What a campaign!
When we began this campaign, I didn’t know where we would end up. I’ve lived here for a few years now, and I knew that we have strong local cultures and community champions that make this a fantastic place to live, but you’ve blown me away! I’ve met so many people over the last few months whose behind-the-scenes work for their communities has a massive impact that few of us actually see. There are gaps in our social systems, but volunteers and organizers and nonprofits fill them with sweat, tears, and a whole lot of love. I feel like this campaign has shown me the true face of our riding, and I’m so full of gratitude! I want to give special thanks to my campaign committee: Patricia, whose connections and organization held everything together; Minnie, who meticulously handled our campaign finances; and Gigi, whose experience and support guided our decisions. A huge thank you also to everyone who so generously donated money or time, hosted a lawn sign, engaged and shared on social media, and voted for me! We quite literally can’t do this without you, and you are the reason our party slogan in this election has been #PeoplePoweredChange!
You wonderful people are going to be needed more than ever, which is why I say that although the election is done, it isn’t over. We’re just beginning a four-year era of what is sure to be significant cuts to services and instability in federal-provincial relations. Gains that have been made over decades, such as clean energy infrastructure and protection of our farmland, wetlands, and watershed, are directly threatened; racialized and sexual minorities are concerned for their rights, and in some cases, their safety; and by all accounts we’re looking at adding enormous debt to provincial budgets, to name just a few looming problems under a Doug Ford government. Today is a hard day for a lot of people: if it is for you, take some time to process it; if it isn’t, take some time to consider the perspectives of those who are feeling anxious or depressed or angry today. Then commit yourself to being engaged in your community, caring for your neighbours, and filling any gaps that may open up under the rubric of “efficiencies.”
At the same time, there is much to be celebrated! Mike Schreiner was elected in Guelph, making history as the first elected Green in Ontario. His track record before being elected is truly impressive, and while he faces a huge challenge of being a lone Green in the opposition to a majority PC government, I know he will find a way to work with them for the good of Guelph and all of Ontario. And his election opens the door wider for more Greens in the next provincial election – and in the federal election next year.
Here in our riding, we’ve seen Green growth! We’re up around 500 votes over our 2014 performance, and given that this election is more polarized than the last – and therefore we can expect that strategic voting played a bigger role in the results – our growth is even bigger than the numbers show. Yesterday alone I received two messages from supporters who wanted to tell me that their hearts are Green even if their votes are not, and I’ve been getting those messages at events and on doorsteps and in my inbox all month. We have a growing base to build on.
It’s not over. Take a break, slow down a bit, but let’s not wait four years to start building on these gains. Once I get the official election data from Elections Ontario about polling results, we will have a debrief meeting to go over the results and do some preliminary planning for how we can do better next year. The 2019 federal election is 15 months or so away, and the Green Party of Canada is already preparing. You can help right now: a) make sure you have a membership (federal; provincial), which not only gives us a bit of funds to work with ($10/year), but also ensures that we can keep in touch better and invite you to the debrief meeting; b) send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling me about your biggest concerns, provincially or federally; and c) send an email to congratulate David Piccini (email@example.com) on his win last night and let him know that you’re ready to engage with him to make our riding better, and greener, and cc me on it. And if you have a sign, please take it down but contact me to arrange for pickup – we want to reuse them, and keep them out of landfills!
As for me, even while I am preparing for a federal election in the fall of 2019, I picked up nomination papers for a municipal run this fall. Over the past month I’ve been approached by people from my local Chamber of Commerce, Municipal Council, churches, etc., asking me (unprompted) to run for Council. It’s an opportunity to continue to engage on provincial issues with David and provide some accountability there, address local issues such as resiliency in our infrastructure and sustainability in our planning, and implement some of the goals of the GPO on a local level; it’s also another opportunity to campaign, canvass, and build on the growth of this election before the next federal election. I won’t be using this website or our Green Party NPS Facebook page for my municipal campaigning, which is non-partisan, but I want you to know that I won’t be idle over the next year. We all have ways that we can be active in serving others, and this one is mine.
When you voted Green you made a declaration, if only to yourself, that you were invested in a brighter future. Our new provincial government isn’t headed in that direction, but I want to encourage you: I can still see that future, and I haven’t given up on it. I’m going to do everything I can to get us there, and I hope you will too, regardless of what our government says or does. The goal of an election campaign is to win, but the goal of the election itself is to take steps forward into our vision for the future, and we don’t need to wait for another election to take a lot of those steps. I hope you will come out to plan our next steps together: make sure you’re a member, and then watch for our invitation sometime in the next few weeks!
Thanks again everyone, your boldness and vision is already having an impact!