Apparently, the Green Party has a position on income splitting. If this seems a bit random and disconnected from the environment, it is also reflective of a controversial question about what the party ought to be.
Given our first-past-the-post electoral system, the Green Party is never likely to elect many MPs. At the same time, the party has a reasonably large number of supporters – quite possibly more supporters across Canada than the Bloc Quebecois. I would argue that the main message these voters are sending is that Canada needs to take better care of the environment, and prioritize the development of a sustainable society more than we do now. I don’t think they are really endorsing their personal Green candidates, for the most part, or even that they are endorsing the overall Green platform.
Since they will never form a government (barring major constitutional reform, or a huge realignment of voter preferences), it seems there is a strong case to be made for the Greens sticking to their core message and not campaigning on unrelated issues (except as individual candidates, if they wish). It seems like taking a stance on environmentally unrelated things could lead to voters who disagree on those peripheral issues rejecting the party. If the Green Party took a strong stance on an issue like whether Canada should (or should not) have intervened in Libya, the risk is that they would be broadening their message somewhat pointlessly and alienating potential supporters. The Green Party isn’t about income splitting, or intellectual property rights, or criminal justice policy. There may be areas in which policies in this area have environmental effects – and it makes sense for the Greens to comment on them in those senses – but I don’t see the sense in them unnecessarily adopting political positions outside their area of core competency.
What do others think? Would the Greens be a more effective force for driving improved environmental policies if they focus on that area exclusively, or does seeking to be a party with a comprehensive platform actually make more sense for them given the nature of our electoral system and what they want to achieve?