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New Green Alliance / Green Party of Saskatchewan| by John W. Warnock
New Green Alliance/ Green Party of Saskatchewan
by John W. Warnock
Green Party of Saskatchewan
2007 Provincial Election Platform Highlights
At a general membership meeting in Saskatoon on October 18, the Green Party of Saskatchewan adopted the following issues as the central campaign platform for the upcoming 2007 provincial election. The final version of the complete platform will be adopted at the Annual General Meeting in March 2007.
* A New Energy Policy - Gaining control of our oil and gas reserves, oppose nuclear power and uranium refining, phase out electrical power from burning coal.
* Climate Change - Support for Kyoto Protocol through energy conservation, demand management, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro.
* Agriculture and Food - Support for ecological agriculture, marketing boards, co-ops, food security, and local processing and distribution. We will end subsidies to corporate agribusiness and support a move to organic agriculture.
* Electoral Reform - Introduce proportional representation, limit campaign contributions to individuals, and limit size of individual contributions.
* Taxation for Social Justice - Re-introduce a progressive tax system based on ability to pay, increase resource royalties, restore grants to municipalities, reduce property taxes, and move to eliminate user fees for public services.
* A New and Different Health Policy - A policy based on prevention of illness, support for the five principles of Medicare, and the right of all to healthy food, clean water, clean air, good housing and a just standard of living.
* A New Approach to Resource Development - Emphasis on local and Canadian ownership and control, sustainable development, sharing with Aboriginal communities, and ending subsidies to large transnational corporations.
* Education Policy - Restore provincial funding to school districts, support and fund pre-school programs, restore funding to post- secondary institutions, and reduce tuition for higher education to levels of the past, the lowest in Canada.
See the complete platform and policies of the Green Party of Saskatchewan: http://www.greenpartysask.ca.
by John W. Warnock
The Western Producer
January 19, 2006
In a recent television interview, Howard Leeson, professor of political science at the University of Regina, stated that the Greens were just "spoilers" in this federal election taking votes from the NDP. This argument ignores the fact that there are very significant policy differences between the Greens and the social democrats, both here and around the world.
Take food and agriculture as an example. In Saskatchewan we have had an NDP government since 1991. They abolished the Gross Revenue Insurance Program (GRIP), backed the management of the Wheat Pool against the members, supported the centralization of the grain handling industry, abolished the hog marketing board without permitting producers a vote, have given major support to the establishment of corporate hog operations, and continue to strongly support the development of genetically engineered crops. They have supported agribusiness in promoting the free trade agenda in the Americas and at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In addition, the NDP government closed 52 rural hospitals, cut grants to local governments and school boards resulting in higher property taxes, eliminated grants to regional parks, forced the amalgamation of rural school districts, and attempted to force the amalgamation of rural municipalities.
On all of these very important issues Saskatchewan Greens stood in opposition to the NDP. Greens everywhere stand for local control, participatory democracy, and the right of all countries to control their own food production system and rural development policy. The Saskatchewan Greens support family farming, co-operatives, producer controlled marketing boards, an emphasis on local production for local markets, and the expansion of ecological farming.
We are quickly moving into the new era of climate change and peak oil and gas. This will have a major impact on farming on the prairies. The food industry as it exists today requires a heavy fossil fuel subsidy. Do the mainstream parties have any answers?(2) Climate Change and a General Election
Major Opposition Parties Out to Subvert Montreal Conference on Climate Change
by John W. Warnock
The Leader-Post (Regina)
November 19, 2005
Every week there are new scientific studies released documenting the disaster of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Between November 28 and December 9 over 10,000 people from all around the world are meeting in Montreal for the 11th Conference of the Parties under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, initiated by governments at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. This is a most important international conference where governments will set forth the goals for reductions in GHG emissions for the period after 2012. Unfortunately, we will hear little of this, thanks primarily to the decision by the opposition parties, led by Jack Layton of the NDP, to insist on an election at this time.
Politicians in Saskatchewan have consistently dismissed the scientific evidence on climate change. Some will remember in 1997 the three major parties in our legislature unanimously passed a resolution condemning the conference in Kyoto and refused to send any delegation. In 2002 the Calvert government, supported by the main opposition parties, strongly opposed initiatives to require Saskatchewan to reduce GHG emissions. At every point along the way the Calvert government has sought to escape any commitment to take action. Some will remember that in June 2002 the four western premiers, including Lorne Calvert, agreed to support in principle U.S. President George W. Bush's call for a new continental energy pact which would promote more energy exports.
So where are we today? In 1997 the Canadian government agreed that we should cut our GHG emissions to six percent below the levels that existed in 1990. This was the average goal set for the 40 industrialized countries. However, between 1990 and 2003 Canada's GHG emissions increased by 24%, well ahead of even the United States, where the Bush Administration rejected the Kyoto Protocol. Among Canadian provinces, Saskatchewan has had the highest increase in GHG emissions, up 30% since 1990.
For the major political parties in Saskatchewan, climate change has been a minor issue. Yet there are numerous scientific studies which all conclude that in Canada the far north and the prairies will be the hardest hit by climate change. Water sources are disappearing, as glaciers melt. Warmer temperatures promise longer and deeper droughts. The boreal forest is threatened by fires and insects. Weather will become more unstable. Farmers are already seeing these effects.
This is one area where the Green Party of Saskatchewan is clearly different from the three major parties. Greens across Canada endorse the declaration of the Climate Action Network for the Montreal conference calling for an alternative strategy on energy:
(1) Strengthen energy conservation and fuel efficiency standards.
(2) Support clean, renewable, non-nuclear energy alternatives.
(3) End government subsidies for oil and coal corporations.
(4) Defend the world's forests.
(5) Protect the most vulnerable, around the world and in Canada.
(6) Support a just transition for workers, First Nations and other communities affected by the change to a sustainable energy system.
The major political parties have made it clear that they think the sponsorship scandal is the key issue in this election. Nonsense. It is time to transcend the current emphasis on personal greed and think about the future we are leaving our children and grandchildren. We have a moral obligation to other people and species who live in those areas of the world most affected by the impact of climate change. Think again how you are going to vote in this election. What is really important?
Is the Green Party Different from the Other Parties?
By John W. Warnock
Vol. 7, No. 3, Winter 2005.
The policy of the Green Party of Canada must be firmly based in all of the Four Pillars of the international Green movement and the other six principles which make up the Ten Key Values that are endorsed in some form by all Green parties, including the GPC. The policy and platform of the GPC should be similar to those of other Green parties in the advanced industrialized world.
Given the deep integration between Canada, the United States and Mexico, the GPC must build close co-operative links with the Green Parties in these fellow NAFTA countries.
(1) Grassroots democracy, decentralization of power and decision making, and community based economics and economic justice. Canadian Greens support the international Green commitment to fair trade and the right of all countries to pursue a policy of self reliance. Like the Green Parties in the United States and Mexico, we oppose the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the proposed Free Trade Agreement for the Americans. This is the policy direction of the World Social Forum, where the Greens are a key political force.
(2) Social justice. Greens have a long commitment to social justice and human rights. Around the world the Greens stand strongly opposed to the roll back of the welfare state. A commitment to greater equality requires a system of taxation according to ability to pay and progressive taxes on corporations. Greens everywhere have an historic commitment to international solidarity which requires the reduction of the enormous difference in standard of living between the industrialized countries and the less developed countries.
(3) Ecological wisdom. Humans are a part of nature, must support true sustainability, and must protect future generations and all species. The world now faces an enormous catastrophe in global warming and climate change, and radical solutions are needed right now. Canadian Greens are committed to making the changes necessary to cut fossil fuel consumption by 70%, the level deemed necessary by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In Saskatchewan this clearly sets Greens off from the NDP government and their supporters in the Sask Party and Liberals.
(4) Peace, disarmament and non violence. Greens everywhere have a strong commitment to disarmament and non-violence. Canadians Greens have supported peacekeeping operations under UN direction. We have also called for the reform of the UN to prevent any country from gaining control of the Security Council and using it to promote militarist policies. Canadian Greens stand with our fellow Greens in the United States and Mexico calling for the end of military alliances like NATO. Greens everywhere have strongly opposed the U.S.-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. We endorse the call by the U.S. Green Party for the destruction of all weapons of mass destruction. Structure of the Green Party of Canada
When Green Parties were first formed in Australia, New Zealand and England, and then later in Germany, there was a consensus that the new parties would not just be parties like the others but would be qualitatively different. Thus the Greens have a long historic commitment to participatory democracy, consensus decision making, collective leadership, decentralization and openness. Greens have actively promoted equality for women at all levels of party operations. Canadian Greens are committed to these principles.
The first Green parties established groups as the basic units in the party, not electoral district associations. This was a recognition that the Green parties would "walk on two legs", with one in the legislature and the other in popular extra-parliamentary organizations. We are community activists and are part of a movement for change.
Canada is a very large country and is one of the most decentralized federations in the world. At official political meetings every province and territory has a single equal vote. There is also recognition of special rights for Quebec. Aboriginal Canadians also have status recognized in the Constitution.
The Green Party of Canada was originally structured to reflect the political history of Canada and the Green commitment to decentralization and participatory democracy. It was a confederation of provincial Green parties. On principle, Greens in Saskatchewan are opposed to a highly centralized and hierarchical party. The future strength of our movement requires the development of strong provincial parties, and this has to be done on the local level.
John W. Warnock is a member of the Green Party of Saskatchewan and the Green Party of Canada, Saskatchewan Division
NOTE: The Green Party of Saskatchewan is a registered provincial political party in the province of Saskatchewan. It is an autonomous organization. It is loosely affiliated with the Green Party of Canada and has links of solidarity with the international movement of Green parties. Within Saskatchewan there is a separate organization, the Green Party of Canada, Saskatchewan Division which is a formal branch of the Green Party of Canada. In federal elections the Green Party of Canada, Saskatchewan Division, fields candidates and conducts campaigns in the province of Saskatchewan. It has very close fraternal and other ties to the provincial Green Party of Saskatchewan. Many Greens in Saskatchewan belong to both organizations, but there are those who belong to only one of these organizations.
Green Party of Saskatchewan - New Green Alliance
In 1983 there was an attempt to create a Green Party of Saskatchewan, but it did not succeed. In the mid-1990s a group of political activists in Regina began meeting to lay the groundwork for a Saskatchewan Green party. This culminated in a founding meeting in 1998. The name New Green Alliance was chosen to indicate that the party was a left Green party similar to those in the Scandinavian countries and Australia and New Zealand. Social justice was to be an equal concern with the ecological crisis.
In 2005 at the Annual General Meeting the delegates chose to change the name to the Green Party of Saskatchewan. There was no change in policy or political direction. Quite a few members were concerned that the inclusion of the term "Alliance" was leading people to confuse the party with the Canadian Alliance, with its right-wing policies, and in particular its hostility to the Aboriginal community and Treaty Rights for First Nations people. The Green Party of Saskatchewan has subsequently shifted to the political right, coming under the influence of the new Green Party of Canada.
Fundamental Green Principles
All Green parties around the world subscribe to the Four Pillars of the international Green movement. They are as follows:
In addition to the Four Pillars, almost all Green parties have adopted some form of the additional six basic principles to create the Ten Key Values. They are as follows:
Feminism or the creation of a post-patriarchal society
Respect for Diversity
Personal and global responsibility
Focus on the needs of the future
Saskatchewan: New Green Alliance Policy Papers
At the general meeting of the Green Party of Saskatchewan and the Green Party of Canada, Saskatchewan Division, at Craik, SK on September 24, 2005 a draft proposal was submitted for a new general policy on energy. This draft is being circulated among party members and is listed in the web site of the Green Party of Saskatchewan. It will be considered at the next annual general meeting of the GPS, expected to be held in May 2006. It will be a major part of the party's platform in the next provincial election.
As the NDP government of Roy Romanow moved steadily to the right in the early 1990s, a group of people who had been active in the Saskatchewan Coalition for Social Justice during the government of Tory Grant Devine began meeting to consider forming a new progressive green party. This history is recalled in this paper presented by John W. Warnnock at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities meetings, University of Alberta, May 28, 2000.
Paper presented to the Standing Committee of the Legislature on Health by the Regina Group of the New Green Alliance, July 10, 2001. A Green health policy would put first priority on prevention. As many studies show, ill health is caused by poverty, inequality, and racism, all problems in Saskatchewan. Good health requires good air, water, food and housing. The NDP health policy known as "The Wellness Model" is just a new name for cutting services and more centralized, hierarchical control.
In a brief to the Minimum Wage Board, the New Green Alliance calls for a major increase in the minimum wage. In the 1970s Saskatchewan had the highest minimum wage in Canada, but governments have allowed this to fall to among the lowest. Saskatchewan has the highest percentage of low wage workers of any province. The minimum wage should at least provide an income above the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) level. New Green Alliance calls for a major increase in the minimum wage.
The brief to the All Party Committee of the Legislature by the New Green Alliance calls for the introduction of proportional representation. It also insists that the provisions of the new Act comply with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada which outlawed discrimination against small parties. New Green Alliance calls for real changes in the Saskatchewan Elections Act.
A brief presented to the Regina City Council by the Regina Area Group, New Green Alliance. The brief proposes a progressive taxation system for the municipality, the introduction of a progressive business tax, and opposes the present city policy of promoting urban sprawl development. The NGA called on the City Council to to create an independent commission to review the full costs of urban sprawl development and the promotion of box store "centres of power."