To The Editor:
After much personal reflection and consideration, I will be supporting Kim Charlesworth and the Green Party of British Columbia in the provincial election on May, 9th. I do so enthusiastically and wholeheartedly.
Let me explain why.
First and foremost, it begins with the candidate. Kim will be an excellent MLA who will passionately represent the constituents of this riding. Kim’s career and community involvement have prepared her to function effectively within the government system and to make connections between important community issues and the government policy framework that impacts these issues.
Her training as a lawyer, her experience working within the federal government, her time as a city councillor, and her current work with food security and poverty reduction are all part of the package of skills and experiences she will bring to the table.
At the end of the day, Kim is a true community activist in the best sense of that term. She believes deeply in issues of equity, inclusion, poverty reduction, and community engagement. She already walks the talk and will continue to do so in Victoria.
Beyond Kim’s qualifications, I strongly believe it is time to consider our choices as citizens within the current political system. When I ran for the Liberal Party of Canada in the last federal election I did so for many reasons, not just to try and effect change and defeat the Harper government.
I was concerned about how disconnected the political process had become from real people in real communities across the country. I was concerned about the nasty, confrontational approach to politics and the increasing division along party and ideological lines.
I was concerned about the disillusionment of voters and the declining participation and disinterest in voting. I wanted to see a new approach to politics and I was a strong supporter of the move towards some form of proportional representation.
As the federal Liberal candidate, I was in the room In Ottawa when Justin Trudeau announced that if the Liberals were elected the election of 2015 would be the last “first past the post” election. The excitement in the room was profound and I had no doubt the promise was sincere and I felt empowered to campaign strongly on that issue. We all know what happened there, but what many people struggle to understand is why it happened. In today’s political world, everything is focused on the leaders and the party.
The leadership team controls the party and MPs or MLAs are expected to always protect the “brand” above all else. Most parties have moved a long way from the fundamental accountability of the representative to their constituents.
The Green Party stands alone in its rejection of the strident, confrontational and divisive approach to government. It is the only party that speaks of cooperation, collaboration and consensus building as core elements of its approach to governing.
The Green Party is our opportunity to send a message that we are tired of the traditional approach that assumes majority governments are the only way to get anything done. It is our opportunity to elect an MLA who understands her first responsibility is to represent the people of Nelson-Creston in Victoria.
If you are tired of the nasty, mean-spirited, hyper-partisan behaviour that has become the norm in national and provincial politics, and which we are seeing in full display in this election campaign, it is time to choose an alternative. If you are tired of elections that are cast as black and white battles between good and evil (depending on which side you are on) send a message that you want something better and something different.
If you are frustrated and discouraged by parties that promise much and deliver little, and parties that are strictly controlled in service of the brand, then vote strategically and change the tune.
Strategic voting has become the new buzz phrase in Canadian politics, and I agree we should vote strategically. Where I differ is in what counts as strategic voting. I believe it is strategic to vote for the best candidate and a candidate you know will see her primary responsibility is to represent her riding and her constituents.
It is strategic to vote for a party that understands protecting the environment has to be our number one priority without question. It is strategic to support a party that recognizes the transition to a green economy is already happening and that it offers great opportunities for employment, the economy, and for quality of life. It is strategic to vote for a party that has a comprehensive policy framework that speaks to the challenges of today.
That party is the Green Party and that candidate is Kim Charlesworth.
We have an important opportunity in this election. We have seen the amazing work that has been accomplished by individual Green Party members such as Elizabeth May in Ottawa and Andrew Weaver in Victoria.
We have seen the election of Greens in other provinces and at the local government level across the country.
But, in British Columbia today we are seeing the beginning of a wave that creates the likelihood of electing multiple Green candidates around the province. It is an exciting possibility that will mean real change. The voters of Nelson-Creston have the opportunity to be part of creating that exciting new reality.
This is an historic election. Join me and support a party that puts principles above politics.
Don Johnston, Nelson BC