Who do you know in the GPO?

Ontario politics has been getting interesting recently with the election of Andrea Horwath as new NDP leader and the resignation of John Tory as PC leader. And, below the surface, the Green Party of Ontario is preparing to exceed expectations and make its mark in the next provincial election in 2011. Insiders should take note and get involved. (Outsiders can feel free to continue to ignore us, but I don’t advise it.)

This coming May long weekend, GPO members including myself will meet in Toronto for the 2009 AGM. The agenda [pdf, new window] includes a number of policy and constitutional matters, but one of the most significant pieces of business is to elect a new provincial executive (PE). This is the team that will oversee the planning and preparations required for a breakthrough in 2011. In case you’re interested, here’s how I’ll be voting for the key positions.

President: Bill Hewitt

I’m excited to be supporting Bill Hewitt for president. In addition to believing that he has a solid plan, I also think he has the ability to work well with others and build a strong team. To be frank, that’s something that’s been sorely missing on the PE as a whole for some time, and it’s one of the most crucial ingredients for success going forward.

Secretary: Robert Schmidt

Robert Schmidt has been serving as interim secretary since January, and I think he’s the best person to continue in that role. I share and am impressed by his nerdy infatuation with parliamentary rules of order.

I’m also encouraged to see that Caroline Law will be acclaimed as the Toronto Region Female rep, as will Jason Hammond as the Horseshoe Region Male rep. (Well, I’m not encouraged that they’re running uncontested, but I’ve worked with both of them closely and they’ll make excellent PE members.)

Now, if you’ve made it this far, here’s a juicy not very well known fact: the Green Party of Ontario may very well have a new leader before 2011. What we know for sure is that there will be a leadership race (the PE waived a leadership review vote in favour of a leadership contest at the request of current leader Frank de Jong), and the rumour is that Frank is leaning towards not seeking reelection.

Frank has been an excellent leader for the GPO, but he’s also the longest serving Green leader in Canada and—get this—the only leader the provincial party has ever had,  so the renewal that comes with a leadership race would be good for the party. And with the NDP moving left and the PC party moving right very very wrong, there’s an exciting opportunity for Greens to pickup more support and build on the remarkable Green result in the last provincial election. I dare say this is even the most likely prospect for an electoral breakthrough anywhere in the country (and I have specific reasons why, but I’ll save that for another day).

So, if your answer to the question “who do you know in the GPO” is “pretty much no one,” you might want to work on that.

8 thoughts on “Who do you know in the GPO?

  1. Chris, in EVERY political party the leader can stay on until he/she loses a leadership review or resigns. There was an automatic scheduled leadership review in Nov 2009 but I understand that Frank explicitly asked the PE to skip the review and go right to a race.

    There have been reviews (you were present at the most recent in Nov 2007). Frank won those reviews. And I suspect he would have won the Nov 2009 one as well.

  2. @Denis Agar
    Denis, you’re not listening to Chris. He is supporting Mike Schreiner for Leader.
    Mike doesn’t have the credentials, but he’s being pushed hard by the GPO Toronto faction. Didn’t you get the memo – the GPO already HAS a new leader. He just needs to be coronated, a la Ignatieff :-)

  3. Frank’s been good for the GPO. I will be interested to see what kind of talent emerges onto the scene. Something old, something new…
    I only hope we get a serious contest, with lots of recruiting, and a few real ground campaigns. I have some gratuitous advice for the leadership contestants. Just don’t make the mistake Elizabeth May made. Go into it with the expectation that you will need the energy, and talents of the other factions to make the best showing possible in the next election. Don’t get nasty, and don’t forget that you simply have to be able to work with your opponents.

  4. @John Ogilvie If you’re suggesting that the GPO will not have an open and fair leadership race, and will instead empower a small group of individuals to arbitrarily name a leader in a back room somewhere, I think you’re mistaken.

  5. Chris, don’t be silly. I’m not suggesting anything of the kind. I’ve been through a couple of internal GPO election cycles, and the internal standards of fairness are excellent.

    But I AM suggesting that a bloc has formed, and they will work hard at party HQ to ensure that their (your) preferred leadership candidate runs with minimal opposition. Anyone not onside with the plan is already being described as “divisive”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *