WHERE DOES THE GREEN PARTY GO?
WHERE DOES THE GREEN PARTY GO?
I write this post as someone who managed a local Green party campaign and therefore I'm going to share my thoughts on what the Green Party could have done better and what it must do if it wants to have relevance in electoral politics.
First, when I was brought into planning meetings with Green strategists including the Leader and Deputy Leader, I suggested that Ms Sterk needed to run a provincial campaign and that meant being out in districts where the Green Party was going to do better than its lower-range and average-range riding's. I wanted her on a BC tour travelling the province speaking to voters in their communities. My feeling was this strategy would give a boost to the overall campaign and put into contention a handful of possible riding's that we could win.
The Leader Dr Jane Sterk decided to concentrate on her riding which she believed was necessary in order to win her own seat.
The results show that Dr Sterk would have probably received the same vote she obtained with volunteers running her ground campaign. If she travelled around to some key riding's where candidates have personal appeal, this would have bolstered these riding's opportunities and her own riding of Esquimalt-Rayal Roads.
There were a number of riding's which fared well for the Greens and if there had been in place riding associations and resources available to them, I suspect those riding's would have received in the low-to-high 20's and low 30's percent. They include Victoria-Beacon Hill, West Vancouver, Penticton and Vernon, Van-Mt Pleasant and Dr Sterk's own riding of Esquimalt-Royal Roads. These riding's captured in the range of 14-23% and a Leader's presence during a campaign raises the profile of the riding.
If the Green Party hopes to have a breakthrough in 2013 the party will need to start its work now. Those candidates in the stronger riding's need to play a significant role in strengthening the party and they need to build healthy constituency associations and initiate fundraising to build up war chests to fight the next election.
As a political strategist I would recommend that Dr Jane Sterk stay on as leader because she has amazing leadership skills, however, she needs to appoint those 5 candidates who received the higher votes as deputy leaders which I also think will give the Green party strong regional representation. Hopefully these candidates will stay on as they all obviously had strong personal appeal in the riding's they ran in.
The time is also ripe for people in the Green Party if they do not have the ability to build constituency associations to allow others to take on these leadership and fundraising goals. I think there are a number of riding's which can do way better than they did.
Electoral reform is dead. The only way to elect Greens now is to demonstrate we can win seats and be a small opposition party of the Province.
This task though will be more difficult since we slid in the polls but the party received over 100,000 votes and this demonstrates that the voters still see the Green Party as a viable organization. We must reward these voters by winning seats otherwise they will start voting strategically for other parties
It is up to us now to show that we can win a handful of seats in 2013 and that work must start immediately.
I would also recommend that a fund be started now for possible by-elections which surely will come about and with the proper candidate and a good ground campaign, we have the potential to win our first seat.
The Green Party AGM on May 22 will be the first test on whether we move forward as a party or continue to back slide.
Jamie Lee Hamilton