Green Support in Canada’s Federal Election

If Canada’s Green Party was the standard bearer for environmental policy in the country’s recent federal election, one could draw the conclusion that Canadians on the whole are not particularly interested the environment but that there is a nascent interest emerging in the population. This doesn’t square with most polling prior to the election, and the reason in large part is likely the current global economic turmoil that caused voters to focus on issues of more immediate self interest. However, a quick look at the electoral results for the Greens tells its own interesting story.

The fact that the Green Party did not win a single seat in the 308 seat House of Commons doesn’t really tell you a lot about the mood of the country. The Green Party is young, with new faces, and has yet to insert itself into the national political consciousness on a major scale. However, the popular vote for the party rose to 940,000 votes, increasing to almost 7% from 4.5% in the previous federal election a couple of years ago.

The breakdown of the popular vote for the Green Party across the country shows some curious levels of support by province. Keeping in mind their relative population bases, it’s still interesting to note, from West to East:

Yukon 13.0 %

North West Territories 5.5 %

Alberta 8.8 %

British Columbia 9.4 %

Saskatchewan 5.6 %

Nunavut 8.4 %

Manitoba 6.8 %

Ontario 8.0 %

Quebec 3.5 %

New Brunswick 6.2 %

Prince Edward Island 4.7 %

Nova Scotia 8.0 %

Newfoundland & Labrador 1.7 %

A few superficial observations here: One of the Green’s more interesting strongholds is Alberta, the economic powerhouse of Canada with its huge Tar Sands oil extraction, and a target of environmental action.

British Columbia is high along with Yukon, both known for their West Coast environmental activism. Quebec, which is more focused on its separatist cause, didn’t register much in environmental voting.

Draw your own conclusions from the others, and then watch how the Conservative minority federal government and the opposition parties tackle environmental issues in the new Parliament.

Will it be environmental economics, or economic environmentalism?

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Colin Laughlan