There is no party platform that perfectly reflects my views on all issues. However, there is one thing I look for when deciding to support a political party and that's how they arrive at a particular policy. Is it scientific? Does the policy depend on evidence, healthy skepticism, and rational thinking?
The Green Party of Canada has outlined their platform in a document called Vision Green. Here's what they say in the introduction ...
Vision Green presents a well-researched analysis of critical environmental, economic and social challenges facing Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and presents practical solutions that can be achieved if there is the political will and leadership to take forward-looking action. It was developed by our Green Cabinet and was informed by experts, activists and citizens who participated in policy workshops held across Canada. Our vision is based on policies approved by the membership of the Green Party.Sound promising. They don't actually say that their policies are based on sound scientific reasoning but it sounds like "well-researched" might be a synonym for "good science."
As you scan this document you encounter many positions that seem somewhat dogmatic and considerably beyond what the scientific evidence actually says. The Green Party is opposed to genetically engineered organisms, for example, and they propose to, "Phase out the use of genetically modified food products and ‘terminator’ seeds" (p. 74).
The Green Party is opposed to nuclear power and advocates a ban on new nuclear power plants and a shut-down of existing ones. The party proposes to ban uranium mining and refining. While some of their arguments are valid, the overall tone does not sound scientific.
But the real give-away comes when the document discusses health care. Here's one of the promises from page 70.
Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture.It is simply not true that these "alternative therapies" are proven in any scientific sense. What this tells me is that the Green Party platform is not based on scientific reasoning.
Everybody wants to promote good health. It's a motherhood issue. What's important is whether a political party has a realistic policy to achieve this goal. Most don't but the Green Party actually makes things worse ...
Health promotion is about more than health care or health education. It is about recognizing the profound health impacts of determinants of health outside the formal healthcare system and working with many stakeholders (policy-makers, NGOs, health agencies, multiple levels of government, the private sector, and most important, affected communities themselves) to reduce, eliminate, or overcome those factors that harm health or act as barriers to health enhancement, and to promote those factors that enhance the health, well-being and quality of life of all Canadians.I will never vote for a political party that promotes naturopathy and homeopathy in such a prominent manner. Naturopathy and homeopathy are examples of anti-science quack medicine. The fact that the leaders of the party would even include this in their platform tells me that scientific thinking is not part of their worldview and it calls into question their positions on everything else.
We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices. The Green Party of Canada recognizes the value of good health as a fundamental human right, and also the key to the most vibrant, inclusive and sustainable Canadian society possible.
The Green Party wants to use my tax dollars to support these quacks.
Expand healthcare coverage to include qualified complementary/alternative health professionals such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, and dietitians.This is very wrong.
Do not vote for the Green Party. If you want to cast a protest vote then spoil your ballot or vote for some other party that cannot be elected in your riding. Every vote for the Green Party is a vote against science.
[Hat Tips: Zak at Canadian Atheist: The Green Party Platform and Mitchell Gerskup at Skeptic North: Voting Green? Read This.]