The Green Party NPS Riding Associations’ Annual General Meetings and Nomination Meeting were held last night (March 6 2019) at the Cobourg Community Centre. The meetings yielded a good turnout and positive results: both the GPO and GPC riding associations increased the size of their Executive with new volunteers, and Jeff Wheeldon was acclaimed as the Green Party of Canada nominee. Jeff will become the Candidate when the campaign period begins.
Patricia Sinnott and Minne deJong will be maintaining their positions as President and Chief Financial Officer of the GPO riding association. They will be joined by Secretary Rob Taylor and Membership Chair Andy Kirkpatrick.
The Green Party of Canada riding association saw a new CEO, Pascal Barabé, and new Financial Agent Tom Telford. They will be joined by Secretary Rob Taylor and Membership Chair Andy Kirkpatrick, who have both agreed to do double-duty, fulfilling the same position in both riding associations. Rob Taylor has also volunteered to take on the Communications Chair post.
There are more positions available, including Organizing Chair, Fundraising Chair, and numerous volunteer activities. Contact us for more information.
Jeff Wheeldon gave a short speech before his acclamation:
My name is Jeff Wheeldon, and I want to be your MP.
Not just because, though I believe strongly in the role of a public representative and would consider it an honour to represent the people of this riding;
I want to be your MP because there are problems that need to be solved. We’ve grown accustomed to hearing bad news, especially lately:
-climate change is potentially the biggest threat in human history;
-economic changes, driven by automation, artificial intelligence, and online retailing are predicted to cause an economic disruption 4x the size of the Industrial Revolution;
-demographic changes and population growth challenge our social safety net and ability to provide for our most vulnerable;
-technological changes and the internet are disrupting the way we relate to each other, and we’re becoming increasingly polarized in a society that is described as “post-truth”;
-and in the midst of all of these changes and the challenges they provide, our political institutions and economic models maintain the status quo.
I’m running for office because these problems aren’t being addressed. I like to run a positive campaign, and I’d rather talk about what we need to do rather than what other people are or aren’t doing, but I can’t pretend this isn’t part of my motivation. We’ve been let down by the establishment, status-quo parties:
-the Liberals pay lip service to important issues like electoral reform, climate change, and reconciliation, but they have too little follow-through and too many broken promises;
-the Conservatives have embraced far-right populism and abandoned traditional conservative values and policies, stoking outrage and pandering to racist groups while they offer plenty of criticism but no policy alternatives;
-and the NDP is in the midst of an identity crisis, struggling to mobilize its own party behind their leader or the Leap Manifesto.
None of these parties have a vision for the future. They aren’t planning ahead for the new economy that is transforming and eliminating our jobs every day; their emissions targets aren’t adequate to even meet our lukewarm international commitments, and they’re not even talking about mitigating the damage of climate change; and they plan their platforms based on market research about what is popular, rather than on the challenges we face.
I’m running with the Green Party because I want to do politics differently. I had the opportunity to run as a Liberal in 2015, and I turned it down: I know that as a Liberal MP I would have to put the party ahead of my constituents, or face the consequences. I’ve been invited to join conservative parties too, but they’re worse in this regard, requiring an oath of allegiance to the leader. Even the NDP punishes MPs who step out of line to put their constituents first: we’ve had two NDP MPs cross the floor to join us for this reason. But especially for the Liberals and Conservatives, it’s not just a matter of party discipline, but of the longstanding relationships these parties have with corporate interests. Inside these parties and inside the governments they form, there are too many opportunities for corruption: what good is it if I gain the whole world, but lose my soul? I joined the Green Party because we do politics differently, and this is evident in the way that our representatives conduct themselves. We take a candidate’s pledge to behave in ways that reflect the dignity of our office and our constituents, with high standards for transparency and accountability, and we always put our constituents and our country ahead of the party. It was Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner who led the way in banning corporate and union donations to political parties, and Elizabeth May was recently polling first as the federal leader seen as the most ethical in Canada. Her principled stand against the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Expansion pipeline project led to her being arrested for civil disobedience alongside protesters, clergy, and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart who is now mayor of Vancouver. These kinds of principled, ethical leaders remind us all what politics is supposed to be: people who represent and uphold the best in us, working together to build a better nation. Partisanship has no place in the Green Party, and a Green government would have an all-party Cabinet to ensure that all parties have a voice and an investment in solving the crises of climate, affordability, and employment that we face. These issues are too big to let partisanship get in the way of real solutions.
This will be my third campaign in two years. I am campaigning because there IS good news to be had. We have the knowledge, technology, and policies we need to solve these problems, and the means to implement them. What we lack is the awareness, the proper priorities, and the political will to do so. There is a gap between what needs to be done and what IS being done, and we can close that gap by engaging with our communities and rallying people behind solutions, no matter who ultimately implements them. There is no limit to what we can accomplish if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, and our campaigns are about building communities that are resilient and engaged so that we can do more together.
I was speaking with someone the other day and they mentioned how cynical they feel about politics – that after a while they just want to give up on the whole thing. I understand that feeling, but we have a choice in that moment: we can either give up, or we can step up and change it. I choose to run as a Green because I choose to be the change I want to see. We have all of the ingredients for good news, but if we want to see that good news we have to make that good news. We can’t rely on others to do it for us; our future is ours to make.
By choosing to make the future we want, we will also make history! Across the country and at every level, the Green Party is surging. Even here in Northumberland – Peterborough South we’re getting unprecedented numbers of volunteers, from all party backgrounds and none, saying that this is the year that they’re going to step up and make a difference. Are you willing to do what it takes to make the future you want? Do you want to be part of making history? Stand with us, hit the street with us, host us in your home or plan a community event – we can only do this together. And that’s fitting, because doing great things together is what politics is all about.
Jeff was acclaimed as the nominee after his speech. The meeting wrapped up just after 9pm.
John Draper of the Cobourg News Blog attended. His coverage can be found here.
The campaign team will be planning a volunteer meeting sometime in the coming month. Members will receive notice of the meeting via email; contact us here or on Facebook if you are not a member but want to volunteer!