BRIDGEWATER - Nova Scotia's Green party leader expects his candidates to contend but won't say if he thinks he'll be premier-elect after ballots are counted June 13.
The provincial Greens only formed seven weeks ago and already have 40 candidates ready to run. The immediate goal is to build the organization, party leader Nick Wright said, and then elect candidates and form a government.
"It's not a question of if, but a matter of when," he said during his Nova Scotia-wide blitz with outgoing federal Green party leader Jim Harris, in their attempt to raise the party's profile.
Mr. Harris believes it's the "backwards policies" of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on environmental issues such as Kyoto that's helping recruit more people to the Green party.
Had Canada had a proportional representation instead of a first-past-the-post electoral system, the Greens would have official party status in the House of Commons.
Provincially, in British Columbia, the Greens had 12 second-place finishes in their last election. On the international stage, the Greens are a force to be reckoned with.
Mr. Harris is calling on democratic reform.
"The Green party has elected people around the world to national assemblies in 30 countries and we've formed government in seven nations," Mr. Harris said.
"It just so happens that we have an 18th-century electoral system when pretty much every other western democracy has a 21st-century electoral system."
Nova Scotia Green party leader Nick Wright, left, and outgoing federal leader Jim Harris stopped in Bridgewater during a multi-day media blitz across the province. Keith Corcoran photo
Mr. Wright feels Nova Scotians can look to the Greens as an alternative to the "old style" political parties and platforms that have been part of Bluenose lore for generations.
"The other parties look to the short term, to the next election, to the next fiscal quarter," he said. "The only party that looks to the long term is the Green party."
Voters need to be made aware of the party and its candidates, Mr. Wright added.
"The Green party is here to stay. It is a worldwide movement and I think we can expect to see big things for Nova Scotia in the years to come and in this election as well."
There are three Green party candidates running in Lunenburg County.
Brendan MacNeil, who lives in Wolfville, Kings County, is seeking the seat in Lunenburg West.
North Shore Canadian Art owner Stuart Simpson is running in Lunenburg.
The candidate in Chester-St. Margarets is Joanne MacKinnon.
"They're a great group of people," Mr. Wright noted. "They're just everyday people. They're not professional politicians. They're people who care about what's going on and want to make a difference."
Mr. Harris doesn't see the need to pass a whole lot of leadership advice on to Mr. Wright. He sees good things ahead for his provincial colleagues.
"What I see is a group of deeply committed people who are organizing and having incredible results in a very short period of time."
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