For the last four years, I have watched the Ontario provincial government make cuts to education, healthcare, the environment, and the list goes on. I have seen my neighbours, friends, family and even myself struggling with Ford’s cuts, just like so many other Ontarians. I have always believed that if you want the change you have in mind, do it yourself or support someone else with the same values. 

By the next provincial election, we will have had four years of inaction from a conservative majority government. Issues that Ontarians were told were going to get better have only gotten worse. Something has to change in 2022.

Since Ford was elected, I have worked with the Green Party of Ontario local executive in Kingston and the Islands in various roles to help build a Green presence in the riding so we can elect a Green MPP here and get the action we need. I know we can win here if we put the work in now, and that’s exactly what Kingston Greens are doing right now. 

With all of the work that Kingston Greens are doing right now, they will give the chosen candidate whoever that may be the best shot at winning here. In 2008 Eric Walton gained almost 11% of the popular vote; to put that in perspective, no Green was elected at that time and Elizabeth May just became the party leader. The Greens didn’t have much of a shot back then but they were able to get almost 11% which means that there are people willing to vote Green in Kingston and the Islands. 

The only way we can win in Kingston and the Islands is if we have a candidate that can encourage people to go out and vote. The hard truth is that Greens do not stand a chance at winning if we don’t get non-voters and the youth to vote. Kingston Greens have elected amazing candidates over the years but have only gotten over 10% of the vote once. We have had the best candidates at the debates but this is a new era of politics where debates, a few events and photo ops will win an election, especially when name recognition politicians are running. 

After much consideration and talking to friends and family I have decided that I will run for the nomination in Kingston and the Islands when the time comes. Of course, I can’t put my papers in until the nominations open and I can’t advertise my campaign until I put those papers in and get vetted. So, for now, I will be focusing on building a Green presence in Kingston and the Islands. I also will continue serving as the Vice President on the local executive until the nominations are open. 

We need a candidate that can energize non-voters and youth to go out and vote, something I have lots of experience in. During the last provincial election, I got 18 signs up in my area despite it being labelled as a non-voter area. I’ve lived there for 8 years and we hardly ever got politicians in our area. So I decided to canvass my area and I was able to get them to vote Green and take a sign. It turns out, if you listen to their issues they’ll go out and vote. My motto is to treat everyone like they are the winning vote because they are. 

Non-voters and youth don’t vote because they don’t want to or don’t care. It’s because after years of being told that they are going to get affordable housing, paid a living wage, and affordable medical prescriptions, once the election is done nothing gets done. People don’t have trust in our government and politicians; that’s why the Green Party needs a candidate that isn’t just about photo ops, saying the best zingers in the debates, and doing literature drops. 

We need a candidate that will speak to voters and listen to their issues. The old way of canvassing will not get people motivated to vote. Showing up at people’s doors and saying who they should vote for will not get people to the polls. We have to build trust and respect with voters. Politicians try to never disagree with voters while keeping their own agenda. Sometimes they try to keep the conversation on one policy to persuade people to vote for them. However, it doesn’t work when people think politicians are lying to them. We need a candidate that will come to people’s doors and the first thing they ask is, what’s your number one issue, and talk to them about what they would do to fix it. You may be thinking, what if a voter has a completely different opinion on issues that they brought up, let’s say the pipeline. Of course, as a Green, I would naturally not support building a pipeline. Rather than trying to convince them why a pipeline is bad, I would simply reply with, I disagree with you but I respect your opinion and I’m in no position to change your mind on that but I hope you can respect that I’ve been honest with you and I understand you probably aren’t going to vote for me, but I’m glad to have your insight on this important issue.

Taking that approach does three things: One, it breaks down the political, voting-centred conversation into neighbour talking with another neighbour about an important issue. Secondly, it takes the conversation to a state of respect, instead of me telling the voter why I’m right. Finally, it gives insight into issues from another perspective. It seems elected politicians seem to forget that they represent everyone on their riding including those that voted against them.

In 2018-2019 when I ran for the federal nomination I built a team of people that came from all over the political spectrum because the only way to get the best platform is to get different perspectives from across the political spectrum. This is something I will be doing again when I run for the provincial nomination; I’m already building a campaign team and you can be on it if you’re interested in working on my campaign as we build the Green membership up and encourage non-voters and youth to go out and vote!

I think it’s important for me to make this clear. I am not running yet, nor am I vetted or allowed to advertise that I am running. All that I am doing right now is saying I’m interested in running and asking if people would be interested in working on my campaign when I throw my papers in. 

For now, I will continue my role as the Vice President on the Kingston & the Islands Constituency Association for the Green Party of Ontario until nominations open. During this time I will help build the Green membership and a Green presence in Kingston and the Islands. I will drop that position once the nominations are open and I will throw my papers in. We can win here and there is so much excitement propelling the Greens, I can guarantee that we will have a contested nomination here; hopefully, we can have 5 or more people run for the Green Party nomination. The more people that run, the better for the party and democracy because there are more voices being heard. You can check my blog I made a few days ago encouraging people to run in the 2022 provincial nomination here.

If you are interested in working on the campaign (when the party opens up the nomination) or talking more about my future campaign then email me at zachtyphair@gmail.com

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