During the listening part of my leadership campaign, I have heard a number of great ideas and interesting stories from Green Party members all across the country. One of those stories comes from the 2007 Ontario provincial election. I’ll let James O’Grady, the Director of Campaign Communications for the Green Party of Ontario in 2007, explain how their campaign team used Green Party values to guide their actions. I will be committed to ethical and just leadership when elected leader of the Green Party of Canada.
Guest blog by James O’Grady
In our 2007 provincial campaign, the Green Party of Ontario achieved a record result: 8.3 percent of the popular vote. At the core of our campaign was our commitment to follow Green Party values at all times, in everything we did. We decided that we would not emphasize one value over another, and we wouldn’t make compromises on our six core values – ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, diversity, and sustainability — no matter how enticing.
Applying the principles of logical reasoning (all premises must be true in order for the conclusion to be true), we created two decision making filters to ensure that what emerged: 1) Met Campaign Objectives; and
2) Aligned with Green Party values. Using these tools allowed us to deal efficiently and effectively with whatever challenges arose. While one can never predict what will happen in the future, we created a decision-making process that allowed us to come up with the right decisions, no matter how difficult.
Every day we faced issues that challenged our new decision-making process. And, of course, as seems to always happen in life, we found ourselves facing an existential situation halfway through the campaign. Our leader, Frank de Jong had been courting the Landowners group in Ontario. The Landowners are a special interest group representing landowners in rural Ontario. They normally oppose everything Green, but in this election, they were very unhappy with Conservative leader John Tory.
Unbeknownst to the campaign team, a Green Party candidate arranged for a press conference that demonstrated the challenges farmers face every day when deciding whether or not to destroy the natural environment. He planned to do this by destroying the habitat of an endangered species. If you’re shocked to read this now, imagine how we felt. Our stomachs sank. The campaign had been in cruise control up until that point, and so we all screamed “NOOOOOOO” at the same time!
The decision to nix the event was an easy one, but because we had already established a decision-making process based on Green Party values, we were able to make the decision immediately, receiving little pushback once we explained why destroying the habitat of an endangered species was not the right way, not a Green way, to go about making the point that farmers need better options.
In doing so, we saved our campaign by preventing a huge mistake. We went on to set a record result in Ontario of 8.3% support, on a tiny budget of just $180,000 (we spent just over .50 cents per vote. I challenge all Green Parties to do better!). And, the landowners voted for us anyway.
Remaining true to ourselves—to Green Party values, is what I believe is the key to the Green Party achieving the electoral success that has so far eluded us. When we do, Canadians will recognize it and finally trust us to do what we say we will do in a way that respects all life. Justice and non-violence is at the very core of Green values. We must act in a way that is ecologically sound, engages Canadians in the decision-making process, and which is sustainable.
At the end of the day, isn’t this what we’re all about?
James O’Grady, Former Director of Campaign Communications
Green Party of Ontario, 2007
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As I listen to Greens from coast to coast to coast, it is clear that people see the need for deep change as we face a global climate emergency, social and economic injustice, and a pandemic. We are looking for strong leadership to ensure a just and sustainable future. We want an effective Green Party that will ensure the concerns of Canadians are heard and our government takes action before it’s too late.
I’m running for the Leadership of our Party because I believe my professional experience in achieving deep change is directly relevant to the challenge ahead. With my experience in dispute resolution, I can unite our Party, starting with the nine wonderful candidates now running for the Leadership. As I work to reach out across Canada, I sincerely appreciate your financial support to continue my campaign. Anything you can donate will help. Together we will make a difference to the Green Party, our country, and our planet.
Year after year, Michel Sigouin has been recognised as the volunteer who stands out the most at the Green Party of Canada. Michel was nominated Volunteer of the year in 2018 at the BGM in Vancouver.
During the federal elections of 2019, Michel was the official agent of the party for three candidates, as well as financial officer in eight constituencies in Quebec. Also, Michel advised about ten other official agents in completing campaign financial reports. Presently, Michel is treasurer of the Quebec wing of the party. Michel is the Quebec lead coordinator for David Merner’s candidacy.
« Since I was a little boy, protecting the planet was very important to me. Sometimes, my relatives told me that I was obsessed about preserving the Earth. I am so happy to interact with other Greens who share my own obsession! I want my children and grand-children to grow up in a safe and healthy world. The reason why I decided to support David’s campaign, is because it is very important to have a fully bilingual leader. Among the nine candidates, David has the most experience in politics. Moreover, the next leader needs to win the elections in his own riding. David connects with everyone and I think he will be a great party leader and a good prime minister of Canada!”
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