Green Party of Canada

Governance (cont.)


Governance: Table of Contents

Green Party of Canada

Having consulted Robert's Rules of Order 1 for some basic concepts, here we explore how a progressive political organization addresses issues of governance by outlining key elements from the Green Party of Canada2 (GPC). From here we will go on to consider LEAP Thunder Bay3 and especially as a progressive organization claiming to centre Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights in its structure and vision.

Constitution

Here we simply outline abreviated highlights of the GPC constitution.

Article 1 - The Body Constituted

"The body constituted is the Green Party of Canada". Here the GPC creates its primary identifier.

Article 2 - Scope of the Constitution and Bylaws

Primarily here the GPC indicates that it is governed by its Constitution, Bylaws and "any other decision of the membership". It also indicates the order of precedence such that the Constitution has precedence over Bylaws and both over "other decisions". Any inconsistencies will be decided by such orders of precedence.

Article 3 - Basis of Unity

Here the GPC identifies its relationship to the "Global Green Movement" by supporting "Green Values" such as "caring and compassionate values" and "sustaining, just, democratic, peaceful and diverse communities".

Article 4 - Purpose

Here the GPC identifies its purpose as advancing "the Party's Platform, Positions, Policy, Values and Basis of Unity" which includes running candidates for federal elections and working with green parties in other jurisdictions.

Article 5 - Values

Here the GPC lists a set of primary values and notes their agreement with "the Charter of the Global Greens" which is included as an appendix to the constitution. The GPC also declares that all activities and representations must be consistent with the stated values which, for the GPC, are: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy, Non-Violence, Sustainability, Respect for Diversity.

Article 6 - Accountability

Here the GPC lays out the order of precedence of decision-making, such that, all units and individuals are accountable to "the membership in General Meeting" and the "Federal Council when the membership is not in General Meeting". The order of precedence falls to the members in general meeting over the federal council regarding any priorities or inconsistencies. The federal council is responsible for implementing actions called for by the constitution, bylaws or other decisions of the membership in general meeting.

Article 7 - Official Standing And Definitions

Here the GPC lays out the definition of members, leader, and various "units", ex., electoral district associations, provincial or territorial organizations, regional associations, federal council, federal cabinet, Young Greens, and any other units created by members in general meeting or by the federal council. They also go on to define: caucus (MPs and Senators), central party, chief agent, constitutional, directive, federal councillor, functionary, fund, general meeting (entire membership), handbook (roles & responsibilities), platform (party positions), policy (motions adopted by members), position (statements of intent not contradicting policy, values, other membership decision), youth representative (Young Greens).

Article 8 - General Meetings of the Entire Membership of the Party

Here the GPC essentially defines a general meeting as all individual members "in good standing" with one vote. The GPC also includes delegates or members carrying proxies. A general meeting has a quorum (50), must be held once every two years, and requires 60 days notice. Special meetings may be called in accordance with bylaws.

Article 9 - Federal Council

Here the composition of the GPC federal council is identified: president, leader, provincial and territorial representatives, fund rep, executive director, youth reps, VP english, VP french.

Article 10 - Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws

Here the GPC indicates requirements for amendments to the constitution and bylaws.

Constitution

For the constitution: notice of amendments must be included with the notice of meeting, and be submitted by at least 3 provincial/territorial units and at least 15 members in good standing. Adoption of amendments requires a simple majority (50% +1) of members in good standing (at a general meeting or via ballots.) Fundamental changes (like article 10 itself) require 75% of the membership at 2 consecutive general meetings (or ballots.) Changes must be published with corrections, including between English and French versions.

Bylaws

Similar to consitution amendments, bylaw amendments require inclusion in meeting notices. Submission requires at least 5 members in good standing. Adoption requires a majority of members in good standing at a general meeting.

Constitution and Bylaws

Federal Council ensures the publication of constitution and bylaw amendments dealing with any required corrections.

Article 11 - Dissolution or Merger

Such a resolution, as dissolution or merger, requires a vote of 90% of members in good standing at a general meeting or by ballot. This include any transfer of party assets.

Article 12 - The Green Party of Canada Fund

Here the GPC identifies "the Fund" as the sole and exclusive agent of financial operations of the party. It must provide annual audited financial statements to the membership and operate in terms of the constitution and bylaws. All and only members, while members, of the federal council, are automatically members of "the Fund". Its bylaw and letters patent are available to all members.


Bylaws

Bylaw 1 - Membership

The first bylaw lays out the criteria for membership: residency, age, party affiliation, upholding the constitution and bylaws, pay annual fee or other conditions of good standing. Members actions must not be detrimental to the party. How members may apply, to what bodies, which set their own fees. The federal council maintains a register of members, and shares locally-relevant portions with local organizational units. The federal council may apply fees to each body receiving members. Fees are paid directly to the party. Criteria and methods of resigning or removing members are provided. Voting rights commence 30 days after becoming a member or as varied by the federal council.

Bylaw 2 - Federal Council

Here we have the rules for nominations and elections: 20 nominees for the executive council, for which all members are eligible to vote; 5 nominees for from the relevant unit for Provincial and territorial representatives and all unit members are eligible to vote. Nominations for leader require 100 nominees, all members are eligible to vote. Some provisions allow for proportional representational voting. Term time frames are indicated as well as provisions for leadership reviews requiring 60% endorsement of members. There are also provisions for removal from office, ex., 3/4 vote of the federal council or non-confidence vote at a general meeting supported by 3/4 of federal council at a meeting called for that purpose. Regional reps must be from the relevant region. The federal council must meet 4 times per year with a quorum (6) and typically voting by majority votes. The federal council may establish and mandate committees as required. The executive council is a subset of the federal council (president, leader, VPs french and english, fund rep and executive director.)

Bylaw 3 - Regions

Here the GPC outlines its regional jurisdictions.

Bylaw 4 - General Meetings of the Entire Membership of the Party

Here the GPC lays out the time frames and criteria for calling general meetings, ex., by a majority of members, 2/3 of federal council, petition to federal council by 10% of members.

Motions at General Meetings:

Motions, including rationale and background information, submitted in advance, must be made available to all eligible voting members sixty (60) days in advance of the start of general meeting. Motions require 20 party members. Motions not submitted in advance shall only be considered if they are of an emergency nature and require a 2/3 vote to be considered by the meeting.

Bylaw 5 - Selection of Candidates for Member of Parliament

Here the GPC lays out the criteria for selecting candidates by regional unit.

The Party will provide rules for the selection of candidates for Member of Parliament.

Bylaw 6 - Cabinet

Here the GPC identifies how a cabinet or shadow cabinet is chosen. The shadow cabinet is responsible for creating the election platform in keeping with membership-approved policies.

Bylaw 7 - Ombuds and Appeals Committee

Internal party complaints and appeals are handled here.

Bylaw 8 - EDAs and Provincial Divisions

The electoral district association (EDA) is the primary grassroots unit through which members exercise their rights. The federal council grants recognition. The GPC outlines some financial responsibilities between EDAs and the federal council, as well as, how EDAs are responsible to the federal council regarding values, policy, platform, etc.

Bylaw 9 - The Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of Canada

The GPC women’s caucus encourages equal participation of women and men within the Party, and promotes the interests of women within the Party. Any woman in good standing in the Party is entitled to become a member of this caucus. The women's caucus is responsible to establish women's club in each district. The federal council, in consultation with the caucus, reports to the general meeting with an assessment of achievements.

Bylaw 10 - Party Documents

The federal council maintains documents for viewing by members:

  • constitution & bylaws
  • constitution of Young Greens
  • rules of procedure
  • adopted policy
  • election platforms
  • all minutes of all meetings
  • committee handbooks
  • database of motions and resolutions

Bylaw 11 - Financial Procedures

The general meeting or federal council appoints or revokes a registered agent of the Party, authorize borrowing, manage revenue sharing with units.

Appendix A

Here the GPC offers a more detailed description of its core values.

The Principles of the Global Greens Charter:

  • Ecological Wisdom...we acknowledge human beings are part of the natural world...the wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the world, as custodians of the land and its resources...
  • Social Justice...the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of social and natural resources...
  • Participatory Democracy...all citizens have the right to express their views, and are able to directly participate in the environmental, economic, social and political decisions which affect their lives
  • Nonviolence...strive for a culture of peace and cooperation between states...
  • Sustainability...to maintain biodiversity through sustainable use of renewable resources and responsible use of non-renewable resources...
  • Respect for Diversity...honour cultural, linguistic, ethnic, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity within the context of individual responsibility toward all beings...

Governance: Table of Contents

  1. Robert's Rules of Order http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/roberts_rules/toc.html. ↩︎
  2. Green Party of Canada https://www.greenparty.ca/en/party/documents. ↩︎
  3. LEAP Thunder Bay http://leapthunderbay.org. ↩︎