Conversation with PVQ Leader Alex Tyrrell on Status of Green Movement in Canada

Quebec Green leader comments on some of the challenges that his party and the broader movement are facing.

On May 6th, I contacted Parti vert du Québec/Green Party of Quebec (PVQ) leader Alex Tyrrell via email to ask him about the current state of the Green movement in Quebec and Canada.

In 2021, the Green Party of Canada imploded with news that racism and infighting plagued the party, ultimately forcing former leader Annamie Paul to resign. She was the first black and first Jewish woman to lead a federal party in Canada.

The fallout from the federal Green’s drama led them to suffer a brutal defeat in the 2021 federal election, where the Greens received a mere 2.3% of the vote, down approximately 4% from the 2019 election and falling behind the far-right People’s Party of Canada (a group that largely opposes Green values).

Today, Mr. Tyrrell’s party is preparing for provincial elections in Quebec in October 2022, while simultaneously navigating the disorganized image that many Canadians and Quebecers now have regarding the current state of the Green movement in Canada.

Despite the turmoil, Mr. Tyrrell and the PVQ see these tumultuous times as an opportunity to reinvigorate their own Green party at the provincial level. I asked him to consider the federal Greens’ poor 2021 campaign and how this effects the PVQ’s approach and position in the upcoming election in Quebec.

“The problems in the Green Party of Canada over the past few years have been profound,” Mr. Tyrrell replied. “That being said, the Green Party of Quebec is an independent organization working to elect candidates to a different parliament. While some people are discouraged about what has happened at the federal level, many more are ready to get to work on the provincial election.”

When asked what his current stance is on the cohesiveness of the Green movement across Canada, Mr. Tyrrell stated that one of the main issues the Green movement is struggling with in Canada is a profound “lack of ideological cohesion and consistency.”

“For many years, the federal party has branded itself as more of a coalition of independents than a political party with shared values and policies. This strategy has failed over and over again. People want to vote for candidates who support not only the environment but also social justice. The only way to achieve this is to rally the party around a bold left-wing platform.”

We concluded our exchange discussing how important the relationships are between provincial and federal Green parties in Canada, and how much those relationships truly matter.

“In my view,” he stated, “the Green Party of Canada should be a federation of the provincial parties. That would allow us to debate the way forward while ensuring better representation of the provinces.”

Mr. Tyrrell’s campaign so far has pushed for clean energy in Quebec, animal conservation, and reduced arms manufacturing. Additionally, he has highlighted the Russia-Ukraine conflict and illustrated the horrific damage that war, especially nuclear war, would do to the global environment.

Ryan Dumont

Ryan (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal) is a political science student at Concordia University. His interests in green politics include healthcare reform, feminism, Indigenous affairs, homelessness, education, immigration, asylum-seekers and refugees, drug reform, workers' rights, and more.

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