Let’s Try This Again – Running For the Green Party That Is

I have decided do to that whole “trifecta” thing and run for the Green Party in the upcoming federal election in Canada. I enjoyed running provincially and liked running for municipal council so I don’t think I’d be politically complete unless I took a shot federally.


The timing is good. We have an unpopular Prime Minister who is obsessed with selling tar sands oil to anyone who’ll buy it and who kind of went “all in” on having the Canadian economy a Petro state. That was working great when oil was $100+ /barrel, but now with oil around $50/barrel … not so much.

The Green Party of Canada’s leader Elizabeth May is very popular and without question the most intelligent, articulate leader of any party in the country. She’s a lawyer and someone who is passionate about both the environment and democracy, both of which the major parties seem anxious to ignore and degrade. Now that she has been in Parliament a while she has radically increased the profile of the party and won accolades like “Parliamentarian of the Year” as voted by her peers, as well as a number of other credits, so Canadians are starting to become well aware of an option to the “business as usual ‘blah blah blah” of the traditional parties.

In our rural riding the boundaries have just switched. We were in Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington and we are now in Hastings-Lennox & Addington, a riding with the same geographical territory of, well, about Europe. It would take the better part of two days to drive from corner to corner and yes I exaggerate but it does pose unique challenges in terms of getting the message out.

Michelle and I, along with another devoted Green Party supporter, established an EDA or “Electoral District Association,” a fancy name for a riding or constituency association. As with all things political because of the abuse of the system over the years there seems to be an enormous amount of paperwork and hoops to jump through. When I sit back and look at it, running in an election is the easy part of the whole process. But I guess it’s the price we pay to live in, well, what did Bruce Cockburn call it… “… and they call it democracy.” Our current Prime Minister won a majority with about 38% of the popular vote. Gee, this ‘first past the post’ parliamentary democracy really works!

I’m extremely excited that we have just had a rock star join the team. Or at least she’s a rock star in my world. Claire Martin is a meteorologist with the CBC (radio and TV network here in Canada.) Claire used to work in Toronto doing the local and national weather and now she works in British Columbia. She has a high profile and brings with her a unique perspective on climate change.

Climate scientists tell us that no single weather event can be linked directly to climate change, or at least they used to. But now I’m not so sure. A warmer climate holds more moisture; more moisture leads to more extreme events. A warmer ocean intensifies hurricanes. Two summers ago Calgary received 3 month’s worth of rain in two days. The jet stream is no longer as fluid as before so now it gets blocked and stays put and does damage when it doesn’t move. Our last two winters have been brutal here in Eastern Canada. We went almost 40 days without a single day above zero this February. Yes, we have always experienced cold spells, but usually we get warm spells that give us a few days’ reprieve from the frigid temperatures. The blocked jet stream this year didn’t allow that.

Now meteorologists don’t want to talk about this on a weather forecast. But it’s interesting that one of Canada’s best-known meteorologists has decided to run for the Green Party. It tells me that something’s up and we need to take some drastic action.

I’m totally pumped about the campaign. The Green Party has an awesome platform, a two hundred-page policy book that makes recommendations on how to improve every part of government policy. But it has two things that speak to me.

First off, it calls for a balanced budget. We have a provincial Liberal government that seems hell bent on bankrupting the province with its spending. We have a conservative, or a “Conservative” federal government that was handed a budget SURPLUS and has been in deficit ever since. That always seems strange that the political party of “small government” can’t help but spend like a drunken sailor. I run a balanced budget personally and the Green Party will do it when it forms the government this year. I wouldn’t run otherwise.

The second policy is a “fee and dividend” to deal with climate change. This was a concept to price carbon that I first learned about in NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen’s book “Storms of My Grandchildren.” You simply charge for all carbon as it leaves the ground … coal, natural gas, oil … put that money into a trust account, and cut every family a check for their share of it once a quarter. No government meddling. No guys in suits in trying to get a cut. No government betting on technology. The price of fossil fuels will go up and you let the market respond. People can take their cheque and fly to Europe, or they can upgrade their insulation, put a solar domestic hot water heater on their roof, or buy a more fuel-efficient car. It’s brilliant.

So I am totally pumped about the election, due in October, unless our cynical prime minister sees an advantage and calls it early. Doesn’t matter. I’m ready. I’m going to win this thing and spend 4 years in Ottawa shaking things up! We’re going to paint that town green.

For our Canadian readers here’s where you can find your local candidate or least the ridings where we’ve selected one.




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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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