OTTAWA—It’s almost game time for the Green leadership race.
A week after the party opened nominations for potential candidates, the Star confirmed that at least eight Greens were considering a race. These include two provincial leaders, a retired professor who wants Canada to have five national holidays every time a season changes, and two potential candidates who want to switch parties so it has two “co-leaders” instead of one.
The stakes are high for a political organization still trying to recover from the infighting that characterized the one-year term of its elected former leader, Annamie Paul.
Here’s a first look, in alphabetical order, at the Greens who say they could enter the leadership race that ends on November 19:
Sarah Gabrielle Baron
A resident of Manitoulin Island, Ontario. who has been a member of the Greens since she was 17, Baron told the Star she was considering running for the job. An avowed campaigner against nuclear power, Baron said she wanted the party to “go back to its roots” by championing environmental causes.
She also said the party needed to get better at resolving internal disputes, quoting a colleague who likes to say “the climate crisis is bigger than anyone’s ego”.
The three-time Greens candidate in the Quebec riding of Beauport—Limoilou has been signaling her intention to run for leadership since last fall, when she took to social media to castigate Paul — then leader of the party — as a “shame”.
In later videos declaring her intention to run last October, Elhak said in French that she wanted the Green Party to stand up for Quebec values and ensure that Canada has a better international image and protects the environment.
Hunter is the leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan. According to her website, she operates a family farm and teaches fitness classes for seniors. She told the Star that she might jump into the race, depending on who else is running.
“I reserve the right to throw my hat in the ring if we see that’s where I can best serve,” Hunter said, saying she thinks the party needs candidates with a leadership history. .
Jutt is a political strategist in Alberta who has worked with parties across the political spectrum, from Conservatives to New Democrats and Greens. Having supported Paul as an adviser during the last federal campaign, Jutt says the party needs to get better at addressing important issues and linking them to classic Green environmental concerns.
“Every month in this country we have a huge event happening, and we as a party haven’t done a good job of weighing in on those events,” he said.
Keenan, a former Green candidate in Prince Edward Island, told The Star via email that she was “flattered” that people were nominating her as a possible leadership candidate. Without excluding herself, she said that “people first started suggesting that I should run on election night last year.”
Keenan also said she supports changing the party so that it has a “co-leadership model” instead of a single leader, an aspiration she shares with Chad Walcott, another potential candidate from Quebec. They both want the party to be better organized and eventually win more seats, she added.
The leader of the Quebec Greens is considering running for federal office. As an “eco-socialist”, Tyrrell says he wants to bring the Greens to the left and establish them as a “outspoken voice against war”. For example, he said the Greens should strongly criticize the government’s planned increase in military spending and argue that Canada is trying to broker peace instead of its current position on war in Europe, which is to send weapons and money to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion. .
He also said he “would like to clean up a lot of the toxic infighting” within the party.
Along with Keenan, Walcott isn’t ruling out running for leadership. In an email to the Star, Walcott said that, like Keenan, he wanted the Greens to adopt a “co-leadership model”.
The former Quebec Green candidate also said he and Keenan want to “empower our members” and give more resources to local riding associations and support younger members.
Shodja Eddin Ziaian
Ziaian admits some of his ideas “could seem very bizarre”, but he told The Star he wanted to run for the Greens to help spur a change in mindset that will “save the planet”. For the 78-year-old economist who taught at York University, that means pushing Canada to a four-day work week, instituting five statutory holidays at each change of season to highlight the importance of nature, and starting to use a national happiness index instead of productivity measures as economic indicators.
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