Ken Melamed — Green Party candidate for the West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country riding — heard an interesting rebuttal to the narrative that a vote for the Greens is a wasted vote.
"Someone said, 'I'm spending my vote on the Greens,'" the former mayor of Whistler recalled. "This is an investment in the future."
While the party has no illusions of overthrowing the Harper Conservatives in the upcoming federal election, there is hope that the Greens can gain considerable ground.
"The Green Party isn't going to upset the apple cart. We're hoping to gain official party status," Melamed said.
To do that, the Greens would have to increase their seat total from two to 12.
"That would be a major breakthrough," Melamed said.
"What the Green Party is saying is we have a strong base of support here in British Columbia, let's elect a strong group, a strong team of Greens from B.C., to represent the Canadian values and values of British Columbians in Ottawa."
While Melamed understands there is a desire among some Canadians to bump Harper from office — which may require some "strategic voting" — electing more Green MPs will provide a local benefit without affecting that goal, Melamed said.
"It's safe to say that electing a Green MP in this riding is a positive thing for Canada and not going to contribute to a Harper majority," he said.
Of the four main political parties in Canada, three are essentially offering more of the same, Melamed said.
"Not only is it something that Canadians have grown weary and distrustful and disenfranchised about, it's getting worse," he said.
"What we're seeing is an increasing attack on democracy, increasingly autocratic party structure where the leaders have ultimate say and control over the MPs and or candidates during election time, and that is something that distinguishes the Green Party from the others."
At the official launch of his campaign on April 16, about 300 supporters helped Melamed raise close to $30,000.
Melamed said his campaign would be based off of the Green Party's three general platform planks — a smart economy, strong communities and true democracy.
"The Green Party, it's a broadly based party with a diverse set of interests. It's not about the environment," Melamed said.
"One of the downsides of the Green Party tag, people tend to want to pigeonhole the party and give it a one-word brand, if you will, or association, and that's typically to the environment."
But the Green Party is about more than that, Melamed said, taking the best aspects of all parties.
"We are very fiscally responsible, but also we care deeply about social justice issues and the environment, so it's really right across the spectrum of issues," he said.
And Melamed has already earned an important portfolio in the Green campaign, being named finance critic by leader Elizabeth May.
"Rather than being stuck back in the 20th Century economy, Canada can do very well by investing in the new economy," Melamed said.
"The Green Party sees a different future moving away from the investments in the mega projects, to a focus on small and local business (and) more focus on higher job creation industries like renewable industries."
The Green Party's policy document — Vision Green — can be found online at www.greenparty.ca/en/vision-green.
The federal election is currently slated for October 19, 2015.
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