Gang Green gains ground

The noted sage Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.”

But it just got a lot easier on Vancouver Island.

With only three seats in the next sitting of legislature, the B.C. Green Party is a long way from forming its own government. Still, it may well be poised to determine which party does take charge for the next four years.

The final tally from Tuesday’s election won’t be finished for a couple of weeks. But as things stand now, the virtual deadlock between the B.C. Liberals and their B.C. NDP challengers suggests neither will carry the 44 seats needed to form a majority government.

Enter the Greens, who shoehorned their way into the equation by tripling their representation in the legislature, from the lone seat of party leader Andrew Weaver to three seats — all of them in Vancouver Island ridings.

But those three seats have thrust the Greens into a potential role as kingmaker, with the Liberals and NDP equally dependent on Weaver’s little band for validation as policy-setters.

As things stand — again, pending the final vote count — the Greens could put either party in government by throwing their mini-bloc into a coalition. Or they could sit on their hands and allow the Liberals to return to government as a minority.

Which brings us to another quote by yet another wise sage, Ben Parker. Spider-Man’s uncle told the youth, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The Green Party was once viewed in Canada as a hippy-dippy assemblage of dreamy tree-huggers. OK, let’s be honest — it’s still thought of that way by many Canadians, inside and outside of B.C.

But the Greens are growing up, like it or not. This year’s election result may prove a one-time aberation, but it seems more likely the party will continue its ascendancy. The Parksville-Qualicum riding did not even have a Green candidate in the 2013 election, yet this year candidate Glenn Sollitt captured more than 25 per cent of the vote.

Weaver has been quoted as saying his group will only throw its support to a party that promises to eliminate corporate and union donations. On the other hand, individual Greens in every public appearance we’ve attended have said they will not be ruled by party discipline. So which is it?

We are poised to learn quite a bit in a short time about what this party is willing to do to share in our governance in the years ahead.

Its long-term success may well hinge on the outcome.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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