Who really owns the votes?

Who really owns the votes? I was surprised by several things in Al Pope's October 30th column, Young Canadians Protest, Greens Grab Spotlight. I'm writing to address just a couple of the more disappointing surprises. Pope claims that the Green Party is

I was surprised by several things in Al Pope’s October 30th column, Young Canadians Protest, Greens Grab Spotlight.

I’m writing to address just a couple of the more disappointing surprises.

Pope claims that the Green Party is “stealing support” from the NDP. But surely no party owns the votes of Canadians, such that they are stealable. To suggest political parties have that kind of power does our democracy a disfavour and, I fear, perpetuates the alienation that keeps potential voters away on election day.

Seems to me that every party Ð and candidate Ð must earn, and continually re-earn, the support of the electorate. I think that the great majority of voters take their responsibility seriously. I hope it can’t be called “stealing” to present a credible and sincere alternative that voters can choose or not. Voters can think for themselves, after all.

In any event, with all due respect to both Pope and the NDP, he is mistaken that the NDP is the only political party from which the Green Party is drawing support. In fact, voters are coming to the Green Party from across the entire political spectrum. And I feel proud to support a party with the sort of pragmatism and common sense that’s appealing to people from diverse backgrounds.

Two of the principles that first attracted me to Green politics more than 20 years ago are participatory democracy and respect for diversity Ð principles that I have not seen privileged in the same way in other Canadian political parties.

I would argue that our democracy is ultimately better served through more choice for voters, not less as Pope seems to advocate with his advice that the Green Party disband. And I think we’re all best served by those politicians and political parties best able to adapt to the times in which we live.

If readers of Al Pope’s column would like to go to the source, and discover for themselves the many ways the Green Party differs from the NDP (as well as the ways that it’s similar), they can visit www.greenparty.ca.

Deanna McLeod

Whitehorse