policy term

In order to change the way people act, you must first change the way people think. On a deep level, politics is very much about defining new terms and changing the meanings of old words to enable political and social change.

Consider powerful political words like rights market liberty terror - and what they mean when they appear in policy statements. Think of public political debate as a chessboard in which the goal is to get as many pieces (words you have defined) into play, and then using them in combination to control space on the game board. It costs something to define, and something to control, a term, so if you can use pieces already on the board, you have great advantages:

A policy term is one that MUST be introduced and defined in policy and platform materials, in order for them to make clear sense to the people (journalists, academics, rival parties' analysts) who will analyze them and present them to the public, and to stand up to other policies stated in other terms. If a term is unfamiliar to them, they will most likely dismiss it, and it will be a full election cycle before it can be brought to their attention again.


Policy terms ultimately must acquire operational meaning in the law and among public servants that enforce them. Policy is literally meaningless and worthless unless this is actually done.


In other words, to fail to control the scope of such terms in the public's mind, is not only to fail to control the debates on these issues, but to fail to achieve change: If the Green definition of a policy term does not "stick" in the public mind and with the mass media, there is little or no chance of any progress towards the Green agenda on that set of issues. But if Greens are elected without clear operational terms defining the mandate they have received, there will be no way to give the instructions to the bureaucracy and legislators to achieve the tangible changes. These terms are thus indispensible:


All such terms should be so well-defined among those whose policy views are compatible with the Green view that there is effectively no debate about the desirability of the initiative or the highest priorities within that initiative.

externally defined

To have meaning and impact, we must choose words that are internationally defined and translatable. Some terms are specific to Canada like Senate reform and others are defined in Canadian law or formal public sector definitions like public health, public safety, emergency preparedness, critical infrastructure and even ecosystem health and social economy and ecological and social indicator.

It should be easy to find relatively good global definitions for any of these terms in the Wikipedia or at least Wikinfo GFDL corpus access providers. Greens should take the lead in the debates around these terms and concepts in such large public wikis. One purpose of the Living Platform is to stage the presentation of such concepts so they can be fully and correctly expressed in such general-purpose articles - which are often consulted by journalists and policy analysts.

list of policy terms

See the list of policy terms for the complete current list.

not platform proposals

Policy terms are NOT the much more specific platform proposals that often have names defined by the Greens for ideological consistency, e.g. Full Cost Accounting, Genuine Progress Indicator, Total Cost of Ownership and Total Cost of Operations which have no fixed definition other than what is assigned to them in any one platform. All such terms imply that a "full" or "total" or "genuine" concept or a common definition of "cost" or "progress" can or should be achieved. By contrast the basic policy terms should always avoid such political propaganda assumptions. No GPC Approved Policy can afford to rely on such Green-defined terms, but must rely on the above generic policy terms.

defined in position protocol

A formal position protocol that deals with the definition and use of various types of terms in planks, proposals, the final platform, and less formal candidate promises and Answers to Questionnaires should be defined as one output of the Platform 2005 Process. Only once that is done will there be any clear line between generic small-g-green policy terms and Green Party of Canada platform proposals.