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Greens hope to make gains in West End
The Green Party of Manitoba is hoping to make major gains this election by running a slew of reputable candidates and targeting two key West End ridings that most closely line up with their beliefs.
"One of our biggest challenges is letting people know we could win. There’s always a perception Greens can’t actually win," said party leader James Beddome.
Beddome is running in his home riding of Wolseley, where the Greens have traditionally done well, capturing 19% and 12% of the riding’s vote in the 2003 and 2007 elections, respectively.
Beddome said that’s not surprising considering how the party’s beliefs align with the environmental and social consciousness that exists in Wolseley.
"Wolseley is a great example of what we need. It’s dense, really mixed-use," Beddome said. "It’s very easy for people to walk, they believe in sustainable transportation, local food production. The community gets what needs to be done."
Building on a platform that highlights the environment and avoids hyper-partisan attack ads, Beddome said his party wants to examine the broader implications of projects like Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III transmission line, and introducing free public transit in the city.
"We’re not a left wing or a right wing party, that’s a common misunderstanding," he said. "We understand we’re reliant on this planet and trends cannot continue. We look deep and try to get into the research to find innovative solutions."
Beddome is also banking on a candidate roster rife with community leaders in their respective ridings, like pioneer organic farmer Betty Kehler in rural Lakeside, and long-time inner-city poverty activist Harold Dyck in Minto.
"I’m really impressed by the quality of candidates. If you see Greens elected, you’ll see several elected at once," Beddome said.
Dyck believes his key to victory is reconnecting with people in his riding who have detached themselves from the political process.
"I believe far too many in the inner city, especially those in poverty, have given up on the political process," Dyck said. "No matter how they vote, they pretty much get the same agenda. Poverty just seems to increase.
"I’ve spent my whole life working for those concerns and believe I can be that kid of voice in the legislature."
However, sitting with only 3% of provincial support, the party would do well to follow the footsteps of its federal counterpart, according to University of Winnipeg politics professor Christopher Adams.
"What the federal Green Party did was put all of their eggs in one basket in Elizabeth May and pushed for a one constituency beachhead in B.C.," said Adams, who is also the author of Politics in Manitoba.
"For the provincial Green Party, that would be there way of getting out of the fringe."
Until then, the Green Party will continue having difficulties building an well-oiled election machinery that can deftly keep track of a young membership base and recruit new members, Adams said.
However, as a social movement, the Greens do have the chance of shaping the political agenda by bringing environmental issues back into discussion, he added.
"If I were a member or supporter (of the Greens) and I started seeing McFadyen and Selinger talking about need to clean up our freshwater lakes, that’s fine, I’m not elected, but I’m having an influence on the major parties."
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(1 of 16 articles for this week)05/15/2013 1:00 AM 0
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