Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, June 19, 2006

Green Leadership Candidate May Interview Part 2

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Here is the second part of our interview with Green Party leadership candidate Elizabeth May. (Part one of the interview was posted yesterday.)

5) How would you balance the leadership you would have to provide with the living platform? Since grassroots opinion can shift from one day to the next, how do you avoid becoming the next Mr(s). Dithers?

I have never been indecisive, but the Green Party policies come from the membership, not the leader. I disagree with the premise of the question. There is nothing more changeable about grassroots opinion than about centralized elitist opinion. Policies need to be driven by issues and the best possible available solutions. Not mere opinions.

6a) What is your conception of the Green Party leadership? b) Having considered that, what should the leader's priorities be?

a) My concept of leadership is service. A leader is not a dictator, not a parent, not a boss. A really great leader serves the needs of the party as it evolves. In Green Party terms, a leader must be charismatic, media-savvy and effective as a spokesperson. A leader should also be inclusive, friendly, helpful and supportive, a problem-solver and gifted in dispute resolution.

b) Answered above.

7) How would your leadership distinguish itself from that of the other candidates?

I come to the party leadership with significant public credibility and experience. I am well known to the national media, and well respected. My work has been honoured with two honourary doctorates (Mount Saint Vincent and University of New Brunswick), a permanent chair in my name at Dalhousie University, an award from the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Order of Canada at the Officer level. I am the author of five books and a commentator on radio and television as well as a university associate professor at Dalhousie and Queens University. The other candidates are excellent, however, on any objective assessment of relative strengths my national profile and reputation are of benefit to the party in a way that the others cannot claim (20 years from now, let's hope they will!). A woman leader in federal politics is also a benefit in distinguishing ourselves from the other parties. (Even with 20 years the other candidates will not switch genders, but let's hope in 20 years all the other parties are led by women and the Greens will need a male leader to distinguish themselves from the "old girls' club"!)



a) How do you assess the Canadian economy's current "greenness"?

Not at all "green."

b) What's the relation like between the economy and the environment?

Quoting Herman Daly, former senior economist to the World Bank "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment."

c) What trends do you see in the relationship? Where are we heading in the next three to 5 years?

What Green initiatives could have the greatest impact on the economy? If an election were called the day after you became Green Party Leader, what platform planks would you offer Canadians?

As above.

d) What will the Green Party's fiscal policy be like, under your leadership? Conservative? Socialist? Something else? (Examples…)

Not left or right, but ahead. We are in an era of transformative political change. Clinging to anachronistic old labels will increasingly be seen as a measure of irrelevance. As Bill Good of CKNW in Vancouver puts it, "It is not a question of left or right, but of right and wrong."

Fiscal policies will avoid debt, paying off whatever we owe the IMF on an urgent basis. Policies will be revenue neutral with fairly distributed benefits throughout society.

e) People have argued that being ecologically sensitive is a privilege of rich societies that developing nations can't afford. What do you say to that?

Nonsense. The environmental abuses of industrialized societies contribute to impoverishment of poorer countries. Some of the most effective practices in environmental stewardship come from the global South (The Greenbelt Movement in Kenya, the Chipko Movement in India, Curitiba, Brazil's land use planning and transit, etc.)

If you want to follow our coverage of the Green Party and its leadership race, consider our free newsletter. It's sent out twice a month. Related articles are archived in the topical categories , , , , .


At 12:34 p.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Anonymous said:

Very interesting insight into Elizabeth's ideas. I am however puzzled by, "The environmental abuses of industrialized societies contribute to impoverishment of poorer countries". Can anyone explain this to me?

At 11:01 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger lecentre said:

That's a good question. I'll email her to ask and hopefully have an answer for you in a day or two.
Thanks for the feedback!


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