Lawyer, activist, journalist, and Green Party of Canada (GPC) member Dimitri Lascaris has decided not to run in the upcoming GPC leadership race.
Lascaris released a statement May 18th thanking his supporters and advisors, but ultimately feels that he can “best contribute by remaining an independent voice of dissent” in today’s political landscape.
“Since the last leadership contest, I have been dismayed by a precipitous decline in the quality of political discourse in Canada, and in the West generally. Intolerance for dissent has increased dramatically. Censorship has been normalized. In particular, those who dare to oppose Western militarism or our failed economic system are being marginalized and suppressed to a degree that is unprecedented in my lifetime.”
This statement has previously been echoed by other eco-socialist Greens in Canada, including Alex Tyrrell, the leader of the Green Party of Quebec.
An anti-militarism stance seems largely uninviting to governments of the day. The United States has just sent another $40 billion to Ukraine in aid, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hinting at fulfilling Canada’s NATO requirements of investing at least 2% of the country’s GDP on defense spending.
This sharp turn in rhetoric for Canada – from peacekeepers to NATO contributors – has historically been a position against that of the Green movement, which is generally known as an anti-war movement.
The direction the world is heading in politically is not one where Lascaris feels he can best contribute. He also highlighted the party’s infighting as another reason why he is unwilling to lead the GPC in the next federal election. Lascaris puts a great deal of blame on former Green leader Elizabeth May, who held tremendous influence over the party even after she stepped down as leader in 2019.
“Elizabeth May has made strong contributions to the Green Party and to the quality of political discourse in this country. For this, she deserves our thanks and respect. In my opinion, however, the time has come for Elizabeth to part the scene — gracefully, if possible — and to leave ample space to the next leader to chart a new path for the Green Party of Canada. I am confident that Elizabeth can find other and better ways to contribute to the betterment of our world.”
Lascaris ended his statement by suggesting that the vacuum on Canada’s political left is an extraordinary opportunity for the GPC. “The time for eco-socialism has come” he says.
Despite his decision not to run, Lascaris “stands ready to help the Green Party’s next leader to build the party into a champion of a new and indispensable eco-socialist movement in Canada.”