Earth first?

Today, provincial New Democrat legislator Claire Trevena and former environment minister Joan Sawicki expressed open disappointment that the party's recent election platform didn't focus on environmental issues. At the New Democrats' 2007 convention, delegates voted in favour of a resolution committing the party to make sustainability the "foundation" of that platform. But, according to Ms. Sawicki, "Those instructions were ignored. And I would suggest there's a whole bunch of voters out there - especially young people - who have turned their backs on the party because of that."

The reason: "they know the gig on endless economic growth is up and they don't buy the rhetoric that says all we have to do is build a few more wind turbines and throw some money into transit."

But, rather than leading the debate on how to "transform our entire economic system to exist within ecological limits" the New Democrats have "become addicted to the sugar fix of attack politics.

And Ms. Sawicki wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Speaking to delegates, Ms. Trevena also expressed concern about the attack politics used in the last election.

And she seemed frustrated at having to "try to explain why we weren't supporting a carbon tax" without promoting the New Democrats' alternative environmental vision, which was part of the sustainability resolution approved at the 2007 convention.

"We lost this in the platform debate, we lost this is the party machinery and we lost this in the caucus machinery," she said.

As a result, Mmes. Sawicki and Trevena - along with MLA Lana Popham - encouraged delegates to support a new resolution calling for the creation of a committee to make recommendation on how party leader Carole James and her caucus can apply those "Sustainable BC principles in a consistent but realistic manner."

That resolution was subsequently approved.

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