James Beddome is back on the campaign trail for the second time this fall and has his sights set on a seat in the House of Commons.
The 36-year-old from South Osborne is running in Winnipeg South Centre as the Green Party of Canada candidate in the federal election.
His candidacy for the federal race was confirmed in late 2018, but an early provincial election call paused that campaign effort so Beddome, who leads the Green Party of Manitoba, and his team could focus their attention on the race in Fort Rouge.
Beddome was unsuccessful in wrestling the MLA seat from Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew and the party failed to win a seat for Greens in Manitoba, but they are carrying the campaign momentum into the federal effort.
"It did create a little bit of a distraction from the federal campaign, and I would have preferred to have it go differently, but there are some things that are outside of your control," Beddome said. "The only thing you can do is respond as best as you can and I think that’s just a test of political ability to a certain extent too.
"We elect our politicians to respond to things as they change, and that’s part of the idea of representative democracy," he said.
Beddome, a lawyer and part owner at Beddome and Longclaws Law Corporation, said dissatisfaction with representation at the federal level prompted him to run for office.
In particular, Beddome is critical of the Liberal government’s choices on fossil fuel and pipeline development, and incumbent Liberal MP Jim Carr’s past comments while serving as Minister of Natural Resources.
In 2016 while speaking at an event in Edmonton, Alta., Carr said the government would consider using police or military intervention to ensure "people are kept safe," if anti-pipeline demonstrations were not peaceful. He later apologized for the comment.
"I was very furious with my representation by Mr. Carr," Beddome said. "He said things that you would have expected to hear out of (People’s Party of Canada leader) Maxime Bernier’s mouth, or maybe (Conservative Party of Canada leader) Andrew Scheer.
"The green energy economy offers much more jobs for people here in Winnipeg than promoting pipelines, moving heavy bitumen across the country."
Beddome said the Green Party of Canada is the only party that will meaningfully address climate change and that big changes in government are needed to get results on the file.
"We need to change the political ideology that we’ve been relying on for the past couple hundred years, and that’s part of a broader cultural change, that I think is happening," he said.
In Winnipeg South Centre, Beddome said climate change is top of mind with voters, and that a minority government with Greens holding the "balance of responsibility" is required to get movement on the issue.
Beddome said those who are skeptical of the Green Party’s plan to move off of fossil fuels, suspend pipeline development, and institute new social programs, including universal pharmacare, and get to a balanced budget in five years, can check out the party’s costed platform and see the numbers for themselves.
"We’re honest about where the revenue is going to come from which is much more than most parties offer," he said. "We do have big ideas but we’ve also costed them out.
"That’s what led me to the Greens. I was sick of these mediocre parties that just tinker but nothing gets done… we need big, bold, transformative change."
Also running in Winnipeg South Centre is Jim Carr (Liberal), Joyce Bateman (Conservative), Elizabeth Shearer (NDP), Jane MacDiarmid (PPC), and Linda Marynuk (CHP).
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.