Green Party of Canada urged to lead in solving climate crisis by embracing ecosocialism

Carlito Pablo
Former union local president Gene McGuckin is a member of the Vancouver Ecosocialists organization.

November 13th, 2019

Gene McGuckin says he has yet to meet a member of the Green Party of Canada who is an avowed ecosocialist.

Ecosocialists hold that capitalism is the primary culprit behind ecological crisis because of its insatiable pursuit of profit through an economic system that is powered by climate-altering fossil fuels.

McGuckin, a former president of a labour union local, is with the Vancouver Ecosocialists, a group that has been around for a number of years.

McGuckin hopes that when the Greens get around to choosing its next leader, at least one contender may at least suggest that it’s time for the party to go the ecosocialist route.

“The question is whether or not the Green Party wants to play a leadership role in solving the climate crisis, or solving Canada's piece of the climate crisis,” McGuckin told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

McGuckin continued that “some of the fundamentals of ecosocialism are absolutely crucial to them or to the NDP or any other party”.

“We have to get off the decision making process being made by boards of directors on the basis of their profit outlook, and started coming up with a plan, a democratic plan that involves a whole bunch of the different people in society,” McGuckin explained.

According to him, a “planned economy, which is a fundamental part of ecosocialism, is very important to the future of the Green Party's playing a successful role in abating the climate crisis”.

In the run-up to the October 21, 2019 federal election, McGuckin delivered a speech at a climate convergence event in Vancouver.

In his talk, McGuckin railed that none of the four major parties, which include the Greens, acknowledge that the “root cause of both climate disruption and social injustice” is the “worldwide, profit-driven economic system”.

“All the parties are so loyal to this economic system—to capitalism—that they refuse to offer climate justice plans that fundamentally challenge that system, that go beyond some more-or-less-inadequate reforms,” McGuckin said.

“So, they stick with the failing so-called solutions of denialism, market mechanisms (like carbon pricing and tax-breaks), government regulation that never goes far enough, and the confidence that there will be an eleventh-hour, miracle, technological breakthrough,” he continued.

McGuckin may be able to meet Alex Tyrrell one day.

Tyrrell is an ecosocialist, and has been the leader of the Green Party of Quebec since 2013.

Tyrrell has mused about running for leader of the federal Green party, and talked about the need for the Greens to adopt an ecosocialist platform.

It’s another question if the Green Party of Canada is ready to embrace ecosocialism.

As Nanaimo-Ladysmith Green MP-elect Paul Manly explained, the party believes in “multiple” approaches in dealing with the ecological crisis, and that “private enterprise has a role to play”.

“We don’t believe in unfettered capitalism so there’s a place for regulation,” Manly told the Straight in a phone interview. “But we’re also big supporters of co-ops, we’re big supporters of Crown corporations, and government management where it makes sense.”

According to Manly, the Green Party has a diverse base, which includes people who believe in ecosocialism.

“Everything that we do has to have the environment in mind,” Manly said, when asked about his personal opinion about ecosocialism.

“The idea of ecosocialism or ecocapitalism, any kind of model organizing society… can’t ignore the environment anymore,” Manly said.


Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

[Top photo: Former union local president Gene McGuckin is a member of the Vancouver Ecosocialists organization.​]