After a few tumultuous years following the 2021 federal election, the Green Party of Canada is ready to get to work for the people of the North Island-Powell River riding.
“I think the fact that we’re still here,” said candidate Jessica Wegg about the party’s resiliency. “we went through a really hard time and we made it out to the other side. We’re still here and there’s still amazing people at every level of the Green Party who are who are standing up for our values and standing up for what we believe in. That foundation hasn’t changed the whole way through.”
Wegg was in Campbell River for the North Island-Powell River Green Party AGM, where party leader Elizabeth May announced Wegg’s candidacy for the next federal election.
“She’s a great candidate and she’s a lawyer, a human rights advocate really strong on Indigenous issues and she’s also a mom and really rooted in community so I couldn’t be (more) pleased,” May said. “This is the first in-person AGM announcing a candidate since COVID. I’m so so thrilled that we get to campaign whenever the next election comes.”
After not seeing the electoral result it was hoping for in 2021, the federal Green Party went through a process of reconnecting with its membership. May was re-elected as co-leader in November alongside Jonathan Pedneault.
“We’re entering a phase where we’re moving to co-leadership as a model which is very different,” May said. “It already feels very different to me because although my title is leader, my deputy leader Jonathan Pedneault is really fully sharing the workload and it really works for us. I think it’ll make a big difference for the Green Party right across Canada.”
Wegg is hoping that the reinvigorated party, combined with the idea that green politics goes beyond the current polarizing left versus right modality, and rather focuses on moving forward for the people attracts more voters to the party.
“Green isn’t left. It’s not right. It’s just how can we move forward,” she said. “You see the polarization that’s happening and you want to fight back against it and you want to stay part of a community and just work with people who might have different ideas than you. We don’t have a choice but to work together, so Green is the way to go.”
May said that their philosophy is to not focus on certain issues, but to try to address a number of what she called “poly-crises” holistically.
“Our number one characteristic of differences that we face the facts,” May added. “We don’t try to pretend them away. We don’t pretend we’ve already solved them and give ourselves some kind of back sprain patting ourselves on the back for things that haven’t been done yet. confronting multiple crises requires thinking of solutions that help all of them at the same time… Looking at any one issue you’ll find it’s that it impacts into the other areas you’re worried about.”
Both Wegg and May acknowledged that there is a lot of work to go, but said that focusing on the real people who live and work in communities is the best way forward, whether that is for housing, mental health, the environment, jobs, industry or the opioid crisis.
“The only people who are really really benefiting from the extraction that we’re doing right now at the levels that we’re doing right now are very very wealthy people at the top,” Wegg said. “There are so many opportunities available to us and stay involved in politics. And and I want this to be a chance for all of us to work together.”