Session 6 was focused on the framing of a “New Politics” i.e. what is necessary in order to get the New Politics message to resonate. For this session we were joined by our two deputy leaders; Dr Lisa Gunderson and Dr Sanjiv Gandhi, as well as two people who have been nominated in their ridings and have run for the BC Greens in past elections; Nicole Charlewood and Jeremy Valeriote.
There were no breakout groups but there was a very lively discussion in the chat window which is posted here. There were also real time surveys conducted using Mentimeter.
There was a presentation on how “New Politics” relates to platform, policy and politics.
Speaking the “truth”.
In a speech made in the House, Sonia talked about politicians as “peddlers of optimism” and the tendency of politicians to avoid unpleasant truths. The panel was asked to comment on how we need to talk about difficult issues like the climate emergency. The consensus was that people are well aware of the climate crisis, especially youth. Lisa noted that 84% of 15 to 25 year-olds have moderate to high climate anxiety. Giving a message without offering solutions simply increases the anxiety to the point where people give up.
We need to give people agency and control, and invite them to join us in being part of the solutions. We need to meet people where they are but give hope within the truth.
The question of whether we are leaving people out of the conversation was discussed and how we can give people a sense of belonging in politics and the BC Green party. Some people feel so completely alienated by politics that they want nothing to do with it, let alone vote. It was even felt that the political system is designed to keep people out. Others (still) perceive the Green party to be a single issue party and don’t think it addresses their issues.
We need to talk to people regularly, to listen and act on what they say, as well as intentionally go into those spaces so we can hear what people are saying. We need to correct preconceived notions about the Greens and demonstrate the diverse nature of all that the party embraces. There is also the opportunity to show how things are interconnected, for example how climate change intersects with so many other issues. It was suggested that group activities with joy and purpose help give people a sense of belonging.
Participation gives people a sense of belonging, and people should want to vote. Jo-Ann is developing an initiative, “Storm the Ballot Box” to encourage people to vote and take back democracy.
Values and Principles
Our values and principles are key to who we are as a Party. It was generally felt that the 6 BC Greens’ principles are good, but that we need to develop specific examples to illustrate what each principle is about and how we use it in practice.
“Real Wealth” vs the Growth Based Paradigm
The panel was asked how we counter the growth based paradigm when our real wealth is our natural environment.
It was acknowledged that people are concerned about their jobs and being able to feed their families. Sanjiv talked about the importance of the social determinants of health and how economic and social conditions are an important part of population health.
However, Nicole noted that the BC Greens are not taking jobs away from people, technology and AI are reducing the number of workers needed, and clear cutting forests was leading to fibre shortages in the Nelson-Creston area. She said that we need a different way of thinking, the AAC destroys forests and jobs, and the amount we get from stumpage does not even pay to run the Ministry of Forests. There are still plenty of jobs to be done, they will be different jobs e.g. in the protection and rehabilitation of ecosystems, watersheds and forests.
Lisa noted that many cultures know that real wealth lies in nature, it is the love of money and greed that is the problem. Green and blue space is essential to our wellbeing. We need to avoid conversations that pitch the environment against the economy.
Jeremy spoke of the actions in Whistler to mitigate climate change. Vail resorts has a target of zero emissions and zero waste by 2030 and the Municipality of Whistler has a no growth principle with a cap on growth. The objective is to showcase Whistler as an ecological resort with a restorable economy. He mentioned the work of outdoor groups through the “Protect our Winters” organisation.
The Mentimeter Surveys
Six questions were asked:
- What aspects of these sessions did you enjoy the most, and would like to see us do more of?
- How well do you think that BC Greens communicate on troubling issues and their solutions?
- Could we improve our principles?
What are the most important ideas that MUST be included in the BC Greens New Politics? Word cloud - participants could choose from the list or insert their own words.
GPI(Genuine Progress Indicator)
Environmental boundaries model
Quality of life
Steady state economics
- In preparation for the next election, what are you prepared to do to spread the BC Greens’ story?
- What do you consider to be the most important thing that you can do to model our Green story?
You can see the results here.