Green Strategy and the SPP
At the conference a couple of weeks ago where Elizabeth May mused about income trusts, she also committed to make opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) the centrepiece of the Green Partyâ€™s forthcoming election platform.
The SPP is an arrangement between Canada, the US, and Mexico that seeks to accelerate tar-sands development, among other objectives. It is very much a Liberal product. Specifically, John Manley played a leading role in formulating the SPP and Paul Martin led Canada into it.
Mayâ€™s recent deal with the Liberals seems particularly strange in this light. Has May abandoned her promised platform or has Dion renounced the Manley-Martin SPP?
The Green Partyâ€™s previous strategy was to win as many votes as possible across the country to obtain more public funding, build toward future elections, and bring more attention to environmental issues. In almost every riding other than Central Nova, the May-Dion alliance makes it easier for Liberals to enlist potential Green voters to Stop HarperTM and save the planet. Essentially, May has written off nearly every other Green candidate in the country in order to improve her personal odds of being elected.
May has put all of the Green eggs (and ham) in one basket. If she does not win, then this new strategy will only have helped the Liberal Party appropriate Green votes. If she wins, she will not have anyone to second her motions let alone official party status. In effect, May would have to function as an appendage of another party. Through her deal with Dion, she has clarified which party it would be. Whether or not May is elected, the beneficiary of this deal will be the Liberal Party.
In two short weeks, May has gone from denouncing the SPP to handing a huge political gift to the party that produced it.
UPDATE (April 19): Murray Dobbin had a good column on this subject in The Tyee yesterday.