Elizabeth May

Well, my life got more complicated on Friday with Harper’s announcement of three by-elections on September 8th…. They could have been any time in the next six months, but they happened to fall on the weekend of our bi-annual policy convention.   Election Day for Westmount Ville-Marie, Saint Lambert and Guelph will be on Monday September 8th.  All Green leaders and tons of volunteers were to be in Pictou, Nova Scotia from September 5-7.  Pretty quickly, the horrible question loomed: should we change the dates of the convention?

I was reminded immediately of one of my father’s stories (he is a dedicated amateur historian). In the lead up to the German assaults in the First World War, the military strategists realized they should attack to the west.  But it was too late.  “All the trains are all pointing east” was the reply.  In those days re-directing engines with cars all organized (with military precision) was not something that could be quickly shifted.  I didn’t want us to realize too late we needed to change the dates and be told the trains are all pointing east.   A lot of scrambling went on… Determining if the venues we had chosen were still available.  Talking to CPAC about coverage. Calling our key note speakers.  It all came together for two weeks later.

We will still have a great convention, but it is now September 19-21.  PLEASE do register and plan to attend.  The programme is excellent and we will be riding on the success of September 8th by-elections.

The by-elections are a huge opportunity for us and likely the last by-election test before the general election.  We have strong candidates. In Guelph, Mike Nagy is a very solid Green who has been above the national Green average in results in previous elections.  Mike is in the Shadow Cabinet as Environment Critic and has been contributing to the development of Vision Green and a lot of media releases over the last two years. With the Green Party of Ontario having gained 20% of the vote in October of last year and the great support for things “green” in Guelph, we are excited about our prospects there.  In Westmount, Claude William Genest, national deputy leader, is in a tough contest with Marc Garneau, the Liberal front-runner.  The NDP is running star candidates in both ridings, both with CBC credentials.  Claude William has been involved in local issues and has a personal expertise in permaculture.  He is a strong spokesman for Green values and policies and is getting a great reaction on the doorstep.

So, the timing was not great for the convention. But it will be very propitious for the by-elections.  We need your support in several directions at once!!!   We need donations to the by-elections, we need registrations for the convention, and we would appreciate support for a special transportation fund to help members who are now stuck with change fees to be reimbursed.  Despite the Harper-induced inconvenience, we want to make sure everyone who wants to come to the convention can do so!

We also need volunteers to help in the Guelph and Montreal campaigns.  PLEASE let us know if you’d like to help by physically going to the riding of your choice or by helping with a phone canvass from the comfort of your own home.  It is crunch time.  We need to win that first Green seat in the House of Commons.

We can see it on the horizon…..