Democracy is strengthened by candidates and MPs whose allegiance is to their constituents and to shared values, who vote their conscience and are free to give their honest opinions. This means that all Green Party MPs can make decisions with the best interests of their constituents and of all Canadians.
Elizabeth May has come under fire for the Green Party policy not to whip votes (in the House, the Green Party person who would attempt to persuade but could not compel MPs to vote the party line is called the musterer, not the whip). So, how can voters know that if they vote for a Green candidate, that person will vote along party lines once in Parliament? What if the candidate or MP says or does something racist or sexist?
Green Party candidates sign a pledge committing to “showing respect to all living things, including political opponents,” to work hard and earn the trust of their constituents. This pledge is based on the Green Party core values:
- Ecological Wisdom
- Social Justice
- Participatory Democracy
- Respect for Diversity
The Green Party formally adopted the policy of not whipping votes (with Ms May as a sponsor) in 2012, preferring to ask candidates to sign a pledge to adhere to a Code of Conduct that sets out broad principles of ethical conduct but does not commit them to vote according to the Green Party Vision or Platform. In a related policy, however, the Party does prohibit practices and conduct such as personal attacks, discriminatory or sexist remarks, and dishonourable or bullying conduct in the House of Commons. In this regard, Ms May has said that the party “will not allow a racist in our party, period. We have expelled people for anti-Semitism, period. We would expel anyone for Islamophobia, period.”
In Quebec, with regard to Bill C21, candidates have been encouraged to say nothing if they don’t have a firm opinion.
May has also said the Party will not re-open debate on access to abortion. She says all Green Party members of Parliament must “endorse the Green Party’s values, including support of a woman’s right to choose,” and added. “There is zero chance an elected representative of our party will ever reopen the abortion debate.”
In this regard, this is May’s own interpretation of the core values – Platform 2019 is explicit about affirming a woman’s right to choose, but the core values are open to interpretation on the matter.