The Green Party AGM
What originally started as an interesting addendum to my Toronto trip has turned into quite the experience for me. While the original reasoning for my trip back to Toronto was to attend Sheena's wedding, I decided to extend it by one week so that I might be able to attend the Green Party's Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
I know what you're thinking, and for the most part, it's totally true: these things are boring. There was no shortage of people asking to speak to amendments, amend amendments, or just completely go off on irrelevant tangents, but that's all sort of the point. This is democracy at work: an informed group of people coming together to talk about what we, as a party, want to do in the future.
The process (at least for the Greens, I can't speak for other parties) is twofold: policy and constitutional motions, or in other words, what we stand for, how we will govern ourselves. For my part, I spent my workshop time (the portion of the day in which we break into smaller groups to discuss one of the two aforementioned tracks) in the policy conversations because that's where hang my hat: in the heart of the process, rather than the method.
We talked about and changed party policy on everything from the authority and ownership of the Bank of Canada, to the decriminalisation of polyamory. Some of these motions passed, while others were met with rather strong opposition, but everyone was candid and civil, and in the end we learnt to speak with one voice.
On the issue of polyamoury, one of the most controversial motions, I personally spoke to the plenary session (where everyone, from all groups gather to approve/reject the findings of the workshops), a rather intimidating act I must say. I stood in support of the motion, calling for "moral courage" to stand on what's right, though politically inconvenient and was joined by a number of others who felt much the same.
In the end however, the majority voted it down, in large part due to a lack of understanding of what was being moved (the workshop worked very hard to adjust the motion but it still needs work), as well as a lack of knowledge about the very real fact that conjugal relationships in excess of two people are illegal in this country. Here's the law, in case you were curious:
- Every one who
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
- practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or
- any form of polygamy, or
- any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,
- celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),
Translation: if you're in a conjugal poly relationship, or even attend a wedding-ish party in support of a poly relationship, you're a criminal, and could potentially be thrown in jail for up to five years.
I stood for this because it's the Right thing to do, and even though it didn't pass this time around, I'm confident that with a little work on the education front, we'll see it through in the near future.
So that's it for me right now. Short synopsis: democracy exciting, you should try it :-) My next post, if I can cobble the time together, will be from New York, and/or Washington DC.