Even though their leader Elizabeth May managed to win the first ever Green seat in the HOC, don't let that fool you, the Green party on a whole fared pretty badly in the election.
Little noticed in the aftermath of the federal election is how badly the Green Party did.Global warming isn't quite the fad that it was a few years ago and the average person cares more about their job, putting food on the table and paying the bills. Green policies with solar panels and windmills just won't cut it.
In fact, if you weren’t paying attention, you’d get the opposite impression. The Greens managed to elect an MP for the first time, and all the attention was focused on Elizabeth May’s glorious victory, just as Green-related attention has focused on Ms. May ever since she took over the leadership of the party.
But, unless you’re besotted by the glories of Ms. May, you have to wonder about the party’s overall health. In the 2008 election, the Greens attracted 937,000 votes, an increase of 237,000 over the previous election. Last Monday they gave it all back, and more, dropping to 576,000 votes. That’s less than they polled in 2006 or 2004, under then-leader Jim Harris. You have to go back to 2000 to find a worse result.
Ms. May was supposed to bring the party a higher profile and greater credibility. She has succeeded in the first, although party members have to wonder exactly who is benefiting from the extra attention: the Greens or Elizabeth May. To a large degree their party leader has succeeded in establishing the Elizabeth May Party as a regular fixture, and has her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands to prove it.
Great for Ms. May, but what about the 307 other candidates, all of whom lost? The 361,000 drop in votes would mean a cut of more than $720,000 a year in the party’s federal subsidy under the existing system. It will be a lot worse if, as expected, Prime Minister Stephen Harper eliminates the subsidy system and forces parties to raise their own funds.
In Ontario where they have been trying the "green" thing, the Greens lost a lot of support.
Who was the biggest loser in last week’s election? You get a gold star for guessing right. It wasn’t the Bloc or the Liberals. It was the Greens. Although Elizabeth May finally won a seat, the Green share of the national vote plummeted. It sank from its 2008 high-water mark of 6.8 per cent to under 4 per cent – its worst showing in 11 years. In Ontario, formerly a hotbed of environmentalism, the Green vote fell by half.Even the well known influential environmental journalist,George Monboit, is starting to have questions.
Last week, Mr. Monbiot wrote a pair of searching columns in the Guardian. Environmentalism, he said, is stuck in denial, “and we have no idea what to do next.” Environmentalists simply can’t accept the fact that the vast majority of people on the planet prefer progress and economic growth to no growth. And yes, it is a choice. They don’t understand the science and they don’t understand the economics. They pretend that tackling climate change is relatively easy, when in fact it is demonically hard.The Green party seems to be on it's way out. When the government gets rid of the per vote subsidy, in my opinion, the Greens will be gone.