Open Letter To Elizabeth May About the Green Party’s Position On Political Violence…

Elizabeth May says that this isn't a violent act...

Elizabeth May says that this isn’t a violent act…

Dear Ms. May,

First, let me begin by saying that I come to you in peace. I grew up in Sidney and, if the people of my town voted you into office, I believe there must be some good in you. I’ll also state that I care deeply about the environment- this is one of the reasons I’ve put so much focus into understanding and exposing the violent people who are discrediting the movement.

Last week you contributed to a conversation I was having on Twitter making it clear that the Green Party is “the only party specifically grounded in non-violence”. Responding to that, I asked you to clarify your party’s position on Diversity of Tactics (DOT)- a doctrine used by radical environmentalists (and others) to justify the use of violence at protests. I was genuinely disappointed that you neglected to respond.

After several (polite) attempts to get your answer, I decided to do some research to try to understand your position. I was impressed when I saw that you denounced the violence that occurred during the G20- I couldn’t agree with you more that this type of behaviour is completely ineffective. If anything, smashing windows only results in losing public support.

But, part of your statement on the definition of violence left me seriously concerned:

“I don’t like using violence in the context of smashing windows. That’s vandalism.”

Please take a look at Merriam Webster’s definition of violence:


Every other English language dictionary I’ve looked into has the same definition- Violence is an action to cause physical harm to a person and to property. If you ask most Canadians (and the people of your riding) they’ll agree- only the radical fringe would say that the activities during the G20 weren’t violent.

To further this case, we must think of the people who were affected by what happened during the G20. During the trials of the ‘activists’ who smashed windows, several people testified who were inside of the buildings when the windows were smashed. They described their emotions at the time as “scared”, “horrified”, and that they had a “feeling of terror” while the glass showered down on them.

Remember that police car that got smashed up and burned? Well, there was a cop inside that car when the anarchists began smashing down on it. He had to be rescued by fellow officers- when he testified in court he said he was “scared to death”. I’d be too if I were inside of that car’ wouldn’t you? I’ll bet that most of your constituents would.

The most disturbing part of your statement was when you said that the government should have a full-blown inquiry into “why police abandoned the cruisers that were set ablaze”- continuing the myth that the police intentionally left the cars to be burned (with a cop inside of one?). Nowhere did you mention that there should be an inquiry into the people and organizations who enabled the violence- the unions, student unions, activist organizations, churches and others who accepted the DOT. This comes across to me as being incredibly irresponsible.

It’s great that the Green Party was based on a platform of non-violence, but until you take leadership and denounce Diversity of Tactics, it’s seems rather disingenuous. The Quakers (who I believe the Greens work closely with) published an article last year stating that, while they should stay non-violent, they should still agree to work with organizations who are. Most of your constituents who read this will no doubt be deeply disturbed.

As I’ve already shared with you, there are people who’ve run for office representing the Greens who have and still do promote DOT. A Saskatchewan Green has recently promoted train sabotage. A person who ran for the Greens in BC was an active member of the Black Bloc who got into a street fight with the police during the 2010 Olympics. Here in Ontario, one of your former candidates works directly with the criminals who organized the violence during the G20.

The reason people like this are able to get away enacting and promoting violent acts is because people in power (like yourself) make statements accepting and/or altering the age old definition of violence. By stating that breaking windows isn’t violent- not only are you redefining the common dictionary term, but you’ve made yourself into an enabler. As a Member of Parliament, it’s your job to create laws and ensure that they’re properly enforced. You’re also supposed to be an example of all Canadians- after looking at your statements on the G20, I’m concerned you’re not fulfilling that mandate.

So, I’ll ask you once more- will you please confirm the Green Party’s position on Diversity of Tactics? Will the Greens reject this doctrine, and refuse to work with people who are willing to promote and enact it? Or, will your party continue acting as an enabler?

I believe this is a question that most of your (sane) constituents want an answer too. I do, and I will continue perusing an answer until you’re brave enough to give us one…

Greg Renouf

Permanent link to this article: