Un nouveau rôle pour la gouvernance
peine de démarrer
un nouveau parti
Ce n'est pas une
mince affaire de
réunir des gens
d'un bout à l'autre
du pays, de
définir une cause
commune et de
tenter de percer
les barrières bien
Parti vert est
A New Role for Governance
Sustainability Project - 7th Generation Initiative
June 24, 2004
would anyone bother to start a new political party? It's no small
task, to connect with people across a country, define a common cause
and then attempt to breach the well-guarded access to public
The motivation behind the Green Party's emergence is compelling.
Since industrialization began, society has focused on building
productive machinery, hooking it up to energy sources and cranking out
ever expanding volumes of material goods. Until now, politicians of
all stripes have made their careers by promising ever greater volumes
of gross product for their electors.
The continuous expansion of the industrial process has brought
about a fundamental change in our relationship with the Earth.
When industrialization began, people numbered a few hundred
million. Today there are over six thousand million of us. Furthermore,
each of us today, on average, consume a far greater volume of natural
resources and produce a correspondingly greater amount of waste. In
the last fifty years, our waste has increasingly contained dangerous
manufactured chemicals. The change in human impact is huge.
(photo: Gilles Daigle)
At a time when human activity is disrupting everything from the
diversity of life forms to the global climate, what sense is there in
continuing to accelerate expansion?
Rather than disperse what remains of the natural world for
political and economic gain, effective government should be
reorganizing the system to encourage non-destructive practices. The
need for change is doubly obvious when we see decisions being made on
the blind assumption that expanding the flow of money (GDP) will
increase well-being. This is what globalization is about. It inflates
GDP, but that money has little to do with the well-being of most
people. What use is the GDP measure when is sees no difference between
money spent cleaning up disasters brought on by our waste and money
spent educating the next generation. Indeed, education, along with
health care is often sacrificed to feed the "needs" of
Green governance would start with a Genuine Progress Index (GPI).
In addition to the traditional measurements of economic performance:
GDP and rates of employment, a GPI would measure job satisfaction and
dependency on foreign investment. It would also measure the value of
unpaid work in homes and communities, resource stocks, pollution
levels, the durability of goods, the nutritional quality of food,
levels of education, public participation in decision making, rates of
crime, signs of equity and inequity and other factors which Canadians
feel indicate improvements in, or deterioration of, their well-being.
government would follow by lowering taxes on employment and would
replace the diminished revenue with taxes on resource drawdown and
pollution. Phased in over a number of years, this would have the
effect of making it less expensive to employ people and more expensive
to waste resources and pollute. In the meantime, public resources
would be allocated in ways to encourage renewable energy,
conservation, pollution reduction, local employment, preventative
health care, participatory democracy and education.
While consumption and waste have to be managed within limits,
education and preventative health care offer unlimited opportunities
for improving well-being. These public services are based primarily on
good will, sharing of information and caring for each other. The
obsolescence of the old political priorities is revealed when these
activities are discounted because they do not make the economy grow.
What is life for? Are we born to shop until we drop? Or would we
actually derive more satisfaction from clean air and water, quality
food and time to spend with friends. Genuine progress is progress
which leaves the world intact for the generations that follow.
If your vote counted, would you vote for the party that offers to
lead Canada toward a healthy relationship with the land and life? Take
the leap of faith and the Green Party will take steps to establish
proportional representation (PR). PR means that the seats in
Parliament would be filled in proportions matching the votes cast.
Majority power could no longer be exercised without a majority of
votes. Your vote could be used to express how you feel the country
should be run rather than as a weapon to deter unsavory parties and
politicians. Parliament would become a place for debating issues from
different perspectives, rather than a setting for opportunism and
Consider the possibilities.
Nickerson is presently writing "Life,
Money & Illusion,"
a book on Ecological Economics, due to be published in 2005.