The reason that this is especially good for NDP candidate Julian West is that the NDP seems to pick up stray Green votes in the riding, as evidenced by past election results. Between 2004 and 2006 the Green vote dropped more than 6% and the NDP vote went up nearly 6%, while the Liberal vote was nearly unchanged (only 60 new votes). In 2006 the NDP came in second and with or without a Green candidate, West is going to be serious competition for "Dirty Gary."
Below is the open letter written by the Green Party activists to the members in the riding.
WARNING: It's unnecessarily long and detailed. Just skip to the part about how "courageous" it is to back out on your promise to field a candidate in every riding.
From: Will Horter [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 5:10 PM
To: email@example.com ; LW-List; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Subject: [BCEN LW:] Open letter to Green Party members in Saanich - Gulf
Dear members and supporters of the Green Party:
Re: Upcoming nomination meeting in Saanich - Gulf Islands
We are living in extraordinary times. Global warming will require each of us
to change the way we relate to one another, and to our communities and our
This will be a big challenge, requiring each of us to do extraordinary
We know you care deeply about the future of our planet and your community,
and that you understand that slight changes to business as usual will not
address these challenges at the scale or on the timeline necessary.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May recognized this when she allied with
Stephane Dion to put "progress ahead of partisanship" by agreeing to not run
candidates in each other's ridings.
Unfortunately, despite this courageous action, our political electoral
system remains broken. As it is currently structured it inhibits, rather
than facilitates, the scale of discussion and action required to address the
challenges that face us.
Addressing these challenges will be hard, but we can succeed if we work
together. Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion took the first step, saying,
"While the need for cooperation may be obvious to the average Canadian,
within political parties, one is not supposed to allow even limited
cooperation. We admit we are different from most adversarial, political
leaders... We will always put the country and the planet first."
We, concerned British Columbians, also need to put our country and our
planet first. Too often issues that matter - the future of nuclear power,
oil tankers in British Columbia's inside passage, coastal drilling for oil
and gas - get captured by a partisan political process that puts sound bites
and partisan attacks over solutions.
We need to fix that.
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary actions.
This is why we are jointly writing to you to make an unusual request: We
are asking you personally to go to the nomination meeting for the Green
Party in Saanich-Gulf Islands which may take place this Saturday afternoon
(July 14th) in Sidney, and vote for "None of the Above."
We don't make this request lightly, and here's why we're making such an
extraordinary request. Make no mistake, we do understand that this IS
extraordinary: we are deep believers in the process of democracy, and do not
take lightly such a request.
People in the Saanich-Gulf Islands federal riding are among the most
environmentally conscious voters in the country. Unfortunately, for the past
four elections, their political support has been split between three federal
parties: The Liberals, the NDP and the Greens.
This has allowed the Conservative candidate to be elected four times by a
minority of the voters. In 2006 the voting was: Conservatives (37 %);
Liberal (26%); NDP (26%); Green (10%)
The simple fact is that if the Green Party runs a candidate in the coming
federal election it will make it much more likely that the Conservative
candidate will win once again.
And this is not just any Conservative candidate. Gary Lunn, the four-time
incumbent, is Stephen Harper's Minister of Natural Resources.
And "Dirty Gary" sure does like developing resources. As the Tyee recently
wrote, "Lunn . is trying to push nuclear power, rev up the oil sands, and
make way for more pipelines and supertankers on B.C.'s coast."
Mr. Lunn is the leading BC voice for the Conservatives' plan to circumvent
the 35-year old moratorium banning oil tankers in northern BC waters. He
recently claimed the tanker moratorium to be a figment of the public's
imagination, stating that it "has never existed" despite numerous documents
which verify that the tanker ban was created by his own ministry before
Harper took power.
Lunn supports breakneck expansion of the Alberta tar sands despite the fact
that it is Canada's biggest and fastest growing greenhouse gas emitter. He
favors nuclear power as the solution for the power addicted tar sands, which
needs massive amounts of energy to steam the dirty tar out of the sand. Lunn
was quoted by CanWest early this year saying, "[w]e burn a lot of natural
gas to extract that oil from the sands right now. So there's a great
opportunity to pursue nuclear energy -- something that I'm very keen on."
"Dirty Gary," who the Times Colonist has described as "an enthusiastic
champion of nuclear power", recently approved a plan to bury nuclear waste
underground. With this plan, the TC columnist Susan Riley wrote, Lunn "has
given the green light to a near-moribund industry that is now rebranding
itself as green."
And that is not all:
. Gary Lunn killed the popular EnerGuide program that helped
thousands of Canadians offset the cost of retrofitting their houses to
become more energy efficient, bringing it back a year later as a much weaker
. Lunn has been a mouthpiece for the asbestos industry, allowing
Canadian corporations to continue to profit from global sales of killer
asbestos whilst allowing a de facto ban at home. Lunn played a role in
Canada's undermining the Rotterdam Convention, refusing to allow asbestos to
be listed in the United Nations agreement that guarantees that countries
shipping toxic substances have the right to know what they are. Minister
Lunn's position was supported by only four other countries whose democratic
and environmental records speak for themselves: Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Iran
Surely, we can't allow Gary Lunn to be elected a fifth time by once again
splitting the progressive vote among three parties.
A recent Tyee article framed the issue well: "[h]ow does a guy like Lunn win
a riding that contains areas synonymous with earth love and sustainability?
And if the environment is the challenge of a generation, how come
environmentalists can't cooperate to take out a man they all say is one of
its biggest foes?"
The candidates already nominated to run against Lunn have strong
environmental credentials, are strong advocates for electoral reform, and
are not likely to bow down to traditional party politics:
* Briony Penn, the Liberal candidate, is a former long-time Green
Party member. Briony, a PhD in geography, is prominent environmental
activist, reporter and writer. Briony lectured for 15 years at the
University of Victoria. She made headlines in 2001 by protesting private
logging development on Salt Spring Island with a horse ride through downtown
Vancouver au naturel. Briony is active with a number of NGOs and serves as a
founding director of The Land Conservancy.
* Julian West, the NDP candidate, is a former Green Party candidate in
Cowichan-Ladysmith. Mr. West is a PhD in applied mathematics from MIT and
has taught at universities across the continent. West has been active in
environmental politics and on electoral reform. He joined the Green Party
of British Columbia in 1995. In 1997, he co-founded the Electoral Change
Coalition of BC, and in 2000 was a charter member of Fair Vote Canada.
Julian has served on the boards of Fair Vote Canada and Fair Voting BC for
the past seven years.
These are extra-ordinary times. We can't let a pro-nuclear, pro-oil tanker,
pro-oil-sands-growth Conservative like Gary Lunn win again.
That is why we are calling on you to vote for "None of the Above" at the
nomination meeting for the Green Party in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
With two environmentalists running for the other parties, the Green Party is
unlikely to replicate its previous vote totals, but these votes could cause
the election of Gary Lunn, a key player in Stephen Harper's
Playing a role in defeating Gary Lunn, a sitting Minister of Natural
Resources, on environmental issues related to climate change, would give the
Green Party enormous credibility.
In April, speaking at the nomination meeting in the uptown Toronto riding of
St. Paul's, the National Post reported that Elizabeth May stated the Green
Party might abandon its efforts to field candidates in every riding. May
stated, "It's possible we won't have people in every riding. adding that
there was a general feeling in the party that fielding candidates in as many
riding as possible was important."
We have concerns that the candidate nomination process has likely been
subverted because it appears that proper notice has not been given to all
members in the Saanich-Gulf Islands EDA. Just last week the nomination
meeting was scheduled for Saturday, July 14th, 1-3pm, at the home of Bryce
and Laurie Kendrick in Sidney, 8727 Lochside Drive Tel; (250 655 5051).
(RSVP required) This late notice does not comply with the Green Party
constitution which requires 30 days written notice unless a snap federal
election has been called. Also, people have been told that the the executive
of the riding is limiting attendance to "current members of the SGI EDA, and
invited guests only."
We call on Green Party members in the riding to exercise their democratic
right and demand the riding executive comply with the Green Party rules. In
addition, when a properly noticed nomination meeting is held we urge you to
collectively choose to change the way politics is done in Canada. Vote for
"None of the Above" at the nomination meeting and become part of a historic
effort to turn this country away from the destructive path Harper's
conservatives have set us all on.
The Green Party is already having an impact in the riding, having influenced
the two other parties to poach Green Party members as their candidates.
Helping to defeat Gary Lunn by avoiding vote splitting could actually
strengthen the Green Party in the riding.
So how will this work? The Green Party constitution doesn't specify what
happens if "None of the Above" wins on the nomination ballot. However, the
Green Party executive, which has to certify all candidates, is unlikely to
override the democratic choice of local members and force a candidate onto
its the ballot.
We all are committed environmentalists - some Green Party members, some
Green Party voters, some Green Party supporters. Collectively we believe
that the best action for the Green Party to take, both for the environment
and for the Green Party itself, is to not run a candidate in the
Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.
It should be noted that we are writing to you in our personal capacities,
and any organizational affiliations are listed for information purposes
only, and do not reflect the views of those organizations.
As committed environmentalists we need to work together to ensure that the
candidate who gets elected to represent Saanich-Gulf Islands is an advocate
for the environment, not an apologist for the oil and nuclear industries.
Please vote for "None of the Above", and encourage your Green Party friends
to do the same.
For the future,
Writer, Green Party member
& Federal Shadow Cabinet critic on climate change
Book editor, Saanich-Gulf Island
Green Party Member
Former Green party candidate for Esquimalt-Juan De Fuca
Green Party Member
Writer, environmental and human rights activist
Climate Change activist,
Salt Spring resident