position paper

A position paper is a statement of what a group's position on an issue should be, starting from but not restricted to, any current official or quasi-official document. It has the same status as a plank in primary plank development and may be the basis of future planks. Position papers are often created as a quick response to emering issues to be sent out in a press releaseas they do not require a long ratification process.

types of papers

An official position requires approval of the appropriate Issue Advocate - so no position paper is "official" without their consent or the position protocol being invoked.

Before publication of the official platform the appropriate platform subcommittee chair can also approve a position. There are several types of papers:

  • an Issue Advocate statement is the most authoritative paper and is probably an elaborated version of a proposal or set of proposals that is definitely heading for the platform and must deserve the most serious attention. It outlines any potential Advocate's view of an area. Writing at least one such paper is part of the advocate protocol by which such people are appointed, and removed from, Issue Advocate positions.
  • interest group briefing - more horizontal and sticks more to official policies than new proposals. It suggests policy areas of interest to the interest group to which it is deliberately aimed.
  • Regional Platforms adjunct to Platform 2005 and distributed with it in different geographic regions. It details and expands on policies that are specific only to that one region.

See current list of position papers mostly based on Platform 2004 materials.

when to defer?

During an election it is often difficult to research questions and engage in internal debate - accordingly the position papers are a major source of insight at this time. But they may say things with which an individual candiate is uncomfortable.

When should a candidate defer his or her own opinion in favour of a position stated in a paper? See position protocol and the press release protocol. Some general guidelines:

Excerpts from any of the list of position papers may be used to respond to citizen question or media queries from generally friendly groups. Rely on the Policy FAQ first, GPC Approved Policies, Platform 2004 and Answers to Questionnaires in that order before resorting to material drawn directly from arbitrary position papers. Of these, the Issue Advocate statements are generally the most credible and should be considered official after they've been posted without comment for over a month.

process papers and proposals

In addition to positions on what the Government of Canada should do, there are also views of what the Green Parties and its allies should do. These are called process papers (if generic) or process proposals (if specific). In general they are not to be quoted to the public but used only in reference to internal decisions by the Party itself, e.g. Council resolutions.

See the list of process papers and list of process proposals for a current list relevant to the work of the Platform 2005 Process committee.