Guest Post: On Voting Green and Splitting the Left

Note: This is a guest post by Alice Cavanagh.

Recently on Twitter, a friend of mine said something that really stuck with me. There was a bit of heated debate about voting strategically vs voting your conscience and what about if your conscience leads you to vote strategically.

What she said in reference to the BC Green Party was “They can’t be fiscally to the right and socially to the left, that just doesn’t work. *shrugs*”.

I have issues with the concept of vote splitting and that the Green Party are somehow closet Liberals. One is that if you care at all about people you must vote NDP, that the NDP deserve it. No party is entitled to my vote. They have to fucking earn it.

I support many of the NDP initiatives but the BC Green Party has better ones. I do not support the way the NDP campaign. In this campaign, they abruptly got into a bidding war on tolls with the Liberals just to win swing ridings.  Where’s the policy and justification for this? I don’t know. Their platform is less platform and more attack ad. I know what the Liberals are doing wrong, I want the NDP to tell me what they will do right, with actual details. Take a peek at their so-called transit plan.

The NDP party is running an anti-LGBT 2S+ candidate in Richmond. He’s quoted saying the NDP struck a deal to get him to run. He’s allowed to vote as he chooses on these issues  The only reason this hasn’t hit the mainstream is it’s all played out in the Chinese language papers.

They won’t outright kill the Site C dam, despite it being an environmentally and economically poor choice. They won’t take leadership here.  They will push it off to the B.C. Utilities Commission in hopes the backlash leaves them untainted.

They are not investing any more in education than the Liberals are. But they have a huge union twitter campaign screaming the Green Party is anti-teacher, despite the Green platform of putting a significantly larger financial investment into education including desperately needed curriculum training and feeding lunch to kids who are food insecure.

These unprincipled choices are why I have a hard time supporting NDP.

Reasons I’m supporting the Greens in this election include the fact they are fiscally more right than the NDP. I’m in support of responsible fiscal investment.

The Greens investments into upfront support for mental health and addictions issues is both socially (left leaning) and fiscally (right leaning) responsible. When it’s good from both the left and the right you pull both sides together.

The Greens will kill Site C. This is good environmentally (left leaning) and economically (right leaning).

The Green Party has stopped accepting donations from corporations and unions. Have they in the past? Sure. But they listened when people said it was wrong, took the high road and stopped the practice. No law forced them to make the change.

Their education plan is frankly amazing and so good for the province. Their housing plan is solid. Their basic income for kids ageing out of foster care? Life changing for young adults who have been poorly served by our society.

Are there things that the Green Party could do better? Hell yes! They could use considerably more gender and ethnic diversity than they have now. But they’ve improved since the last election and are moving forward. Their platform isn’t as financially secure as it could be, economic analysis is suggesting their plan would lead to a small deficit in the first year of their government but it’s on a rapid plan to move towards a surplus. Their taxation plan is more progressive than our current system but I think it could go further in the future.

One of the most exciting things about the Green Party is the support they are winning from the left and right. The BC Greens are winning this support despite not having huge cash donations or in-kind staffing. They are doing it because they have good ideas, they have broad ground level volunteer support and they are running a campaign that leaves you feeling good at the end of the day.

Two of my friends that voted Liberal are considering or planning on voting Green this election. I voted NDP in the last provincial election and am excited to vote Green this election. A friend of mine who has always voted NDP is considering voting Green. That tells me voting Green is a choice people are making because it makes sense to them. It’s not about left or right. Politics in BC has been too much an either or choice leading to polarization and people becoming disengaged because they don’t fit in with offerings of the current parties. If you look at Andrew Weaver’s support in 2013 he pulled roughly 4000 votes from the BC NDP, roughly 3800 from the BC Liberals and close to 3000 votes from new voters.

So is voting Green splitting the left? Only if it’s splitting the right too.

On May 9th vote. Make the choice that resonates with you and that you think leads the province to stable, healthy and prosperous future.