My assertion that the Green Parties of the world are, for the most part, essentially human rights parties and not environmental parties as discussed in the article “Who is the Most Idiotic Green Party of the World?” (People and Place, Vol. 16, No.1), is of course, never more better illustrated than in Canada’s Green party. Here we have a country suffering from the highest population growth rate in the G8 group, with its most important province losing 60,000 acres of prime farmland a year to growth, (not to poor planning), and immigrants generating as much GHG every four years as the entire Alberta tars sands development, and a Green Party that wants to jack up immigration by 38% or more than its present intake. Multiculturalism, according to their party leader, not sustainability, not the viability of our biodiversity, is Canada’s “great project”. Over 500 species at risk in Ontario will just have to suck it up and die for the new human varieties that pour through Pearson International airport. Cultural diversity trumps biological diversity. We don’t have an identity of our own to preserve. Like everything else, it must be imported.
Of course, that is not their scenario. They would have it that, as Dr.Rees would insist, that Greenfield acreage can be protected from massive injections of immigrant populations by strict land use planning. That 60,000 acres a year of class 1 that Ontario loses is not because of population growth. Oh no. That is all down to “sprawl”, something any good planning department can cure. It is so ironic. Greens want it both ways don’t they? They tell us that closed borders are an impossibility in a global economy. Yet they have this naïve faith in their internal closed borders. This belief in their paper fortresses of farm land protection, green belts, nature reserves, provincial and natural parks and so forth. Smart growth. And yet all around them, from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles to the intrusions upon British greenbelts to Yosemite to the Steve Irwin reserve and on and on. The historical evidence is clear. There is no sanctuary from population and economic growth. The Growth Monster wants Lebensraum and no Munich agreement will be respected when times will get tough. And they will get tough. The appetite for more and more is insatiable and mere park or zoning boundaries will be swept aside.
What is most fraudulent about the smart growth argument is not that is a documented failure or that according to numerous American studies that sprawl accounts for no more than half of all Greenfield development, population growth the other half, but that especially in the context of Canadian politics it is intellectually dishonest. Why? The people who advocate mass immigration and are in a position to implement, the leaders of the federal political parties like the Green Party of Canada, do not contol land use planning. That is under provincial and local jurisdiction.
Questions for the Green Party and its leader. Who controls local government in Canada? Are there any campaign spending limits imposed on those who run for local governments? Are there any disclosure laws that force candidates or civic parties in Canada to reveal who is behind their campaigns? Let me save the Green party the trouble of answering those questions. The answer is, local governments in Canada are BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY DEVELOPERS. And the zoning bylaws are customized to fit their needs, as are the local newspapers, by and large. The only hope for sensible planning is to have it imposed province-wide. But observe what happened in British Columbia. After three decades the Agricultural Land Commission was decentralized by the new, right-wing Gordon Campbell government so that it would be vulnerable to local developer pressure. As a consequence good farmland in densely populated southern BC was released to their clutches and exchanged for poorer land in the northern part of the province. On paper the Agricultural Land Reserve still has the same amount of land in the bank. But it is a shell game. Good land out, bad land in. And notice that the NDP governments in Ontario, or the prairies did not have the will to introduce the same farmland protection as the BC NDP government did in1973. Point being, don’t advocate mass immigration when you know, intellectually, that the land use planning that you speak of that must accompany it is a political impossibility. Don’t let kids on a school bus that has no seat belts.
Many Greens radiate a cavalier impression of wildlife. Erich Jacoby-Hawkins stated on March 6/08 that Europe with 70 times the population of southern Ontario had “some” wildlife, so we “have a lot more room for newcomers within our existing developed spaces.” But there are 536 species at risk in Ontario that would take issue with that. Dr. William Rees the country’s most eminent “Green”, told us in effect that Canadian biodiversity was inconsequential. He stated that it was more important to relieve tropical biodiversity by importing people from overpopulated areas like Central America at the cost of our own biodiversity because Canada was not relatively “bio-rich”. So much for the Sierra Club’s campaign to save the Rocky Mountain caribou.
A glance at the biographies of Green Party candidates as provided by the Green Party of Canada website during the federal election would confirm my impression. Of the 13 people listed, only 3, or 23% percent, could be categorized, I think, as “environmentalists”, rather than social activists or people with human rights or social justice concerns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Party_candidates,_2008_Canadian_federal_electionMr. Jacoby-Hawkins biography, for example, is replete with phrases like “social issues”, “community groups”, “homelessness”, “Centre for Policy Alternatives”. I don’t think I would see him on a bird count.
One might argue that it is not a criminal act to be committed to social justice. Indeed not. But it is false advertising to make it your priority when you label yourself “Green”. “Green” has connotations of placing humanity within the context of nature. Of putting the lifeboat before its passengers. If the lifeboat sinks, the passengers drown. The question of whether some passengers are inequitably treated, while valid, is secondary to the our need to focus on whether the lifeboat is sea worthy. Are there too many passengers? Can we pick up drowning swimmers? Is the fact that most of the drowning swimmers are people of colour of any relevance what so ever? It is not criminal to care about other people. It is criminal to care ONLY about people and not about the wildlife that too many people are crowding out. This is not misanthropic. Because if we crowd out wildlife, we destroy biodiversity services, we commit suicide. We undercut our own survival.
The Green Party of Canada is not Green. It is an imposter.
(The pity is, there are some within it that aren’t, and they are the ones we would like to support to transform their party into something which lives up to its name. Something like the New Zealand Green Party. But the Green Party hierarchy has a closed borders policy towards those would attempt to traffic with such people.)
Tim Murray November 17/08
List of 13 Green Party biographies:
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/35004
Eric Walton http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/35036
Phil Stone http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59031 quite aware that population growth is a multiplier of problems. Is an active outdoorsman, photographer, environmentalist.
Adrianne Carr http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59029
Brian Gordon http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59008 rare understanding of need to stabilize pop growth in Canada.
John Fryer http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59014 trade union leader par excellence retired
Blair Wilson http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59036
Mike Nagy http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/35027
Lorraine Rekmans http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/35002
Valerie Powell http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/35086 not environmentalist
Kate Storey http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/46004 agricultural issues
Angela Reid http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59011
Hugette Allen http://www.greenparty.ca/en/campaign/59018 solid understanding of the importance of population growth to environmental degradation.