Green party rises from obscurity to legitimate political force in B
Greens have emerged from relative obscurity and nagging criticism as a one issue party to become a legitimate political force with a comprehensive election platform.
They have the party's smart, likable and hard working leader Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head to thank for that, as evidenced by his credible performance in Wednesday's televised leaders' debate. He scored second in an instant poll, behind the NDP's John Horgan and just ahead of Liberal Christy Clark. presidential election.
Political observers suggest the Green party should set its sights on a modest increase in legislative seats.
Norman Ruff, associate professor emeritus of political science at the University of Victoria, says that the Greens have grown from a "grassroots ecological movement toward a more fully fledged political party with pandora silver rings all its trappings of a leadership driven organization with a broad provincial policy official pandora charms agenda. Liberals and the public's alarm about affordability in their everyday lives." A widespread sense that voting won't change things that much could make efforts to get out the vote all the more important this time around, he noted.
Ruff also predicts that if the Greens "locate and focus their energies on communities where they are demonstrably seen as local contenders," such as southern Vancouver Island, they might add a seat or two, or even achieve official party status with four MLAs.
A Mainstreet/Postmedia poll released April 25 found that despite general voter migration to the NDP, the Greens are "just barely hanging on to a lead on Vancouver Island where they are now essentially tied."
Weaver argues the Greens are capable of drawing from both established parties, as well as "from our key demographic: the non voter." He won the only Green seat in the 2013 provincial election, when the party took 8.15 per cent of the popular vote, compared with 44.13 per cent for Liberals and 39.72 per cent for the NDP.
Weaver observes that his own riding had been held by a Liberal for 17 years, a reference to his victory over former Saanich councillor and Liberal MLA Ida Chong.
"I don't believe parties own votes. People pandora charm warranty own votes," he said in an interview. "The lion's share of people are just looking for jewels pandora someone to vote for instead of against, and that's the opportunity we offer them."
This election campaign, the Greens are fielding candidates in 83 of 87 electoral ridings.
Some have made the news for all the wrong reasons.
Don Barthel, the candidate in Port Moody Coquitlam, did a lot of backpedalling after telling a friend on Facebook that he was "just a 'paper candidate'" and "not expected to actively campaign." The software consultant lives in Vancouver.
The Green candidate in Richmond South Centre is Greg Powell, a United Church minister from Castlegar. Weaver said in his defence that Powell "wanted to be part of our team," but the only slots available were Richmond or Peace River North. "He's a very credible person. He's not a paper candidate."
Weaver argued that Liberal leader Christy Clark lives in Vancouver butrepresents Kelowna, and the NDP candidate in his own riding (Bryce Casavant, a former conservation officer suspended for saving two cubs on the north island)is from Port McNeill.
Clark was defeated by the NDP's David Eby in the riding of Vancouver Point Grey in the 2013 provincial election that her party won. Later that year, she ran successfully in a byelection in Westside Kelowna.
Casavant, who is currently renting a condo in Victoria, argues that he turned down a request to run for the Greens because he figured the NDP was the only realistic option for defeating the Liberals.
Weaver argues the Greens have fielded a broad based and capable team of candidates.
"We have six PhD scientists, three CEOs of tech companies, I don't know how many teachers I've lost count. It's quite a diverse range." The party's youth movement is reflected in 18 year old beekeeper Samson Boyer, running in Columbia Revelstoke.
Based on the 2013 provincial election results, one of the Greens' best hopes for another seat this time is Saanich North and the Islands. (Green MP Elizabeth May was first elected in Saanich Gulf Islands in 2011.).
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