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Dear Bruce Wark,

Having been active in Green politics for over 20 years, it is with a great sense of sadness that I agree with your editorial "Up for debate" (Dec 15). Under Jim Harris's leadership, the Green Party has largely abandoned the Global Green Charter's commitment to a sustainable environmental future based on non-violence, social justice and grassroots democracy. At best, the party pays lip service to these fundamental green principles. It is for this reason I resigned as the Party's education shadow critic and withdrew my candidacy for Halifax.

It's not so much Harris "taking a softer approach" but actually throwing away many traditional Green policies, such as free post-secondary education for students, a guaranteed annual income to eliminate poverty, a mandated reduced work week to reduce stress and create employment, withdrawal from NATO and remaking the Canadian military into a true peacekeeping force. Instead, the party has supported Canadian military participation in Afghanistan, despite revelations of U.S. torture and the fact our troops free up American forces for their illegal and immoral war in Iraq. As well, the party has tacitly supported the illegal coup against the democratically elected President Aristide in Haiti. This is inexcusable for a party that claims non-violence and respect for local democracy among its core values.

But the most disturbing has been the watering down of the traditional green approach to corporate polluters, strict regulation and polluter pay legislation, in favour of a "national emissions trading system" and "tradeable pollution permits based upon tax breaks for compliance with emission targets." This will likely prove disastrous, since scientific findings indicate we need to reduce carbon emissions by about 90 percent by 2030.

This free market approach to carbon trading may turn out to be the new stock market bonanza with lots of money being made by some at the expense of the planet.

This is quite consistent with Jim Harris's philosophy, given his day job as a corporate motivational speaker. While Harris' corporate clients may like this message, the rest of us—people, animals and plants—have not the time to wait.

By Michael Oddy

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