The party leaders by LeDaro
They do it fast up here; 36 days from the announcement until the election. But then unlike the States, all the leaders are in place and well known, all of the policies and platforms ready to go, as the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper tries to get a majority government. Stephane Dion's Liberals used to be known as the Natural Governing Party, having been in power for most of the 20th century, but the center/ left is now split among four parties- the Liberals, the New Democrats with Jack Layton as leader, the Greens with Elizabeth May, and the Quebec Separatist Bloc Quebecois.
It used to be an easy decision for environmentalists, but it certainly isn't now; everyone claims to be green.
Political map after last election; in a reverse of the American model, Conservatives are Blue, Liberals red, NDP orange.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion
The Liberal Party
The Liberal platform centers on the Green Shift, which includes a massive transfer from income tax to carbon taxes, and big investments in renewable energy and conservation. But as the Canadian economy follows the American economy into the tank, people are getting nervous about it.
Party leader Stephane Dion says "The time has come to do what is right – not what is easy – for our environment and for our future.
That is why the Liberal Party of Canada has introduced the Green Shift, a bold plan that will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st century global economy.
Our plan is as powerful as it is simple. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of such as income, investment and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.
Energy costs are soaring all over the world. While energy prices continue to rise, we need to encourage energy efficiency. We need to change wasteful habits. We need to discourage polluting activities."
Stephen Harper is the white guy carefully surrounded by young people, women and people of colour, instead of the usual crowd of old white men.
The Conservative Party
The Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called the Green Shift "crazy" and "insane" and appears to be building their campaign around an attack on it.
Their environmental policies include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 (which will be hard to do with the oil sands still cranking it out). Even the very right wing editorial board of the National Post says "While we also oppose the Green Shift, we agree with Mr. Dion that the country would be well-served by a more mature, policy-oriented discussion of energy and environmental policy. The Tories might like to explain, for instance, whether they have any plan to address the extraordinary environmental impact of Alberta’s tar sands projects."
They have developed a strong chemicals management plan that is taking a careful look at what chemicals are out there poisoning us, and are looking at banning quite a few of them, including Bisphenol A.
The New Democratic Party
Jack Layton's NDP has to always tread a fine line between it's base as a labour party and its environmental policies. Its "5 Point Plan for a Cleaner Environment" will help create thousands of sustainable jobs, reduce tons of greenhouse gas emissions and help kick start Canada to become a world leader in the 21st century economy."
The platform notes that while the Liberals are talking a green line now, "Despite endless promises to reduce pollution, greenhouse gas emissions under three successive Liberal majorities skyrocketed by more than 24%. Today, as a result of this inaction, Canada is one of the world’s worst polluters, and more and more Canadians, especially children and seniors, suffer from pollution-related health problems such as respiratory illness.
Now is the time for action. Canada’s future prosperity and the health of future generations rely on the federal government taking a leadership role today."
It has some great stuff in its greener homes strategy, which would put "forward a set of realistic proposals to help conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, attract green investment and create jobs."
However its green transportation strategy is nothing but a pander to the auto workers and only mentions alternative transport options in passing.
The Green Party
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May:
"Now, at the end of the Fossil Fuel Era, we are emerging to a new reality. The Fossil Fuel Era has been our adolescence – years of partying like there was no tomorrow. The party's over. We are ready to make the next leap – as momentous as abolishing slavery or giving women the vote. We are ready to make the fundamental shifts that allow us to live in balance with our life support systems, respecting each other, achieving social and economic justice, peace and democracy.
Only the Green Party grasps the future. The Green Party is the only federal party capable of avoiding the phony short-term issues that dominate our politics to focus on the long term.
The Green Party of Canada is committed to nurturing families and communities. As leader, I am very committed to integrated policies that focus on the welfare of the child, starting with pre-natal nutrition all the way to safe playgrounds and neighbourhoods, to affordable and accessible university education. We must stop designing our cities around the car and start designing them around the child.
We will press for economic policies that ensure our prosperity and security in real terms. Ecological fiscal reform (tax shifting) is key, reducing taxes on things we want, like jobs and income, while taxing things we don’t want, like cancer-causing chemicals, greenhouse gases (GHG) and air pollution. Our policies are fiscally responsible, involving new taxes offset by reductions elsewhere. "
Unfortunately while their policies are the greenest, their chances of getting elected are not. May herself is making a suicidal run against a popular Conservative, and while the party might get a couple of seats, they could also siphon off enough votes to cause the loss of some progressive candidates. ::Green Party of Canada
More on Canadian politics
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives:
Canada PM Harper's Green Facade Crumbling?
Canadian Architects Call Out Harper for Hypocrisy :
Gore Calls Canada's Climate Plan a Fraud
Canada's New Green Plan: Not Very
Elizabeth May and the Green Party:
Elizabeth May Elected Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Stephane Dion and the Liberals:
Green Turtle Beats Hares In Canadian Liberal Party Race
Arrgh, Stephane ! Don't Do an Obama!