ABOUT US & HISTORYBy: Eric Stark
Back when I was growing up in late 60s and 70s, the moral issue of the day was the War in Vietnam, and the Canadian Government’s weak stand on the issue. Only the NDP took a strong stand against the war, so that is why I joined that party in the early 70s. It was a radical time back then with young people pitted against the establishment. I can remember, as a University of Toronto student in 1971, participating in a demonstration against the U.S. nuclear bomb test on the Alaskan island of Amchitka, and crossing the barricades to redirect the protest march onto Yonge St. Coincidentally at the same time a group of activists in Vancouver held a concert to raise funds for an expedition to Amchitka to try and interfere with the nuclear tests. Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Phil Ochs and Chilliwack performed to raise the necessary funds and so the eco-activist organization Greenpeace was born. (By the way there is no and never has been any formal relationship between Greenpeace and the Green Party.)
In 1978 I was living in the North York community of Willowdale when our provincial NDP riding association was meeting to decide who our delegates would support in the leadership race to replace Stephen Lewis (then also the MPP for Scarborough Southwest). It was party tradition for riding associations to fully support a single candidate. However I put forward a motion to divide our support in accordance with the percentage of the votes cast for each of the three candidates. Jack Layton, who was also part of our riding association at that time, quickly jumped to his feet to support my motion, and we became the first riding association to cast our votes in this way. At the convention, Stephen’s dad David Lewis, who was the federal leader that succeeded Tommy Douglas, sat with our delegation, I believe to show his support for the way we casting our leadership votes. However after almost 40 years, we still have a long way to go in bringing about democratic reform of our current outdated first-past-the post system.
In reaction to the increasing amounts of environmental devastation throughout the world an ecological agenda was beginning to form, especially after the publication of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson in 1964. The Green Party was born in 1979, when Petra Kelly among others broke off from the ruling SDP party in Germany, bringing about a true eco-consciousness to political life. At about the same time, during the 1980 federal election in Canada, a 25 year old waitress from Cape Breton formed an eco-conscious political party named the Small Party. It was named after the title of E.F. Schumpter’s book ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.’ By the way, the name of that waitress is Elizabeth May. After the 1980 election, Elizabeth went on to study Law at Dalhousie Law School, but others continued and formed the Green Party of Canada in 1983. Elizabeth became its leader in 2006.
I first became aware of Green Party while watching an interview with Petra Kelly on a TV news show in 1983. I liked what I heard, and not being truly comfortable with certain aspects of the NDP, I soon switched my allegiance to the Green Party and began attending their meetings. Lois James was the Green Party matriarch in Scarborough at the time, and held monthly meetings in a plaza on Eglinton Ave near Kennedy. I was even motivated enough to run for the Green Party in Scarborough Southwest during the provincial election of 1995.
Al Gore brought the Climate Crisis to our attention in 2006 with his book and presentation of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. ‘Inconvenient Truth’ presentations were given by a number of people in that year, and at one of these at the University of Toronto – Scarborough campus Lois introduced me to Iain Hamilton and Caren Crawford who had recently moved to Scarborough Southwest. Soon after that we formed the Green Party of Canada, Scarborough Southwest Electoral District Association.
We are lucky to have a very talented teacher, and now a vice-principal, among our members with extraordinary abilities to communicate with people and a passion for our cause. His name is Stefan Dixon and he has been our candidate in the provincial election of 2007, and the federal elections in 2008 and 2011. Another part of our core group is Richard Hennick, a founding member of the Green Party of British Columbia and now a resident of Scarborough Southwest. And we continue to welcome new members dedicated to bringing about real change in Canadian politics.
Petra Kelly | Fighting for Hope
Elizabeth May | Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada
THE GLOBAL GREEN CHARTER PRINCIPLES
We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific value of all forms of life, including non-human species.
We assert that the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of resources to ensure that all have full opportunities for personal and social development.
We strive for a democracy in which all citizens have the right to express their views, and are able to directly participate in decisions which affect their lives.
We declare our commitment to non-violence and strive for a culture of peace and cooperation between states.
We recognize the scope for the material expansion of society within the biosphere, and the need to maintain biodiversity through the use of renewable resources.
Respect For Diversity
We honour and value equally the Earth’s biological and ecological diversity together with the context of individual responsibility toward all beings.