Monday, April 16, 2007

Green Party policy and nonviolence

The Green Party has announced that Kevin Potvin will not be allowed to run as their Vancouver-Kingsway candidate in the next election because his views are antithetical to Green Party values. The press release opens with the claim that Potvin [expressed] approval for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that [n]on-violence is one of the Green Party's fundamental principles, so the party's position is clear.

I would hope that May read Potvin's article from 2002 before coming to that conclusion. And even if she did, I find such an unequivocal conclusion to be a bit of a stretch: after all, as Potvin clearly stated in the article, and in his rebuttal to the recent criticism, he was stating his feelings at the time, not advancing a violent ideology or some such. Besides, he was a journalist at the time. While such a statement from an elected representative of a country that must work closely with the United States might raise some eyebrows and ruffle some feathers, that's exactly what journalists are supposed to do.

Now maybe May had a telephone conversation with Potvin prior to issuing the press release. Maybe he said something to her that was aberrant to the rebuttal he posted. If so, I think it should've been included in the release, because the party's position seems flimsy as it stands; another example of the excessive caution in Canadian politics.

To take a theory such as nonviolence and apply it so broadly to everything representatives (and would-be representatives) of your party say and write is to invite disaster: if they manage to navigate that minefield at each and every press conference, you can be certain of what will be first and foremost on their minds at all times, and, by extension, of the chances of anything remotely illuminating being said.

And how did nonviolence get so high up in the party's platform anyway? When I hear antithetical and the Green Party, big oil and clear-cutting come to mind, but not violence. Not that I think violence solves anything, but it has about as much to do with environmental protection as womens' rights, or abortion. Let's stay on message here, people; at least 'til we get a bleedin' seat anyway.


tavis w. dodds said...

Kevin Potvin is not the blood-thirsty monster they make him out to be. My wife and I joined his campaign the moment we heard about it because we thought it would be the only chance to get a real voice for peace. All I know now is that the candidate we all thought would be the first green MP is now the man Canadians love to hate. When we nominated Potvin he went unchallenged. We all know his opinions, he's been publishing them for years! We wanted him as the candidate because we thought he'd win and we wanted him in Ottawa because of his opinions. If you look at his body of work you will notice that he is not a blood-thirsty guy. I thought the voters would be able to see that right away. He runs a bookstore! I thought people could trust that! I trust that! On the other hand you get the war mongering editorials in the papers hell bent on slandering Potvin. I think this whole thing proves that the Liberals, the Greens, and the COnservatives are all the same.

John said...

Thanks for your comments, Tavis. I wasn't familiar with Kevin's writing prior to this press reporting, but I see no reason to doubt your assessment, given what I've now read; in fact, I'll be checking The Republic... regularly from now on, as he seems to be an astute fellow. I think the Green Party's missed a golden opportunity, and, as you say, has just shown how little they differ from their established rivals in Ottawa.