Few party leadership contests in recent years have been as critical for the left in Canada as the current race for the leadership of the federal Green Party.
Canadian politics is currently in a logjam. On the centre and right, we have a Liberal Party up to its usual tricks of talking popular welfare and walking corporate welfare, and a Conservative Party whose new leader won the recent leadership contest with the help of the far-right, including hardline social conservatives and anti-abortion groups.
On the left, the NDP is moribund, captive of a centre-right social democratic (dare we say Blairite?) policy paradigm that is not only repelling voters, but is incapable of responding to the fundamental crisis of capitalism, the ecological emergency and the challenges of a rapidly changing world order.
Until now, the Green Party, under Elizabeth May’s leadership, while advocating some exemplary policies, also cleaved too closely to the mainstream. With May’s decision to step down, however, an opportunity has opened up for an unprecedented shift to the left with the candidacy of Dimitri Lascaris, a long-time activist and former class-action lawyer who is running as an eco-socialist and anti-imperialist.
Lascaris’s platform includes a plan for net zero emissions by 2030, a reduction in military spending by half, and a socially just, egalitarian economy aimed at ‘Just Green Wellbeing.’ Perhaps most importantly, Lascaris is openly intent to push the Green Party to the left, and his ideas are a welcome alternative to those of many other parties still wedded to illusions of ecological sustainability being compatible with infinite growth on a finite planet.
Putting Lascaris at the helm of the GPC could help transform the political scene, expanding the real estate of the left on the political spectrum and putting pressure on the NDP to reacquaint itself with radicalism—opening the possibility of collaboration between the country’s only two progressive parties.
Online voting for members opens on September 26, and results will be announced live on October 3. To vote, you must be a member of the GPC by September 3 at midnight. The GPC is using a ranked ballot, so if you’re looking for your second choice, CD recommends Meryam Haddad, a self-declared ecosocialist from Québec.
Read Canadian Dimension’s wide-ranging interview with Lascaris here.