Green Party info

This information was in response to my email asking about vote splitting. 


First I can help address your concerns about vote splitting. The Green Party presents a viable alternative to the three traditional parties in Canada and encourages voters to vote for those candidates that they believe would best represent their values and beliefs. 


Since 2011 Greens have been consistently winning - electing candidates in ridings that many people said were unwinnable. Elizabeth May faced opposition on the grounds she would “split votes” when she ran against Conservative Cabinet Minister Gary Lunn in Saanich-Gulf Islands - a riding she won by 7,346 votes. Andrew Weaver unseated a sitting British Columbian Cabinet Minister in 2013, winning with an overwhelming share of the vote. Then in New Brunswick, David Coon, a longtime opponent of irresponsible resource development, unseated that province’s Conservative Energy Minister. Peter Bevan-Baker followed in late 2014, yet again unseating a Cabinet Minister, and becoming the first Green MLA elected in Prince Edward Island.


Elizabeth has written a fantastic opinion piece addressing some of your concerns. She points out: “In riding after riding across Canada, Greens have proven that if you vote for what you want, you actually get it.” I’d highly encourage you to read the piece.


Green Party candidates have won the trust and confidence of the voting public across Canada and they are making good on their promises. Green MPs work harder and represent their constituents better than any other party’s representatives who, once elected, find themselves constrained by hyper-partisanship and increasingly powerful party leaders. 


Ultimately, voters should all be able to vote for the most suitable representative of their opinion and beliefs. The single largest voting block in the 2011 election - 40% of all voters - were the people who chose not to vote at all. Increasing voter turnout is key - and Greens increase voter turnout wherever we are competitive. 


Secondly, the Green Party sets itself apart from all other Canadian political parties by vigorously promoting social justice, taking substantive steps towards economic reform, and committing to environmental sustainability. Here are eight main issues on which the Green Party and the NDP differ considerably, offering Canadians a wider range of choice than would be available with only three main parties. 


1. The Green Party is the only party that does not whip votes. This means that Green Members of Parliament are free to vote in the way that will best represent the interests of their constituents even if this involves straying from the party line. For example, Green Party Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer decided to leave the NDP because he could not vote in the way his constituents wanted. He eventually joined the Green Party because he felt that doing so would allow him represent his constituents freely. 


2. We are the only political party that is unequivocally opposed to building new pipelines to transport oilsands bitumen to foreign markets. The Green Party believes that bitumen pipelines are too risky and bad for our economy. Conversely, the NDP has not taken a firm stance against the construction of new pipelines; they support the Energy East pipeline and have yet to give a clear answer on Kinder Morgan.


3. The Green Party supports adopting a Carbon Fee and Dividend, a revenue-neutral system designed to make polluters pay and put money back in the hands of Canadians. Meanwhile, the NDP supports a cap and trade system. Under a cap and trade system, polluters are able to continue unsustainable practices by buying emissions credits from other companies. 


4. The Green Party plans to implement a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI). A GLI would provide a regular payment to every Canadian, at a level above the poverty line, to meet Canadians' basic needs while encouraging additional income generation. A GLI does not require needs testing, surveillance, or additional follow up. Whereas the NDP’s plan to raise the minimum wage for federally regulated employment to $15 (which the Green Party also proposes), will apply only to a small fraction of workers, the Green Party’s plan to implement a GLI would apply to all Canadians living below the poverty line. 


5. The Green Party believes that corporations should pay their fare share. We propose to raise the corporate tax rate to 19%, the level it was at in 2009. The NDP has promised to keep the corporate rate "far below the average that the Conservatives had for the 10 years that they've been in power."


6. We believe in Senate reform, guided by a referendum that puts the question directly to the Canadian public, whereas the NDP would like to abolish the institution. 


7. The Green Party is in favour of legalizing, regulating, and taxing the sale of marijuana. The NDP is in favour of decriminalization only. 


8. More than any other political party, the Green Party of Canada has demonstrated a willingness to work cooperativelywith other political parties for the good of our country. We have long advocated cooperation among the progressive voices in Canada. Elizabeth May has reached out to her colleagues within the Liberal Party and the NDP to explore these options, but, at least so far, both have refused to entertain the notion of co-operation. We remain hopeful that either Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Mulcair will eventually become more amicable to the idea.


For further information, I invite you to visit and the comparisons conducted by Macleans



I know this became a long email, I hope it was helpful! Thank you again for engaging with us on these important issues.







Michèle Bridger

Information Officer // Agent d'information

Green Party of CanadaParti vert du Canada



joseph's picture

Reality Check: we're stuck with FPTP

I agree with virtually everything Michele says here - the Green Party does offer a substantial, well-conceived platform and significant improvements to parliamentary process.
But the issue Sheila raises is about our electoral system - First-Past-The-Post. This system sucks - big time. And Elizabeth May has written extensively about some of the anti-democratic outcomes that arise from it - and kudos to her and the Greens for making electoral reform a major plank in their platform, and for her effort to try to encourage the NDP and Liberals into joining her.
But the reality of this election is very clear: Mr. Harper won an "majority" government with only 39% of the votes. He has used that majority to shred oversight and evidence-based decision making, and to push through reckless policies and trade agreements that will bind future governments for decades. We must get rid of the "Harper Government" in this election, whatever it takes - no holds barred!
Unfortunately, given our lame FPTP electoral system, that means strategic voting. When you engage in strategic voting, the specter of vote-splitting arises. And thus Sheila's question is legitimate and has not been answered directly in this response.

Perhaps the Greens have the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate in our riding, or maybe it will be the NDP or Liberal candidate. Only local, riding-level polling can help those of us who plan to vote strategically -- and we need a way to get that polling information and all vote together as a block to ensure we don't split votes.

There are several groups working on this problem, perhaps the most coordinated and well-funded is LeadNow's effort:
I will be using this information to make a strategic vote with the best chance to elect Anyone But Conservative in my riding - I hope others will join me.

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