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It's Easy to Be Green
04/05/2004

Canadian blogs have seen a lot of talk about the Green party recently, and I've been meaning to add a word or two.

Much of the commentary has been along the lines of "hey, I thought they were left-wing nuts until I saw their new policy", or "their new policy is interesting but they are still left-wing nuts". (I've paraphrased quite liberally.)

I don't think that the shift to the right should be very surprising. For some time now, much of the best thinking about how to reach environmental goals has been based on using market mechanisms to acheive those ends. It's no wonder that some environmentalists have shifted their thinking towards using the market, and why some economist-minded types have become attracted to the Greens.

The unfortunate thing is that many rightward parties -- which espouse a market-driven philosophy -- tend to take the position that environmental problems are irrelevant, or are the figment of someone's imagination. It would seem that parties of the right are frequently supportive of businesses-that-exist-today rather than supportive of market-based economics with minimized externalities.

That's why the Green Party can seem to be a very pragmatic and practical choice: socially liberal, market oriented, fiscally responsible and environmentally responsible. They can make a case that they are the only party that can claim all four.

On the other hand, the Green Party is obviously an impractical and unpragmatic choice in that they are unlikely to win any seats, and if -- through a miracle -- they formed a government, would have no expertise to run it.

Nevertheless, I think they are a good option to consider for June 14 the next election.

For the record, I voted Green in the last federal election. I was also a party member at that time, but I've let my membership lapse since I'm not really comfortable with being a member of any party.


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