You are here

"Dear Canada, Do As We Say, Not As We Do" --- Why Green Party Brass Killed Direct On-Line Democracy

How ironic. A party that poses as the vanguard of democratic reform denies its own membership the chance of greater democratic participation. Why?

An Apparent Contradiction

What’s this? A political party that has always claimed to be the spear-head for the democratic reform of Canada’s electoral system junking an experiment in internal party democracy? A political party that has argued for proportional representation in parliament but has abandoned a process that would ensure proportional representation of all strands of opinion within its own ranks as reflected in party policy? A political party that prescribes more democracy for Canada but not for itself?

Welcome to the Green Party of Canada (GPC). A party that in 2004 set up a participatory Web-based process for broad-based policy development that would invite and permit rank-and-file members to determine party policies. Forget stacking meetings and microphones, forget slate voting for convention delegates, forget the standard sordid trademarks of traditional party politics. At long last, here was a political party that would give ordinary party members a direct say in choosing the policies which their party would run on. The initiation of this “Wiki’” process---as it was called----was a de-facto declaration by the GPC of trust in democracy, of faith in its own members, best summarized by Chairman Mao’s famous invitation to members of his Chinese Communist Party. “Let a hundred flowers bloom and a thousand thoughts contend.”

The trouble was, when the people spoke, the leadership didn’t like what they heard----so they pulled the plug on democracy. Obviously the people need to be “educated” before they can be trusted. The party leadership knows best.

The Trouble With Encouraging Democracy Is That Party Members Take It Seriously

In 2004-5, the Green Party brass discovered that “empowered” members can use their new-found power to vote for politically incorrect and inconvenient policies. And none was so politically incorrect and inconvenient than a policy that was articulated in a position paper entitled “A Strategy for a National and International Canadian Population Policy”. It was a policy that would have required the GPC to “provide the strong political leadership needed to create a credible population policy” for the country “and undertake an initiative to educate Canadians about the acute dangers of overpopulation and to build public participation and support for a population policy.” Particularly incendiary was “Position 5”, which stated that:

“The Green Party of Canada should advocate steps to slow the growth of population in Canada pending the development of the information base on carrying capacity and the completion of public consultations, and press for measures to increase international aid to those overpopulated countries that have or are willing to adopt policies to lower fertility but need assistance to develop and implement such policies.”

The paper also offered the view that It went on to argue that “As Canada will have a very slow natural population growth rate without immigration for about the next fifteen years (Statistics Canada), one measure to slow population would be to bring immigration to levels in place prior to 1989” when “Canada adjusted its intake of immigrants according to its ability to absorb and provide suitable employment.” The paper noted that since 1990, when the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney aspired to match the Liberal Party target of one percent annual population growth for the country, immigrants fared significantly worse than other Canadians, while prior to that, the reverse was true. “This”, the authors observed, “may suggest that Canada has reached its carrying capacity. For as long as an ecological surplus exists, additional population seems to increase wealth, but when carrying capacity has been exceeded added population causes a rise in poverty levels.”(William Catton).

Bottom line: “Canada needs to develop a population policy that links human numbers in Canada to the long-term carrying capacity of Canadian lands and boundary waters taking into consideration the needs of other species and the biodiversity required for a healthy ecosphere.”

The People Have Spoken--- Don't Let It Happen Again!

This was dangerous stuff to the party hierarchy----but apparently not to the majority of participating party members, who voted 56% for its inclusion into party policy. It was that fact, rather than the policy proposal itself, which scared the pants off those who feared that their career prospects would be sunk by a democratic torpedo from their own membership. As Tony Cassils, the chief architect of the collaborative effort to formulate this policy, recounted,

“Recommendation 5 caused some unease, especially among the members of the GPC who were candidates in ridings because they feared, probably correctly, that they might be pilloried by other parties for seeming to favour a slowing of immigration. By early April 2005, fearing that the population plank might win approval, they came up with an idea to sever the population plank and make a separate one on immigration. ....Eventually , the GPC simply shut down the Wiki process for policy development. I fully understand the anxiety that Recommendation 5 engenders in GPC candidates and I believe that this is the reason that any thought of population stabilization in Canada is suppressed by the GPC. ...Elizabeth May shuns any mention of limiting population growth.”

Anti-Immigration Views Must Be Quarantined

In retrospect, this suffices to explain why in November of 2008, following the federal election, Eric Walton, Erich Jacoby-Hawkins and others in the ruling GPC clique reacted with reflexive alarm when they learned that all those who had stood as GPC candidates were recipients of a questionnaire sent out on behalf of Biodiversity First ---an organization (of which I was ‘Vice President’) that challenged mass immigration-driven population growth in Canada for its negative ecological impacts. They were quick to advise these candidates not to answer the questionnaire nor to communicate with BF, interpreting it as a classic “divide and conquer” strategy. But given recent history, when a majority of GPC members had indicated support for BF’s aims in the Wiki experiment, it would probably be more accurate to say that party heavyweights were desperate to quarantine our views because they perceived them as a deadly virus that might infect their membership should they be exposed to our perspective. After all, the fact that just three years earlier 56% of grassroots participants approved of a plank to limit population growth---including immigration, was proof enough to them that our ideas would have traction in the Green Party at large.

Elizabeth May A Perfect Fit For A Party Phobic About Population Concerns

This fear pre-dates May’s ascension to the GPC leadership, but her arrival certainly gave it impetus. It is clear that May’s leadership fits perfectly with the ruling clique’s determination to make political expediency and political correctness---rather than ecological correctness---the priority of the party. Elizabeth May was tailor-made for this crew of fake greens, as she auditioned for the role when she lead the Sierra Club of Canada and passed the screen test with flying colours. When Paul Watson and a group of dissident Sierrans threatened to restore the goal of sustainable population for America to the policy books of the Sierra Club of the United States, May threatened to change the name of her sister organization in Canada if they were successful. Since then she has consistently characterized immigration concerns as "trivial" in importance and maintained that urban sprawl fed by exploding population growth can be cured by good "land-use" planning, despite the fact that local zoning is under the jurisdiction of local governments bought and paid for by developers, as Professor Robert McDermid has documented in "Funding City Politics". She remains oblivious to the fact that mass immigration has, in the past two decades, accounted for four times as much GHG emissions as the Tar Sands development, and clings to the delusion that population growth can be 'de-coupled' from carbon emissions and ecological degradation.

The Futility Of Fighting From Within The GPC

Despite May’s make-over of the GPC, it still is not a cohesive and monolithic bloc. Large pockets of the party are not afflicted by population-denial and the opportunism of their leaders. Nevertheless the ruling clique have succeeded in enveloping the party with a cordon sanitaire of filtered information and are slowly but surely creating a party in their own image, much like the Pods in the sci-fi classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” succeeded in replicating the form and shape of human victims. It looks like a Green Party and walks like a Green Party, but when you look into its eyes no one is home. Its policy pronouncements give the game away. This party is Green in name only. Those who would reveal themselves as unassimilated by the governing ideology, who would attempt to play the population card, are destined to be marginalized and driven out with discouragement. As Erich Jacoby-Hawkins told one of them on March 6th of 2008, “’ll find the existing progressive consensus (beyond the Green Party) is towards more open immigration, not tighter, so you are bucking the trend on this issue----so to follow your own Lakoffian advice, you would need to be the one to acquiesce at this point.” Translation: Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

A National Tragedy

The hijacking of Canada’s Green Party by population-denialists is more than a tragedy for the GPC. It is a tragedy for Canada. For if the Green Party will not be truly green, who will?

As that policy position paper of 2005 stated, “Canada needs leadership for the age of ecology from the green parties, not the myopic managers of the old-line parties who act like it is “business as usual “, while paying lip service to the notion of sustainability and to other environmental issues.”

Tim Murray
November 25, 2011.


It seems that normally intelligent and open-minded rational people are fearful of the population question. It belies logic and obviously is a blind spot in thinking. Why? The taboo is so strong that discussions are shut down and shunned by politicians, newspapers, and the media.

The Greens are supposed to be concerned with sustainabilty and environment issues, and what is the number one threat causing climate change, depletion of natural resources, pollution, forest "management", over-consumption, species extinctions, over-fishing, peak oil, food security, conflicts, economic constraints and "shortages" etc? It's human population growth and unrealistic numbers of people vying for limited resources.

The social taboo on touching the topic of population is irrational, and the possibility of being slurred as a "racist" makes the target the worst social offender - a pariah!

Where does this irrational distortion of the concept of "racism" come from? Post-colonial, "white" guilt, the pro-growth-lobbyists, bipartisan social-thought engineering?

My stomach is churning as I type this. I fear even Candobetter is too politically correct to allow me to air my thoughts.

I have been costing my idea to station a private gun boat at Christmas island.
There is a long and dubious history of privateers ignored or sanctioned by the Royal Navy, if the result was vaguely to the interests of the British Empire.

My gunboat would shoot up and/or sink rich illegal immigrants trying to rort Australian and international laws, and trying to enter Australia. More important than guns, the gunboat would have two or three video cameras always recording the action.

If the illegal entry boat didn't sink, but limped to Christmas Island with half the crew and passengers dead or bloodied, to a frothing media welcome, all to the good.

I respect the views of the refugee hugging industry. I merely ask that they respect my views. That Australia is already overpopulation. That all the other millions of species of animals and plants need armed protection against the human plague. The spread of human slime.

There is an ex-offshore racing speedboat -- still holds the Sydney-Birsbane and Sydney-Hobart records for sale in Kurnell for $36,000. Top speed 100 kph. This beast would be faster and could outrun the Navy and Customs patrol boats currently welcoming the human plague.

Those wishing to donate or volunteer -- contact me on
Once the refugees make it to Australia,, all their xmas's come at once.
Thank you taxpayers, thank you ballboys.

Hi Nimby,

I think the source of the irrational distortion is the Growth Lobby - the people who make money out of population growth and the way it pushes up the price of assets they own and stimulates government spending on their industries. So the basis is entirely rational, just not its expression by False or Confused "Greens" who are benefiting from the growth lobby (through various donations of time and publicity) or aware that they will not get publicity for their leaders if they speak counter to growth. To silence those lower down they promote a line that population growth is inevitable and must be defended on human rights grounds. In reality most people no longer know the basic anthropology of steady state societies, which can also exist as agricultural ones.