Green Team Growing

Elizabeth May
Yesterday marked another big first for the Green Party… We have so many “firsts” it is hard to keep up! Of course, this week was the first ever poll to show us tied with the NDP at 13%. (As my daughter said, “Great! One down, two to go!”) Saturday marked the largest organizer training workshop for Greens ever held in Toronto. About 150 people attended for a full day on how to canvass, how to fundraise, how to Get out the Vote. It was great fun and the national TV crew from Global filming the enthusiastic crowd just gave a sense of additional excitement. As David Scrymgeour, a veteran campaigner noted, “In 2004 when I first gave this session there was no national tv crew to watch as I talked to the 5 people who showed up!” (It turned out we were next door to a Toronto Liberal campaign training event that attracted 40 people so our sense of momentum was palpable.) After my speech we did a veritable assembly line of “leader photos with candidates.” As always I had to run to get a train so I only had 30 seconds each to re-connect with Greens I already knew and meet brand new candidates, congratulate them and get the photo for their web site. In a number of ridings we still have contested nominations, so photos with several folks from some ridings were taken with a lot of good natured rivalry as to who would ultimately have the photo that was used once the writ drops…. So when will that be? Will Mr. Harper ensure his government falls with a poison pill in his budget that no opposition party can swallow? Or will he sweeten the mix enough to get one of the other parties to prop up his government a little longer? For the Green Party, are we ready? Well, we have less money, fewer members and less experienced campaigners than the other parties. On the other hand, we have more money, more members, and more dedicated, engaged, idealistic and hopeful campaigners than we have ever had before. We are the only party showing a steady growth in public support. We may be a merry bunch of amateurs, but I subscribe to this anonymous and brilliant observation: Amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic!