See also election night video and results.

Friends, our hard work has paid off. Just two years ago we finished a distant fourth with 5% of the vote. Last night, we tripled our support to 14%, beat the government’s own candidate and came within 36 votes of taking second place (what CBC radio this morning is calling a “virtual tie” for second). By any measure, this is a huge victory we should be very proud of.

In fact, Greens can be proud right across the country. We broke 10% in Toronto Centre and Vancouver Quadra (where Dan Grice represented the Greens), meaning those campaigns will receive a valuable 60% campaign expense refund. In Willowdale, Lou Carcasole finished third ahead of the NDP. Nationally, our support averaged in the range of where we’ve been polling, disproving the myth that we are unable to convert favourable public opinion into votes.

Our impact goes beyond numbers as well, as those of you who have been in Toronto Centre know. On February 27th, Bob Rae said at the St. James Town debate that he did not support a carbon tax. The next day at the Rosedale debate, he said we needed to put a price on carbon in the form of a “tax shift.” At the final public debate in the St. Lawrence on March 11th, he called for a “green tax shift” and described what has been Green Party policy for years, hinting strongly that it would be in the next Liberal platform. Four days later, and just two days before the election, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion (who has consistently opposed a carbon tax) announced that the Liberals were seriously considering adopting the Green Party’s tax shifting policy. This was not a coincidence; it was an indication and result of the strength of our campaign and our ideas.

Writing in The Toronto Star this morning, Susan Delacourt says that we have moved closer to “becoming [a] major player” and that last night’s results “show that voters are not willing to accept the status quo in politics:”

The Green Party may not have won a single seat in last night’s by-elections, but its strong showing in Toronto and Vancouver seals its standing as a political force to watch in days and months ahead.

As the results were still being tallied late last night, the Greens were vying for second place in Toronto Centre and poised to surpass the New Democrats in Willowdale and perhaps Vancouver Quadra, too.

The implications are significant and likely to be much discussed by strategists of all parties in the coming days.

Congratulations to Bob Rae, who ran a strong, positive campaign and earned a decisive win last night. We were never in this to run “against” anyone, and I told Bob last night that I believe he’ll be a good Member of Parliament. I also want to congratulate my other opponents, El-Farouk Khaki, Don Meredith, Liz White, and Doug Plumb. Whenever engaged citizens participate in their democracy by running as candidates, our democracy and our country are stronger.

We will continue to build on this success and defy expectations. Two years ago, last night’s results would have been unthinkable; just think what we’ll be able to accomplish two years from now. Let’s keep moving.

14 thoughts on “Victory

  1. Well Chris, it was an amazing night and thanks for letting me and Mark ride your coat tails as you official/un-official media crew.

    I’m starting to post a few pictures on my blog, by I will have the entire collection of all the photos to you in a few days, along with print sheets so you can pick through them quickly.

    I managed to get a lot of pictures of you looking dopey, but as the night went on my timing got better. Got some really go ones of you with Bob and some excellent group shots. You might be able to use some of them in your run for office. Of course if you want some of them adjusted and smoothed out, I’d be more than happy to do the photoshop work for you

    Keep an eye on the Wingnuterer as I reveled your secrets ~evil grin~

  2. Whooee! Good goin’, ChrisMan. I’m hopin’ yer good showin’ an’ DannyBoy Grice’s good showin’ will help us get the gal I adore into the TV debates.


  3. Chris,
    The campaign in Toronto Centre had a national campaign feel to it! I will do what I can to contribute to maintaining a strong organization at the local level between now and whenever – by vote or fixed election date – we do this again. Please rest before heading back to work and enjoy the afterglow – even if it is distinctly orange in the video :)

  4. hey congrats…its important, as you state, to continue to influence policy. But hey, even a few Greens could do a Belinda (in a good way) and get into the Libs, and maybe have some pull from the inside too?
    Regardless, keep at it, I’ve voted Green for several years now.

  5. Hey, Tofu, it should be the other way around – a few Liberal MPs should realize they’re in the wrong party and start a Green caucus. It worked for the Bloc – catapulted them to official opposition status, even.

    I’d be much more optimistic about the ability of a few newly self-declared Greens to make changes than a newly-elected Green who defected to the Liberals. Too many have tried from the inside over the years, and little has yet been accomplished.

  6. Congratulations on running such a great and successful campaign!

    I plan to vote Liberal myself (for the first time in a long time) but I appreciate the Green Party for striving to elevate political discourse and running positive campaigns. I hope other parties follow the Green’s lead on this, as this is what Canada sorely needs.

    As someone worried about what Harper is doing and will do to Canada, I do have concerns about what vote splitting between parties which would like to see Harper replaced will translate into for the next election. However, I am convinced that we will all benefit from the Green’s example of intelligent discourse over simplistic sloganeering. I’d really like to see May in the debates and winning a seat.

  7. One lesson of this byelection is that Toronto Centre voters overwhelmingly (87%) reject hard-line social conservatism and the Harper government. Meredith’s showing was the lowest ever for the Conservatives, barely beating the old Reform Party.

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