I’m writing this from a Via train (thanks to iPhone tethering, not the near-useless Via wifi) en route to London for the Green Party of Ontario’s Leadership and Policy Conference. Like the most recent federal Liberal leadership conference we only have one leadership contestant, but people are very excited about him. (Party rules dictate that he still has to defeat “none of the above” to become leader, so stay tuned. And if you’re still upset that you’re missing out on a more dramatic leadership contest, just wait for this impending nonsense. )
In addition to electing a leader and some executive positions, we’ll be work-shopping and debating policy with a view to having a great platform in 2011.
I believe that the Green Party of Ontario is poised to make some impressive gains in the provincial election that will take place at the end of that year. The Conservatives and the NDP have moved further to the ideological fringes, and the Liberals are getting badly battered by the kind of scandals that tend to happen when you’ve been in power too long. On the other hand, Greens are offering practical and needed solutions to the challenges our province faces, and voters are responding.
I’ve been asked to provide updates throughout the weekend on behalf of the provincial Greens, so you can follow my blog on the party site here, as well as the official Twitter account @OntarioGreens.
If I get ambitious and if the right moment presents itself I may even try out my new Flip video camera, but don’t get your hopes up too high.
Friends, if you have any time today or tomorrow please lend a hand to Chris Chopik, the Green Party of Ontario’s candidate in the September 17th St. Paul’s by-election. A strong showing by Chris is a great way to send a message to other parties and to actually influence real change in Ontario politics, and these last 48 hours are critical.
As an added bonus, Chris Chopik is a very good candidate. He’s the only one talking with any urgency or credibility about transitioning Ontario to the future economy. He’s also very accomplished and hard working:
Chris Chopik is a Realtor and recognized leader in the green real estate movement in Canada. He has been featured in two Globe and Mail articles and two Toronto Star articles including a feature focusing on â€œGreen Heroesâ€. Chris has been called the â€œGreen Guruâ€ on Global News, and has appeared on Christina Chierneskyâ€™s House Calls, on Breakfast Television, and CBCâ€™s Metro Morning.
Chris is not new to the world of politics. In 2008 and 2009, he advised the provincial government on housing-related aspects of Ontarioâ€™s new Green Energy Act. Chris has also worked with the City of Toronto and Torontoâ€™s ENGO community to create new opportunities for local engagement around environment and economy issues. He has publicly advocated for the advancement of a meaningful â€œgreen economyâ€ agenda, a smart electricity grid, renewable energies and a robust energy conservation policy.
Within the riding of St. Paulâ€™s, Chris has consistently supported community development in the areas of local economy, urban agriculture, renewable energy and home energy efficiency. Chris is an active contributor to the Cedarvale Childrenâ€™s Garden, a board member of LEAF, the organizer and key sponsor of the Strawberries and Asparagus Festival, an advisor to Green Enterprise Toronto and an advisor to Green Neighbours 21 on their â€œGreen Togetherâ€ program.
Get in touch and involved with the campaign at chrischopik.ca or by calling 416-880-4505. It makes a big difference. Thanks! UPDATED (11:50 a.m.) GET INVOLVED INFO:
- Help get out the vote on Thursday by making some phone calls to already identified Green supporters.Â We need everyone to go out and vote, making your calls critical.Â Please let Becky Smit know if you can help out by email ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (647-830-6486);
- Make a financial donation to ensure we reach our fundraising goal of $10,000; and
- If you live in the GTA, show Chris your support in person and join us after the polls close for the Election Night Party, at Zemra Bar Lounge ( 778 St Clair Avenue West Toronto, ON M6C 1B6) starting at 7:00PM.
The Green Party of Ontario, which was anticipating a leadership race culminating in a convention November 13 to 15, 2009, has just announced that at the close of nominations Mike Schreiner is the only candidate to become the next leader of the Green Party of Ontario. According to the party’s processes, he will still face a secret ballot vote against “none of the above.” (Just to be clear, he will kick NOTA’s butt.)
News reports had indicated that Mark MacKenzie was also going to contest the leadership. At this time I don’t know if he intentionally withdrew or failed to be properly nominated in time.
I will not pretend that I’m not disappointed there won’t be a contest. There are some negatives that will come out of this, specifically A) potential public perception, for anyone paying attention, that more people didn’t want the job and B) failed opportunity to gain media attention, sign up new members, etc. Leadership contests are good for parties, and this one would have been good for the provincial Greens.
However, as everyone in Ontario will soon learn, Mike Schreiner will make an excellent leader, and I’m very excited about the coming years and the 2011 election. That’s all for now, more to come later, I’m sure.
ps. To preempt predictable comments from some frustrated and vocal party members, yes, a big reason why there weren’t any other candidates is because of the party’s requirement that leadership contestants must be members of the party for at least 6 months. No, that’s not due to a conspiracy, it’s a decision that party members have made and recently reaffirmed. And no, I actually don’t like that rule. There will be some members who will propose (as they have in the past) that that rule should be changed for future contests, and I would agree. I think 6 months is too long, but it’s also the rule that was already in place for this contest, and the rules were rightly followed.
After 16 years at the helm, Green Party of Ontario Leader Frank de Jong said yesterday that he is stepping down. De Jong made the announcement to party members during opening remarks at the party’s annual general meeting being held this weekend in Toronto.
A leadership contest will be held to choose a successor, culminating in a leadership and policy convention November 13-15, 2009 in London Ontario. De Jong is the longest serving Green party leader in Canada (possibly the world) and has survived three separate leadership challenges.
Switching to French, de Jong also told the mostly non-French-speaking audience that he would like to be leader of the federal Green party. He later clarified that he does not intend to challenge current leader Elizabeth May, but would consider seeking the job were it to become available.
Time lines for the leadership race were to be determined by the AGM Sunday, but at the end of business Saturday it was expected that nominations would be open from July 1st to August 14th.