Why is the Green Party Important in 2019 Highlights
My happy task is to introduce your candidate. But, before I do that, I want to say that this is a contested nomination as most of you will know. Green Members of the North-Island, Powel-River riding had to vote to figure out who would be the nominee. This is happening more often and all the time now as we become more credible, and successful. Right now, the campaign to win the nomination in Guelph, Ontario is going to be fought out between six candidates; you had three. A contested nomination says a lot about where we are as Greens. And the winner of the contested nomination – to have the role, the challenge, and the fun of being a candidate for the North-Island Powel-River area, is the person I am introducing today: Mark de Bruijn.
It is terrific to have someone who is such a dedicated Green, committed to building this - what we used to call a riding association but is now an electoral district association. Yet, what you may not know a lot about, is his background, so I will tell you. He has a first-class honours degree in Bachelors of Science from the University of Calgary, he worked as an educator, a principal, a high-school science teacher, a college lecturer, and went on to be an arctic biologist for environment assessments…
For 21 years Mark worked with an international network that did work in international communities as well as small businesses and worked on issues of cooperative governance and sustainable development. Its been here, in this riding for 22 years, that he was drawn to the Green Party because of his life-long love of nature and desire to bring the inspiring principles of the Green Party into the Government of Canada. He is a father, a grand-father of twin boys, and lives with his partner Carol at Bate’s Beach in the Comox Valley. And so, I welcome our candidate, Mark de Bruijn!
Mark de Bruijn:
Well it is a great pleasure to finally be here on this day. March 23rd has been pulsing on my calendar for months so it is a real pleasure to be standing here before you as your candidate; to know that I am going to be representing your wishes, your goals, and your values in Ottawa. That’s the goal. That’s why I am here. That’s why I have dedicated this stage of my life to this work. And it is a tremendous honour and pleasure for me to do this, standing with such a fabulous party leader whose someone I have admired for many years, so thank you Elizabeth, thank you everybody.
First Question: Why vote green this time around?
The fear factor is gone. The right has split. Integrity is missing there. It’s the first time in a very long time, since Harper, that even moderate and progressive conservatism has been heard. We lost that political spectrum. This is the first time we have seen it open up again with two parties on the Right… Back in 2015 when the risk was of Stephen Harper forming government again, half of our vote, which we know from polls, fell victim to fear-factor messages.
This election is very different. Justin Trudeau has disappointed the people, including a lot of those who voted for him, but he isn’t hated at the level of Stephen Harper. First Past the Post is a terrible voting system. If we didn’t have that ‘winner take all’ voting system we have, there wouldn’t be this vulnerability to fear-factor voting. The reality is, in this election people can vote for what they want because we are, for sure, going to see members of parliament elected this Fall to six different parties. That changes the dynamic a lot and it moves to the territory of a minority government. When what you really want is smart, dedicated MPs who are willing to cooperate on the basis of principle, that’s what Greens will do.
And the other reason to vote Green in 2019 is that, unless we change the trajectory of fossil fuel use in this country, and globally, it won’t matter who you vote for in 2023 because we will have seen the window close on holding to 1.5°C. It is a matter of urgency and a matter of principle and its also an opportunity, the likes of which we have never seen before as Greens, and that’s why, in my short amount of time, I would say, this is the election to make sure you and everyone you know goes to the polls to vote Green.
Mark de Bruijn:
To address the same question, number one is climate change. There is no other party in Canada other than the Greens that have a clear bead on this and really see how critical this situation is. To fully embrace the IPCC report and understand that we have about, maybe, 11 years left to have any hope of keeping the Global Warming down or below 1.5°C. But that doesn’t mean we have until 2030 to start figuring out what to do, it means we have until 2030 to do it. And that means we have to start now. You don’t hear anything like that from anybody else in Ottawa, hardly at all. The Liberal budget that was just released is great evidence of that. The whole climate change topic was so second, and third, and fourth tier down in importance - just an appalling statement of how as a nation we don’t acknowledge what’s going on. So there’s the number one reason on why to vote green.
Another reason is that this is a party based on collaboration, teamwork, respect, and willing to work with anybody who wants to seriously work together to address the issues before us. It doesn’t have anything to do with partisanship, credit, or whose party you belong to – ultimately, if you have good ideas and you want to work together, we’re in. No other party is like that. It’s usually all about partisanship and a grab for power.
The third reason – as it has been pointed out with our leader being voted the most Ethical in Ottawa, along with the Green Party itself – if ethics matter to you, and they do to me, there’s really no better option. Last election we all heard about voting strategically; well this year, we will again - only the strategy is to vote Green, to vote with your heart for what you want, to vote for integrity – and that’s a strategy that will get us what we need at the governance level in this country.