dunno. Still thinking it over.” “Dave! You should do it! Just think….the pension will set you up for life.” “Oh! I am so glad you said that. Helps my decision. Until now I was thinking you guys were simply motivated by doing good. So, no. My answer is no. No thanks. I will never do it now. You said exactly the wrong thing. You are expressing the wrong values for me.”
    Am I really that pure? No. Not in the least (he should have offered me scotch). That was just the incident at the time. But – and here is my point – running for office should NOT set you up for life. It is supposed to be ‘giving back’ to the community, NOT getting what you can. Is some small pension OK? I guess. A person dedicated to public service should get the same pension as a government employee, I think. I could see that. Twenty years in public service gets a nice pension. Five doesn’t. They should be the same or pretty damn close to the same amounts anyway. And – get this – I am OK with 55, too. I ran out of steam at 56. I think the retirement age should be moved up, not back!


  4. As the article points out ‘The Reform Party’ was against gold plated pensions but was unable or unwilling or too self interested to rein in the gravy train. The Canadian Prime Minister, in 2014, for example, received an extra $163,700, for a total salary of $327,400. On a par with many top level CEOs. By way of comparison, Mark Carney stands to earn as the Governor of the Bank of England, £874,000 a year, including a £250,000 housing allowance. I know that comparing bank governors to Prime Ministers is apples to oranges but the key question remains is it value for money?


    • Apples to oranges? Or cow patties to turds? I do not think they deserve that much but I think it is all really just the ‘peer’ effect. If you hang out with rich people, you expect to be rich and, if they should ever pay you, then they will pay you richly. If you hang out with dogs, you get fleas. Hang with hookers – they give you STDs. It’s the milieu in which you swim that determines what you get. That is why New York attracts. IF the bumpkin can make it the BIG APPLE, they have it made all over the world.
      Is that true?
      I do not know. But that is the way is seems.


      • The peer effect for sure but consider that such highly paid individuals make the ‘ I am exceptional claim’ to justify their pay scale. According to the exceptionalism argument we shoulda been paying the Prime Minister more and he would have been a better Prime Minister than he was. Money it seems inspires genius.


        • So many arguments as to why that is wrong, I can’t even start. But it really is not the fault of the sincere believer. The system works well for them. Why shouldn’t a baseball player be paid millions per year? They bought the dream, beat out thousands of other dreamers and took the cherry off the top. The real evil is in the system. It runs unchecked.
          If you want to control millions, pay 1% excessively and steal from the rest. Tell the majority they have the same chance as Mr. Excess. Everyone then hunkers down thinking the field is level and the referees are fair. Result: only one guy gets ahead, millions are enslaved chasing the brass ring. Irony: most of the 1% I know aren’t happy. Face it; it’s a BRASS ring. Being! Their money is a burden. Some must be happy but I don’t know any.


          • ” Pay 1% excessively and steal from the rest” a key point worth expanding. Who pays the one percent and steals from the rest? Is it a an ideology of entitlements, or cynical corporate entities, or greedy ruling elites or whom? Baseball players earning large salaries seems fair enough in a game where one’s superiority abilities are on display in a most transparent way and comparisons with other players is possible. The fans are key to whether a team earns money so putting the best players on the field is in the owner’s self-interest. Other than claiming merit or claiming ‘job creation skills’ what is the justification for paying the one percent so much?.


          • To a large extent it is natural. There are the ‘elites’ and privileged even in the animal kingdom. And it serves to provide incentive for the others – especially with humans. Imagine this exercise: You have two million dollars (cows, sheep, shekels, whatever) and you have two million people in your tribe (city, village). You could be egalitarian and give everyone two cows. You could (much more practical) give everyone just one cow and keep a million in your herd so that you remain the leader. But, if you want your tribe to really ‘go at it’, you make a contest for the best farmer (athlete, beauty, banker, entrepreneur). Of course, some will become cow thieves thus inventing criminality.
            If you are really smart, you split the prize money amongst a few different specialties so everyone plays at it. The best athlete gets 100K and the second and third place get 50 and 10. The sexiest woman gets something and so does the second and third. The best farmers, too. The best bricklayers. Soon enough you have all the athletic types competing like hell. Same for the bricklayers. Same for the any of the celebrities. Even the farmers are forced to compete for the booby prize: ‘market share’.
            Think MockingJay. The elites of the central MockingJay city awarded a place amongst themselves for the survivor of the hunger games. And each year, the competition resumes. Everyone is forced to play. Remember, Katniss was just a girl shooting rabbits and then she was forced to compete to save her sister. And, just for that alone, she was feted. Winning gave her immense status even tho the games were horrible to most everyone else.
            That theme is played out in Capitalism with Celebrity and riches as the brass ring. AND most people in this ‘system’ are forced to play.
            Conspiracy? I don’t think so. Good management of the hoi polloi is what THEY call it.


  5. Speaking of “Green”

    Has the algae spread to you little section of nirvana yet?

    i was over in Langdale today and was absolutely gobsmacked at the color of the water.
    Howe sound, everywhere……..bright green.


    • No. No it has not. They say it is harmless, just an algae bloom, but that is a lie. It is likely harmless for many things but it will tip the scales for something. I have no idea what wins and what loses but an imbalance hurts something. Let’s hope it devastates mosquitoes. I could live with that.


  6. I would give every one two cows. The arguments about the necessity of a meritocracy are really an expression of Social Darwinism and are used to explain away much suffering. It boils down to if y’all don’t got what ya need for a comfortable life ‘it is the poor person’s fault!’ The Philosophs explain inequality as based in trickery. ” All people are born equal but every where they are in chains.”


    • Now, see, I would give everyone a single cow and keep the remaining in reserve like a ‘bank’. Some guy wants a herd, I loan him a half dozen cows and a bull. Where I get all commie-pinko on ya, is that I would not charge him/her a calf for every three his herd produces. But I would expect my bull and 6 cows back.
      I ran a petty-cash type ‘bank’ when working in skidrow. Started with $100 and left four years later with $95. I would loan derelicts $5.00 or $10.00 on the proviso that they paid it back and told them the next guy depended on them paying it back or else the fund would be depleted. All but one paid me back.


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