In the Feb. 3rd article, "Tories Do Bluegrass, Greens Twist and Shout”, printed in The Manitoban, Blaike Hamm makes the absurd argument that having seen no Campus Greens in attendance when James Bezan, Conservative Member of Parliment (MP), spoke at the University of Manitoba on January 18th, that this was evidence of "...indifference to environmental issues at its finest." This is absolutely ridiculous! There is any one of a numerous reasons why the Campus Greens may or may not have been in attendance, such as conflicting academic or work schedules. I can only speak for myself, but I had a group project due and was working on the project with my project partner accordingly.
Hamm should check his information when he criticizes the Campus Greens for submitting three letters. I was absolutely delighted to read Ms. Beaudette's letter, but I do not know her personally, and thus I had no idea that she submitted a letter with similar argumentation. I do know Alon Weinberg, and he was instrumental in the writing and editing of the commentary piece published in my name in the January 27 edition. Afterwards, Alon decided that he wanted to pen a few more of his thoughts and they were subsequently published online.
To state that the issue of prorogation "...does not directly affect the Green Party at all...", is offensive and undemocratic. The operation of Parliament concerns more than simply the 308 MPs. Inside or outside of Parliament all Canadians have an interest in the activities of our government. MPs have a duty to represent all of their constituents, not just those that voted for them. By extension, this means that the present Conservative government needs to govern in the interest of all Canadians, not simply in the interests of the roughly five million Conservative voters. I will accept that this minority government was duly elected in our present first-past-the-post system, but these five million voters only accounted for twenty-two percent of the registered voters who cast their ballot. This government then needs to be mindful of the concerns of the forty per cent of people who did not vote, and those that voted for another party; including, of course, the one million, and growing, Green Voters. To quote Hamm: "I will let the reader come to a conclusion, based on the facts and numbers...", to determine if the Conservatives had adequate support to unilaterally shut-down Parliament at tax-payers expense?
Perhaps more Campus Greens should have been in attendance when Bezan spoke, but what exactly does Mr. Hamm want? Perhaps he wanted Campus Greens to show up and pound a drum whenever someone was trying to speak? That is what the Campus Conservatives did during the December 16th, 2009 Copenhagen rally in front of Winnipeg South MP Rod Bruinooge’s Office.
The sarcastic tone of Mr. Hamm's letter is distasteful. Had Parliament not been shut-down, or if it had been simply adjourned, Mr. Bezan could be continuing with his work as Chair of the Environment Committee, but as with all other Committees it is now shut down post-prorogation. Perhaps Mr. Bezan made some good points regarding what the Conservative Government is doing? Unfortunately, and by Hamm's own admission, "no specifics on environmental policy" were discussed in his letter. The Campus Greens have no problem debating ideas, but if the Campus Conservatives really want to have a "respectful exchange of ideas" then perhaps they should stick to the issues.