Tag Archives: gpo leadership race

Mike Schreiner inspires members, sets out vision

Crossposted from my blog on gpo.ca, which has even more posts from this weekend’s convention.

Leadership contestant Mike Schreiner spent 30 minutes this morning answering questions from Greens in attendance at this week’s convention. His comments were an inspiring and energizing call to action. What follows is my attempt to transcribe some of his comments. These are mostly direct quotes but some slight paraphrasing has taken place as well.

Three critical pillars for Green leadership

First, you need to have the right vision. I joined the Green Party of Ontario because I absolutely believe we have the right vision.

Second, a leader needs the right organizational leadership. We have to build our organizational capacity by increasing our membership and raising more money

Third, we need to be able to effectively, clearly and compellingly deliver a message that motivates people to vote for us.

Three green messages to focus on

I think our message needs to focus on three critically important pillars.

First, we are going to advocate for building a prosperous green economy in this province

The second critical component, we need to foster strong sustainable communities and empower our municipalities.

Third, I’m going to be steadfast in my commitment to promoting the health and well being of all Ontarians.

Question: How will you ensure we run strong candidates in all ridings?

I think it’s absolutely critical that we run 107 candidates, and first we need to have 107 functioning CAs. I’m going to be a full time leader. That means I’m going to spend at least one day a week at Queen’s Park, and the other five days (I’d like to take one day a week to spend with my family) I’m going to be traveling around the province engaging voters and our members. I don’t want a candidate to go into the next election without the support of a CA in place.

But I’m going to be frank with you. We’re going to need to focus our resources on ridings where we think we have a chance to win. And when we break through in one or two ridings it’s going to benefit every single riding and every single candidate across the province.

Question: How will you ensure we’re not just preaching to the choir?

I’m going to propose that we do a Community Engagement Program where CAs go out into the community and do something like support the local BIA or organize a Buy Local campaign or a Clean Up The River campaign. We need to demonstrate concretely on the ground that we as a party are doing things to benefit the community. We have to reach out to people who are not yet members of this party. The nice thing is I’m already getting quite a few requests to speak at events that aren’t Green party events. It’s going to take just picking up the phone and talking to business leaders, community leaders, NGOs, heritage associations, and opening a conversation with them. It’s going to take every single person in this room to engage and commit to that kind of activity.

Climate change is an enormous problem, and we need to accomplish huge emissions reductions. How will we do that?

First, don’t “appeal to fear” when dealing with climate change, even though fear is justified. Instead, talk about the opportunity to transition our economy. One of the things we have to address right away is the lack of efficiency in our buildings. We need an aggressive campaign to retrofit all our buildings. The great thing about that is it’s going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. The other great thing is it’s actually going to save us money over time. The second opportunity is for each and every Ontarian to become an energy entrepreneur. The third critical area is around our transportation systems. Again, we can appeal to that in a positive way. “Did we bargain for this? Do most of us really want to spend three hours a day in our cars?” No, we want to spend time with our families.

What is our position on the HST?

We’re opposed to it, and I’d invite you to read Frank de Jong’s blog on the subject. Most parties have attacked this as a “tax grab,” and it is, but there’s a more fundamental issue with the HST, and that’s the continued centralization of power in this country. We’ve taken an important tool and turned it over to the federal government. (Ed Note: I’m definitely paraphrasing here.) We use taxation tools to help create the changes we need, so abdicating those tools to another government is not in the long term interest of the province.

A final thought…

What motivates Green party activists isn’t the political appointment at the end of the day, it’s our commitment to our values, principals and vision to create a better world for our children. That, as Frank de Jong says, is our compass.

Hey, we can have a Seinfeld convention too!

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.

Mike Schreiner will become Green Party of Ontario leader

mike2The 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.

Frank de Jong to step down as Green Party of Ontario leader

Frank de JongAfter 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.