People always ask me why I chose the Green Party, and do I want to win. Every Green has heard these words before but there’s one thing that sets our Party aside from the rest, and that’s our passion and a strong sense of Justice. This is my story on why I am Green and proud!
I could jump right into the recent provincial election to tell you why I am a Green, but I think 2011 was my real first time believing in the Green vision. I’ll never forget the 2011 election. It was the first election when I had a decent amount of knowledge about the issues that Canada was facing and what each party was focusing on. I loved listening to which candidates everyone else was thinking about voting for, but I’ll never forget how confused I was when people kept saying that the Liberals or Conservatives were the only choices, occasionally hearing: “Well, the NDP could win this year”. And I’m sitting over here saying, what about the Green Party? Which was usually met with laughter or my being told that voting for them doesn’t matter; they will never win.
The last day of class before the election our teacher asked the class who we were going to vote for. Of course I said the Green Party (as the only one to say so); however this time rather than being told that if I was old enough to vote, my vote would have been wasted, I was asked why. My response was: “Their stance on climate change is better than the others’ and I want clean water and air”. The teacher then said, “Maybe one day they will get an MP elected, but not this year”. All that I could think to myself is that Elizabeth May was going to win and I knew it. For the first time, the Green Party won a seat.
Fast forward to the 2015 election, just like other Greens I was disappointed in the results yet hopeful that this election would be the last election under First-Past-the-Post. I’ll never forget that feeling of betrayal. It’s politicians breaking their promises that plays a huge part in why so many Canadians don’t engage in or care about politics. After Trudeau went back on his promise, I started playing around with the idea of running as Green candidate down the road.
I got involved in my first Green campaign last year and it only made me realize how much I loved this party. Hearing people’s stories, listing to local candidate at the debates, putting up signs and having an official role on the campaign as the Youth Representative gave me lots of experience in how the Green Party does politics differently. The passion from local candidate and the team around him made the campaign so much better. We had people canvassing every day, we had people at the office every day, Mike Schreiner and Elizabeth May came down for an event to support the campaign. It was things like this that made the party feel like a second family. I think the biggest thing I took away from the provincial election was the relationships I built with everyone.
The elections gave me new insight into how Greens run a campaign, but what made me support the party and feel that we actually did politics differently was the GPO and GPC conventions. If I had to describe the GPO convention in one word, it would be “energetic”. We were confident that we were going to elect Ontario’s first Green MPP, and people were happy. There wasn’t the usual politics – fighting between people like you see from the Status Quo in debates. No, the Green Party was different. There were different ideas and people from across the political spectrum under one party banner, supporting a common goal as we pass party policies. It’s moments like these that made me proud to be a Green.
So why am I Green? I’m a Green because I’m convinced that the Green Party has taken a strong stance on issues that will help Canadians, like a living wage, national seniors strategy, just to name a few. And they will never turn their backs on those promises if they are elected. It might be easier to join one of the Status Quo parties to win the election, but at what cost? I don’t have to sell my soul to be a Green, something that no other party can say.