Constitution of the Green Party of Manitoba

As adopted November 11, 1998 and revised November 20, 2010

Constitution of the Party
1. An association called “The Green Party of Manitoba” is hereby constituted. The association is referred to herein as “the Party” and its members as “(the) Manitoba Greens”. This Constitution prescribes the rights and responsibilities and governs the activities of the Party, its officers, its defined units and its members.

Object of the Party
2. The Object of the Party shall be to encourage the development of a sustainable and ecologically sound society as envisioned by the Common Values of the Manitoba Greens. The Party may undertake any activities, which promote the attainment of this Objective. A main objective of the Party shall be to promote Green policies and values through participation in the electoral process.

Common Values of the Manitoba Greens
3. Manitoba Greens believe:

  • Interdependence of society, economy and environment
    (1) Society, the economy and the environment are fundamentally and inextricably interdependent. Policies addressing one can only be effective if they address all three spheres at the same time. In an ecological society, policies are sustainable, which means they are capable of being maintained indefinitely into the future.
  • Society
    (2) Our society is sustainable only if it is democratic, egalitarian, compassionate, cooperative and peaceful, both within itself and in relation to other societies. People are secure about their personal safety and health care in a sustainable society. Social development in a sustainable society respects and values diversity within society, including physical, ethnic, sexual, cultural, political and religious.
  • Economy
    (3) Our economy is sustainable only if it is able to maintain full employment without harming the environment. Jobs in a sustainable economy are sufficiently productive to meet society’s needs and are meaningful to satisfy its members’ human needs. People are not exploited or economically insecure in a sustainable economy. Small economic enterprises dominate a sustainable economy. Such an economy serves the people and
    not vice versa.
  • Environment
    (4) Our environment is sustainable only if human activity does not harm natural ecosystems. The environment of this finite planet cannot sustain infinite material growth nor absorb infinite pollution. In a sustainable environment, society lives in harmony with nature, is guided by ecological insights, limits its consumption and acknowledges its finiteness.
  • Democracy
    (5) In an ecological society, democracy is grassroots and local. People are empowered to participate directly in society’s political institutions rather than only through elected representatives. They participate in economic decisions directly as owners of local businesses and farms, as trades people and professionals, and as members of cooperatives, credit unions and trade unions. They participate in environmental policy directly through local community responsibility for natural resources. In all three spheres, local grassroots control ensures institutions stay truly democratic.

Manitoba Greens also support in principle the values expressed in the Global Greens Charter, the Ten Principles for a Sustainable Society, and Fritjof Capra’s Ecological Principles, as appended to this Constitution.

The Common Values of Manitoba Greens, the Global Greens Charter, the Ten Principles for a Sustainable Society, and Capra`s Ecological Principles will all be used as guidelines in developing policies and electoral platforms.

4. Decision rules
All Party meetings shall follow the decision rules outlined below:

  • Voting eligibility
    (1) Only members who have been members of the Party for the previous 30 days before a meeting shall be eligible to vote or count in quorum. Any member eligible to vote may make, withdraw or move to amend any motion. In the case of any dispute over a member’s eligibility to vote, the members at the General Meeting may decide for that meeting only.
  • Voting
    (2) Mail-in ballots shall be used for the election of the Party Leader and Officers.
  • Quorum
    (3) Quorum for Executive Council meetings shall be 50% of the members of the Executive Council. Quorum for a General Meeting shall be 10% of members in good standing.
  • Type of resolutions
    (4) All matters of substance brought before a General Meeting must be in the form of a resolution. All resolutions will be grouped into one of three categories: (a) constitutional amendments, (b) administrative directives, (c) policy resolutions dealing with matters of public policy.
  • Facilitator and speakers’ list
    (5) At the beginning of a meeting, the members eligible to vote shall appoint a member to act as facilitator and, where the number of participants is large, a member to maintain a speakers’ list.
  • Decision to consider motion
    (6) When a motion is made, the facilitator shall test for consensus to determine if the matter should be considered and, if there is none, hold a straw vote. The meeting shall consider the motion if more than 40% of the votes cast are in favour.
  • Discussion time limits
    (7) The facilitator shall consult the meeting and propose a time limit for discussion of the motion. If s/he is unable to obtain a consensus, the facilitator shall set a time limit which reflects the relative importance and complexity of the motion.
  • Consensus and votes
    (8) At the end of the time limit, the facilitator shall test for consensus and, if there is none, s/he shall hold a vote on the motion. The motion shall be adopted if more than 60% of the votes cast are in favour.
  • Further discussion of rejected motion
    (9) If the rejected motion receives more than 40% of the votes cast, the facilitator shall extend the discussion in order to allow the meeting to consider amendments which could make the motion acceptable. At the end of the time extension, the facilitator may test for consensus again and, if there is none, s/he shall hold another vote on the motion. The motion shall be adopted if more than 60% of the votes cast are in favour. Otherwise, the motion is defeated.
  • Straw votes
    (10) A facilitator may hold straw votes at any time during discussion of a motion to help her/him determine the will of the meeting.
  • Conduct and recording of votes
    (11) Votes shall be conducted by show of hands except elections, which shall be conducted by secret ballot where there is no consensus for a show of hands vote. The secretary shall record all votes in the meeting minutes except straw votes.
  • Required majorities
    (12) “Consensus” means that no member eligible to vote strongly opposes the motion. Unless otherwise specified in this Constitution, motions shall be adopted if more than 60% of the votes cast are in favour. Amendments to the Constitution shall be adopted if more than 75% of the votes cast are in favour. All elections shall be decided according to the Alternative Vote system.
  • Consensus may supplant or supplement decision rules
    (13) The facilitator may depart from or supplement any decision rule when there is a consensus to do so.

Recognized Units
5. The following are recognized units of the Party

(1) Individual Members
(2) General Meetings
(3) Executive Council
(4) Constituency Associations
(5) Caucuses
(6) Committees

Membership
6. Any Manitoba resident at least 14 years of age who:

(1) subscribes to the Object of the Party and the Common Values of the Manitoba Greens;
(2) abides by (accepts) the terms of this Constitution;
(3) pays the annual membership fee; and
(4) is not and does not become a member of another provincial political party may become a member of the Party.

Membership in good standing
7. In this Constitution “member” means only a member in good standing. A member is not in good standing if s/he has not paid the current annual membership fee or has not paid any other debt owed to the Party, either of which is due more than 30 days, and shall remain not in good standing so long as the debt remains unpaid.

General meetings
8. The general meeting shall be the highest decision-making forum of the Party. Resolutions of a general meeting shall be binding upon all units of the Party including the Executive Council, its officers and the Shadow Cabinet. A general meeting by resolution may:

(1) determine any matter permitted by this Constitution, including the Party’s internal and political policies;
(2) overrule any resolution of any unit of the Party, including that of a previous general meeting and including electoral platforms which are inconsistent with the Party’s political policies;
(3) endorse candidates for election to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba as candidates of the Party;
(4) approve Policy and Platform documents submitted by a member in good standing or the Policy and Platform Committee;
(4) approve the budget presented by the Treasurer;
(5) elect council members;
(6) ratify, rescind or amend administrative policies and appointments made by Council;
(7) appoint an appeal committee if required to deal with membership issues;
(8) appoint standing and special committees.

Timing of General Meetings
9. The Party shall hold at least one general meeting every calendar year, ordinarily in November, to be designated the Annual Convention. General meetings shall be called: by resolution of the Executive Council; or by a petition submitted to the president at least 21 days before the proposed meeting and signed by at least 25% of the membership in good standing, or in the alternate 10% of the members in good-standing residing within the
Perimeter Highway and 10% of the members in good-standing residing outside the Perimeter Highway. The president shall send out notice of a general meeting at least 15 days before the general meeting and shall include a draft agenda. Anyone may attend a general meeting. All members in good standing are entitled to vote on any matter decided at a general meeting.

Biennial convention
10. The Executive Council shall designate one general meeting every second calendar year as a Biennial Convention. All rules pertaining to general meetings shall apply to annual conventions except as expressly amended by this Constitution. Biennial conventions will deal with the election of officers, constitutional amendments, administrative directives, and policy resolutions of an emergent nature.

Executive Council
11. The Executive Council shall be comprised of the Leader, elected officers of the Party, and appointed members at large. It is empowered to conduct all normal business of the party, subject to review at the Biennial Convention. Its decisions shall be effective unless rescinded or amended by a general meeting. The Council by resolution may:

(1) determine any matter permitted by this Constitution, including the ratification of the Party’s electoral platforms recommended by the Policy and Platform committee;
(2) overrule any resolution of any unit of the Party which is inconsistent with the Party’s political policies, but excluding any resolution of a general meeting.
(3) rescind or amend administrative policies and/or the by-laws of the Party subject to ratification at the next general meeting; and
(4) endorse candidates for election to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba as candidates of the Party.

Selection of Executive Council
12. Except where appointment is authorized in this Constitution or the Party By-laws, the Leader and Officers of the Party are to be elected at a general meeting. Ordinarily the Leader and officers of the Party will be elected at a Biennial Convention for a concurrent two-year term, unless a leadership contest is demanded by the membership as provided in Article 14 of this Constitution or the resignation of the Leader and/or Officers of the Party necessitates the need for an election to be held during a general meeting.

Party Leader
13. The party leader shall be elected to serve as the main spokesperson for the Party on political matters. S/he shall not hold another office in the Green Party of Manitoba while serving as party leader.

Right to Demand Leadership Contest
14. The members shall have the right to demand a leadership contest, by written request of 25% of the members in good standing, or in the alternate 10% of the members in good-standing residing within the Perimeter Highway and 10% of the members in good standing residing outside the Perimeter Highway; such contests shall be declared by the Chief Financial Officer at the earliest convenient time, with the election to occur not later than six months from the date such request is received by Council.

Elected Officers
15. The Party shall elect the following officers to Executive Council:

(1) a President,
(2) a Treasurer,
(3) a Secretary,
(4) a Membership Development Co-ordinator,
(5) an Election Planning Co-ordinator,
(6) and up to three Members-at-large.

Appointed Members-at-large
16. Additionally Executive Council is enabled, at its own discretion, to appoint as many as six additional members-at-large, during the period between Biennial Conventions, such additional positions ending with the term of each council. If a member-at-large position becomes vacant, the position may be filled by Council appointment until the next General Meeting.

Chief Financial Officer
17. The Chief Financial Officer of the Green Party of Manitoba shall be appointed by Executive Council, and shall not have a vote on Council, but shall be responsible for ensuring that all legal requirements under the Elections Act and Elections Finances Act shall be fulfilled.

Forming a Constituency Association
18. Five or more members residing in a provincial electoral constituency may form a constituency association. All members of the Party resident in a constituency must receive ten days’ notice of a formation meeting. Once a constituency association has been formed, all Party members residing in that constituency shall be deemed to be members, and their contact information shall be provided to the constituency association. It is the responsibility of the constituency association executive to make reasonable efforts to advise all members of meetings and any events organized by the constituency association. Constituency associations shall be formed under the rules established by Elections Manitoba and shall carry out all activities in accordance with this Constitution, The Elections Act of Manitoba, the The Elections Finances Act of Manitoba, and any other applicable legislation. Constituency Associations shall use a uniform accounting system (to be provided by the Party Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)) to ensure compliance with The Elections Finances Act requirements and consistent standards for audit purposes. Constituency Associations shall use credit union services where available for their banking needs.

Creation of a Caucus, Chairs, and Meetings, and Members
19. To create a caucus, a caucus name, a brief outline of its goals and operations, and the names and signatures of at least three members in good standing must be submitted in writing to Executive Council. If these conditions are met, and Executive Council deems the caucus’ goals as consistent with the aims of the Party, the Executive Council shall approve of the caucus as soon as possible.

Committees
20. A general meeting or the Executive Council may establish committees for any purpose
consistent with the Objectives of the Party.

Bylaws
21. This Constitution authorizes the creation of Party Bylaws, which shall be binding on all members, including Executive Council. Bylaws may be ratified, created, amended, or rescinded by a vote of more than 60% at a general meeting. Bylaws may be created, amended or rescinded by more than a 60% vote of the executive council, but such
amendments must be ratified by by a vote of more than 60% of the membership at the next general meeting and Executive Council must notify the membership of bylaw changes before they take effect. In the event that an executive council amendment fails to receive ratification at the next general meeting, the bylaw will no be of no force or effect following the general meeting; however this will not affect the applicability of the bylaw change in the interim between enactment through notification to the membership and failure to ratify at the following
general meeting.

Amendments to Constitution
22. This Constitution may only be amended by a general meeting. Proposed Constitutional amendments must be circulated to the membership with the notice of a general meeting, by email where possible or by post where required. A Constitutional amendment shall require more than a 75% majority vote to pass.

Interpretation
23. In this Constitution and the Party bylaws unless otherwise required by the context, all words in either gender shall be deemed to include both the feminine and the masculine, and all singular words shall be deemed to include also the plural and vice versa.


 

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