Opinions

Green Party doesn't steal

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: "Vote-splitting--The phenomenon that lost good seats," Nov. 25, 2004,

The myth of Greens "stealing" votes is just that: a myth. If you had dug deeper in your research, you would have noticed that the Greens do not "steal" votes from the Liberals or the NDP who actually made gains in the recent federal election. Our votes come from the Conservatives and disillusioned, disenfranchised voters who would not vote.

You are correct in your assumption that we would rather see a Liberal win over a Conservative. What student wouldn't? However, we would like to see any future government of Alberta adopt Green ideals.

The reason we are with the Green Party is because we believe in Green ideals. One third of Green votes come from voters who, if the Greens were not present on the ballot, would rather not vote. We stand for a socially progressive, fiscally conservative, and environmentally friendly Alberta. We have the money and the resources to make this province infinitely sustainable, if we start working on our future now.

Over the course of the provincial election the Green Party of Alberta Leader George Read managed to bring environmental issues to the table via the Leaders' Debate. Though he was shut out of the debate, the opposition leaders raised the topic of oil royalties and how little Alberta is charging for them. This is a topic that has been on the Green Party members' minds since 2000 when the Parkland Institute released their study called "Giving Away the Alberta Advantage."

Here is another example of how a party with no seats can influence the government in power. The Green Party of Alberta drew major media attention to the polluting historic gas plant in Turner Valley. The Conservative government took over the site in 1988, when containment, clean up, and restoration was promised. This November, the Greens held a press conference at the site with the Conservative MLA in attendance. It is now on record that not only will the government fulfill its obligation and pay what was promised to complete the work, but they will also do it in a timely fashion. Thanks to the Greens the residents downstream of the plant can now hold their MLA accountable if their water is still being polluted.

One other problem that you forgot to mention is our electoral system. In Canada we have what is called the First Past the Post electoral system. This allowed Mr. Klein to win 73.5 per cent of the seats in the Legislature: a hefty majority government. Yet in this election the voter turn out was a measly 44.5 per cent. This means that of the eligible voters who voted, only 46.8 per cent stood behind Mr. Klein. If you do the math, only 20.8 per cent of the eligible voting population in Alberta endorsed the Conservative government. This is atrocious and we believe that our archaic electoral system should be analyzed and reformed. If reformed, our legislature could then be a true representation of Albertan's values.

Miss Morrell, the problem is not the "Alberta mini-parties"; we are not 'splitting' the votes nor are we 'stealing' the votes. Votes go to where they are earned. You have misplaced your anger; rather than blaming the Greens and NDP for not working with the Liberals; you really should consider our outdated, First Past the Post system of voting which silences the democratic will of 80 percent of Albertans.

We are not right. We are not left. We are forward. Vote Green.

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