Wrapping Up The Green Font Series
Why did it become an issue?
How big an issue is it, really?
Can the Greens actual get votes?
The Globe & Mail may still have 97 parts left in their Environmental series but I'll be wrapping mine up today. There are two questions from the original six I asked which still need to be answered; namely, will this change anything in the next election and, if so, what?
Is this a ballot question? Or is it the new healthcare?
-I think it was already a significant ballot question in the last election.
-If Harper continues as he has people will still be highly worried and be looking for someone who looks like they will do something. If Harper puts in some kind of plan, I think a number of people will be satisfied even if the plan does not go far enough.
-This will be a ballot question, but in a negative sense.
-You know, it's tough to guess. Not a ballot question - not yet, anyway. The new healthcare.
-As for the question of how big an election issue will be ... that's a good one, and I don't know the answer. Like I said, for several elections, the enviro wasn't a big issue as all, as best as I can recall. If "something else" (a recession? PQ winning in Quebec? a new terrorist attack - again, God forbid) comes along, the enviro may sink down the list again.
This is one I've gone back and forth on since last fall when it really seemed to pop up as an issue out of thin air (or, hot air, I guess). I think I've finally settled more on the "it will be an issue" side of the spectrum. Even derisively calling it "the new health care" may have been unfair, because the two tier health care scare was an issue in the 2000 campaign.
That's not to say it will be the main ballot question - only that it will move some votes. It seems elections often come down to personality and leadership and with all the parties inching closer together as far as policy, it might not turn into the massive wedge issue the Liberals desperately hope it will become. But after watching provincial governments "go green" and seeing the sustained world wide attention around it in the punditry and general population, I do think it will be one of the top 2 or 3 policy issues people will be basing their vote upon.
If this becomes a ballot question, which party does it help the most?
-Factoring it all in, I'd guess the Liberals would benefit most, but it's hard to say.
-People who value the environment are turning away from the NDP in huge numbers either to the greens, or perhaps to give Dion a chance and hope he keeps his promises. And people who used to vote NDP for protest are tiring of Jack, and seeing increased credibility of another party that is fresher to vote for in protest. This means the NDP's main group of supporters still remaining is the group who believe they are better than libs to deal with social issues.
-The obvious answer would be the Greens. However it also helps the Liberals as long as Harper is unable to salvage his image on the environment.
-It will help the Liberal party the most because the Conservatives are perceived as anti-environment.
-No one (has a plan). Yet.
-If Dion plays his cards right, it should be the Liberals. He's making it the party's prime issue, so if he can't win with it, the party's in trouble.
Yeah, obviously it helps the Greens the most - that's the easy answer. And, as for the Bloc, it probably won't make a difference for them one way or the other. I also think it's probably fair to say this will hurt the NDP more than it will help them, just because some of their votes could get siphoned off to Elizabeth May.
As for the big two, that's still up in the air. The environment is likely an issue the Liberals are perceived to be better at. But, at the same time, if Kyoto is the wedge and you have four parties on one side and the Tories on the other, it really doesn't help the Liberals unless they can convince Green and NDP voters that:
a) A Harper government would be disastrous
b) They'll do as good a job as the Dippers or Greens on this issue
So, while it's kind of a cop out to give an "I don't know", that's really where I sit on this. At the very least, the Liberals need to have a few more arrows in their quiver than just the green enviro one.