While vote-splitting on the left may have been a factor in the incredibly tight finish in Kootenay-Columbia, for the Green Party it was the opposite — the strategic voting that left Greens with only a slightly higher vote tally than the previous election.
“Absolutely, strategic voting beat us up very, very badly,” said Green Party candidate Bill Green on election night, Monday, Oct. 19. “So many people say the Green Party is the party they’d like to vote for, and they’ll vote for us next time. Unfortunately that doesn’t work. We have to build, and we can’t build if we’re fighting that all the time.”
Even so, the Green Party ran a tight, focussed campaign in Kootenay-Columbia, finishing with just over 4,000 votes (compared to 3,395 in 2011).
“I thought the whole election campaign in Kootenay-Columbia went very well, for our team and for myself,” Green said. “I’m incredibly proud of the work our campaign team did — we’ve got about eight people that worked more than full-time hours on it on a volunteer basis, and we had about 70 volunteers working very hard, and everybody worked smart.”
Still, Green expressed his disappointment with the results. “We’re actually not far ahead of where we were in 2011 with a much weaker campaign. I’m also disappointed that it appears there’s not going to be any Greens joining Elizabeth May in Parliament, something we were all desperately hoping for. We thought it was important to having a good government and having a few good people bringing to Parliament what Elizabeth does, with her co-operative leadership style.
“I really wanted to see that in Parliament, and it’s not going to be as strong as it might have been.”
Green also said there is hope that some form of proportional representation will be brought in under a new government. The Greens, the Liberals and the NDP all discussed this possibility during the campaign.
“Certainly [Liberal candidate] Don Johnston spoke very strongly of the need to build a new electoral system around proportional representation — and I’m really hoping that with push from the NDP and commitments the Liberal Party has made, and continued pushing from Elizabeth May, we can get to proportional representation.”
There are signs the Green Party is on an upward trajectory in the riding.
“What was really impressive for me in this election campaign was how incredibly fair the Green Party was treated in communities, on the doorsteps, and by the media,” Green said. “The media did an amazing job of providing full, respectful and fair coverage to all of the candidates, including my candidacy and the Green Party. We don’t see that played out the same way on the national stage. I think that’s a reflection on the people of Kootenay-Columbia.
“I hope we can spread that to the higher levels.”
It may be a bit early, but one can still look ahead to 2019, or whenever the next federal election is called.
“I’ll be working towards the goal of having a strong Green Party campaign,” Green said. “I’ve had two good shots at it, I have a job I love that I’m going back to, but we will work to make the Green Party stronger and stronger in this riding.”
By Barry CoulterDaily Townsmen