The Green Party of Canada, also known as the GPC, is a minor Canadian federal political party that is known for preaching ecological wisdom. Founded in November of 1983 in Ottawa, GPC currently holds one seat in the House of Commons. GPC was highly motivated by observing the West German Green Party, which overcome great odds to win 27 parliamentary seats.2 Over the past several years, GPC has made remarkable strides to advance its political platform and gain a voice in the House of Commons. In 2000, GPC received only 0.8% of the votes and received zero seats in the House. However, GPC heavily improved in the 2004 federal election, winning 4.3% of the votes. After this “electoral breakthrough,” GPC earned a great deal of respect and garnered attention in the mass media.2 More importantly, by receiving 4.3% of the votes, GPC qualified for federal funding. By doing so, GPC received much-needed subsidies that would eventually play a huge role in its emergence in Canadian politics. Four years later in the 2008 federal election, GPC received 6.8% of the votes to ensure that green issues would be discussed in policy agendas of Canadian government.
On the Canadian political spectrum, GPC is in the center but shares many principles and policies with the Liberal party. This classification challenges common belief surrounding the Greens, which typically places them on the left due to their environmental values and support of regressive taxation.1
Of the federal political parties in Canada, GPC has the highest percentage of young adults among its active members.3 Approximately 25% of its members are below the age of 30, while the majority of members are between the ages of 40-65.3 This age distribution is drastically different than the NDP, liberal and conservative parties and sets GPC apart from its counterparts. More importantly, GPC’s active members have higher education compared to other Canadian political parties. Approximately 34% of GPC members have a university degree.1 Comparatively speaking, only about 18% of the Canadian population has a degree.1 GPC boasts the “highest percentage of university graduates and a much lower percentage of members who have only some high school education.”1 The majority of these members hold jobs of high social status and fall under the new middle class. The higher formal education of GPC members is a pivotal difference that makes the Canadian greens a distinguished group. All in all, “education plays a significant role in greening and attitudes towards the environment.”1
As a minor political party, GPC must make an effort to attract new members and become more of a “mainstream party.”2 In order to do so, GPC targets those who have grown frustrated by the objectives of conventional politics and have become gradually distanced from major political parties such as the conservative and liberal parties. Minority parties such as GPC can at times act as “channels for political discontent.”4 GPC goes above...