Green Party Special Meeting: Let's Move Forward Together
I admire the passion Green Party members have for human rights. This commitment is reflected in the six values that unite Greens around the world, especially the party’s support for non-violence, diversity and social justice.
As leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO), I believe it is important to support and respect all the diverse communities that exist in Ontario and across Canada. One way to do this is to take a principled stand in support of human rights for all people.
I believe the Green Party of Canada (GPC) unintentionally strayed from this principle when the party passed a motion at its August convention to support the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. As a GPC member, I’m opposed to this resolution.
Instead of targeting one country--in this case a country that holds special significance for Canada’s Jewish community--for economic punishment, I believe GPC policies should direct action toward all countries with serious human rights abuses and who illegally occupy territory.
I urge GPC members to withdraw the BDS resolution at the Special General Meeting the party will hold in Calgary this weekend. This would enable GPC members to restart this discussion with a clean slate and hopefully heal deep divisions within the party resulting from the BDS resolution.
However well-intentioned GPC members may have been in voting in favour of BDS, I believe it is vital for the GPC to separate the party’s opposition to Israeli government policy from the BDS movement. A responsible political party should develop its own independent policy, not endorse a movement that may support policies or positions that contradict Green Party values.
For years, I’ve taken the position within the GPO that our party should not endorse movements or organizations through our policy resolution process—even if the organization’s goals are aligned with GPO policy. I strongly encourage the GPC to adopt this practice when approving GPC policy.
After hitting the reset button, I hope the GPC reaffirms and strengthens the party’s stand against abuses of human rights and illegal occupations. Supporting Green values of non-violence, diversity and social justice means applying these values to all countries. It’s a principled stand that also shows respect for every community in Canada.
I believe this is particularly important in the context of centuries of anti-Semitism and the increase in anti-Semitic acts in today’s political climate - especially in light of recent global events. Greens should unequivocally stand against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate in our words, actions and policies.
I deeply admire the principled stand GPC members have taken on human rights issues under the inspiring leadership of Elizabeth May. I do not want to see Elizabeth or the GPC’s ability to affect change marginalized and ignored by not taking an inclusive position on human rights.
I hope GPC members call out the Canadian government for failing to take a strong stand against human rights abuses. But I encourage GPC members to do it in a principled way that does not ignore abuses in some countries by focusing only on one country.