When orange is the new green

Yellow Blue Colours Colour Dandelion Green OrangeWe’re just over halfway through the provincial election campaign and the outcome is more uncertain than any previous election — more uncertain because we are no longer talking about just two parties. Let me explain.

Since the collapse in 1972 of the provincial Liberal and Conservative parties in the aftermath of the Dave Barrett NDP election victory, election campaigns in BC have focused on only two parties — the left-of-centre NDP and one incarnation or another of the free enterprise vote, either the Socreds (Social Credit Party) or the current iteration of the BC “Liberals”. In this election we now have a third viable option: BC’s Green Party.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Andrew Weaver and the provincial Greens have any chance of winning the election. For that matter, they certainly will not even form the official opposition. However, if the NDP win the election capturing more seats than the Liberals but lose a number of their current seats on Vancouver Island, where the Greens are currently polling ahead of both the NDP and the Liberals, then we may very well end up with the dream scenario I blogged about April 19 — an NDP minority with the Greens holding a balance of power!

In Europe, most, if not all of the Green parties run in coalition with left-of-centre parties — a so-called red/green alliance. From my point of view this would be ideal. The NDP could certainly be moved to a more progressive position on a number of environmental issues. The Green Party could certainly be moved to a more progressive position on a number of labour issues. An NDP/Green coalition — an orange/green alliance — might just result in the best of both worlds.

Today, Germany stands at the forefront of nations moving from conventional carbon-based energy to renewable energy. Analysts from all points of the political spectrum give the German Green Party credit for this. At the same time, speaking from a personal perspective, I have not always been happy with the foreign policy decisions of the German Green Party.

If we had proportional representation in BC we could predict with some sense of confidence that this election will produce the first ever NDP minority with the Greens holding the balance of power. As we don’t have pro rep, it’s impossible to predict. That makes voting more important than ever, so be sure your voice is heard May 9. (For information on how and where to vote, go to Elections BC.)

In the meantime, what we do know is this: The likelihood of an orange/green coalition government in Victoria is growing stronger by the day!

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