Greens choose pragmatism over principle in deal with NDP

Two & Out
By James Peters
June 2, 2017 - 4:00pm

KAMLOOPS — The Green Party, whether here in BC or in other jurisdictions across Canada, has made its name first on its commitment to the environment, and second on its refusal to compromise on matters of principle. 

It has stood resolute despite repeated overtures from the BC Liberals and NDP, who have watched with a mixture of envy and trepidation as the Green Party gains support and momentum, election after election. 

Greens tapped in on a growing wave of dissent with heritage parties that may hold divergent political positions, but seem to take the same approach to power and privilege. 

With this week's deal between Andrew Weaver's caucus and the BC NDP, the Green Party has exchanged that commitment to principle for pragmatism, something Greens have never been known for.

While this decision may represent the first real chance for Greens to see their policy priorities implemented in the halls of power, they have also sold out their distinct claim at the ethical high ground. 

And that's not just because they chose to make a deal with the NDP. 

Make no mistake, the decision to hitch their wagon to the Liberal horse would have been equally compromising to the Greens' set of bedrock beliefs.

That's because it became clear in the agreement signed between Weaver and Horgan that the Greens weren't interested in hanging on to many of what made them distinct.

The deal doesn't kill the Site C Dam outright, it doesn't promise a direct switchover to proportional representation, and it otherwise simply echoes the NDP platform.

In other words, what is the point of the Green Party carrying on, if it is only going to capitulate to the NDP for the next four years?

In fact, it's more likely grassroots Greens will revolt before that happens, and Weaver will be forced from within to break this deal long before the four-year term is up.

It wouldn't be a surprise to anyone if we are going to the polls again in 2018, with Weaver needing to defend his party's relevance.

In hindsight, Weaver will have wished he had struck no deal with anyone, and simply propped up the government on a case by case basis.

That would have been a position of more principle.