Green leadership (September 6, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! 

September and amid our COVID blues, we have campaigning!

On September 14th watch for two big events.

The inspiring team led by David Coon, leader of the New Brunswick Green Party, will face its first re-election test. David first won his Fredericton seat in 2014, being only the second Green to win a seat in a provincial legislature. He was re-elected in 2018 and tripled the Green seat count with the election of Megan Mitton and Kevin Arsenault.  Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs formed a minority government in that election. On August 17th, Higgs rolled the dice calling a snap election on September 14. Higgs is the first politician in Canada to send voters to the polls in a pandemic.

The New Brunswick Greens are the only party in the race with gender parity in the candidates’ roster and the only party with any indigenous candidates. Check out their website and figure out how you can help! Volunteer by phoning into the province.

And good news. Out of province Greens can donate. Check this link for the list of candidates and how to support them.

September 14th is also the day we learn who will lead the Green Party of British Columbia into the next provincial election.  Like NB, we have a minority government with a premier who seems ready to put us through an election in pandemic.  The three Green leadership candidates are a strong group I would love to see elected and serving in Victoria.

My choice for leader is clear. Sonia Furstenau has been a spectacular MLA. Sonia is hard working, extremely articulate and dedicated. She and Adam Olsen have done strong work as a caucus through very difficult times.  Their work in stopping the NDP from pulling the plug on renewable energy from First Nations communities is only one of their recent accomplishments.  Their opposition to fracked LNG, logging of old growth and Site C distinguish them from Horgan and his appalling stance on all things green. Now, he is even stalling the carbon tax.

I firmly believe for Greens in British Columbia to maintain profile in the coming election season, whenever it happens, it is a huge advantage for the leader to be an elected MLA with legislative experience. The other candidates for leadership, environmental lawyer Cam Brewer and Sechelt Green Kim Darwin will be great MLAs under Sonia’s leadership. Voting for leader began yesterday!

Meanwhile, the leadership race for the federal Green Party is confirmed for eight candidates.  I am pleased that now that the Conservative leadership race has wrapped up, the national media is beginning to pay serious attention to the breadth and depth of the Green Party leadership candidates.

We will know on October 3rd who our next leader will be. It is a one member, one vote election. At this point, we are cresting to 35,000 members across Canada. When I first ran for leader 14 years ago, we had 3,000 members and doubled that by the end of the race. We have seen a jump in membership in the 2020 race, but not a doubling!  Still, it is very satisfying to know that since I first joined the party, our membership has grown more than ten-fold.

With a preferential ballot and eight candidates, I have no idea who will be elected.  It is clear it will really matter to encourage every Green Party of Canada member to vote.   Those who have been green the longest need to be sure to help us maintain our commitment to the six core Green values. Please encourage everyone you know who is entitled to cast a ballot to do so!

I am sure that Jo Ann Roberts, who has worked so hard as interim leader, will be happy to pass on the torch. I am determined that she join a growing Green Caucus of MPs in the next election. She has had occasion to ask me more than once over the last ten months, “How did you ever do this AND work in parliament?”  We joke that our “virtual” convention is bound to go better than the Conservatives’ event. Our members are voting on-line – and we have not invested in the Conservatives’ envelope slicing machines.

Meanwhile, closer to home and without any partisan tinge, I will be holding three community meetings between September 15-19 before returning to Ottawa for the Speech from the Throne and the opening of Parliament on September 23rd. (If you are a constituent, please register for the two zoom and one in-person events. Details below!)

I had a very good meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland last week to lay out Green expectations for our post-COVID recovery. It must be tied to aggressive climate action and greater fairness in our society. I am cautiously optimistic, but will not be mollified with lovely words and a weak plan.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Labour Day weekend. I know I am not the only one really missing the Saanich Fair. Every year since 2009 I have had such great conversations with friends I tend to see only at the fair. I sure hope we are all able to meet at the fair this time next year!

Enjoy your Monday Holiday! And do what you can to help Greens in all the upcoming and critical events!


Community Meetings: 

Tuesday, September 15 at 7 pm
Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney. In person, but only up to a maximum of 50 people to maintain COVID rules. I hope to Facebook live the event as well.

Call 250-657-2000 to reserve a spot. First come, first served.

Thursday, September 17th at 6:00 pm PST:

Saturday, September 19th at 2:00 pm PST:

All participants will be required to register. Registration link requires first and last name, email address, and region in SGI. There is a reminder that this Community Meeting is for constituents, and questions from constituents will be given priority.

Love, Elizabeth

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