Although I dislike how the Green Party of Canada went from being an environmental party above left-right politics to a generic progressive party that prioritizes the environment, this is not why I think the Green Party is bad. While I dislike how the Green Party is blatantly anti-science as displayed in their support for homeopathy, bans on fluoride, and oppositions to things like Wi-Fi, nuclear energy and GMOs, this is not why I think the Green Party is bad. Despite my objections to the Green Party forcing their president to resign from their party due to being a Zionist or Elizabeth May presenting a petition calling for Canada to conduct a parliamentary review on 9/11 being an inside job, this is not why I think the Green Party is bad. Simply put, I think the Green Party is bad because it is damaging to the environment.
In the most recent Canadian election in 2011, the Green Party received 576,221 votes, giving them their very first elected member of parliament. In the 2015 election, they will likely receive over one million votes. On the surface this seems great; hundreds of thousands of voters powerfully sending a clear message that the environment is a top priority for Canadians. Unfortunately, this message gets lost in the realities of politics. Due to Canada’s first past the post system of government, the Green Party effectively has no say in how Canada is governed today, or at anytime in the foreseeable future.
To understand how one million people voting for the Green Party could possibly be bad for the environment, it is better to look at this phenomenon from a different angle. Instead of looking at one million Canadians voting for the Green Party, think of it as one million potential voters not voting for the Conservatives, Liberals or NDP. This matters for two important reasons. The most obvious is that by voting for the Greens instead of the NDP or Liberals, the Conservatives are more likely to win swing ridings and consequently, have an increased level of power. If one believes that the Conservatives are worse for the environment, then by inadvertently helping them gain power over the Liberals and NDP, they are allowing the environment to be harmed.
The much more important aspect of this has nothing to do with how good or bad any particular party is for the environment, but by how political parties create their platform. Political platforms, and subsequently, the policies enacted by a political party are the result of many different targeted benefits designed for specific groups. Each benefit is created with the hopes of attracting a new type of voter. If you love cops, hate cops, have children, love fitness or anything else that might matter to you, political parties have carefully crafted a targeted benefit to help win you over from the other parties.
When hundreds of thousands of the most environmentally conscious Canadians vote for the Green Party no matter what, the other parties have no incentive to appeal to them. Most environmental policies have a prejudicial cost and if there is no political reward from enacting it, it simply will not happen. Without the Green Party, the Conservative, Liberals and NDP would be competing with each other to see who can offer the most environmentally friendly platform with the hope of gaining up to one million votes, from those who prioritize the environment. Instead, the parties that actually govern Canada will simply ignore the entire demographic of passionate environmentalists. Rather than going out of their way to be pro-environment, the parties merely need to be not environmentally unfriendly to the point where they are losing support from the median voter.
The Green Party’s damaging impact on the environment is further evident when one looks at the opportunity cost of supporting Green Party. Presently, hundreds of thousands of environmentalists donate their time, money and energy on supporting a party that has no ability to influence either Canadian policy or Canadian public debate. Instead, these environmentalists could be either carving out a base within various political parties and promoting environmental causes there, or alternatively, promoting environmental issues in the public sphere in a non-partisan way. The opportunity cost of investing in the Green Party compared to green issues as a whole is massive.
If you prioritize the environment, I recommend you invest both your vote and support elsewhere.