Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: April 2006

April 28, 2006

Greens Around The World

When I first found out that there are Green Parties worldwide I was surprised, and a little concerned. Someone once mentioned to me that they thought any kind of worldwide organization needs to be watched carefully. I agreed, although I wondered; was it reasonable to think that being part of a worldwide movement, the Green Party - working for environmental concerns and social justice – could actually be a dangerous force? I wondered if there was a sound reason for this concern, so I decided to look into it further. What I found was that the Greens are actually standing up to the truly concerning international organizations such as the WTO (World Trade Organization), the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and the World Bank. More than that, the Green Party is increasing it's impact through international cooperation, while at the same time focusing on specific issues locally at the grassroots level.

Read on to learn about Green Party history and efforts worldwide.

Green parties and their achievements worldwide


Over the last 23 years, Green parties have participated in governing 15 European countries, including Finland, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium. There have been 44 cabinet-level Green government ministers across Europe during this time.

  • In 1995, Finland became the first Western European country to have the Green party serve in government. With seven years in government, the party remains the longest serving Green party in government.

  • Starting in 1996, Italy's Green Party participated in government for six years. Currently, the Green Party has nine senators.

  • In 2002, the German Greens took 55 parliamentary seats, taking office in a coalition government with the Social Democrats. Hans-Christian Ströbele was elected to the Bundestag as a district representative for the Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain constituency in Berlin – the first-ever Green to achieve this in Germany.

  • This coalition government ruled for three years, and the Green Party was instrumental in pushing to shut down nuclear energy reactors. The German Green Party's Jürgen Trittin, who was the country's environment minister, oversaw Germany's huge investments in renewable energy sources, primarily wind power. As Foreign minister, Joschka Fisher pushed for and insisted on Germany's disapproval of the war against Iraq.

  • German Green legislation enshrined the protection of gay and lesbian couples. Greens have also given continued support to a bill for an Anti-Discrimination Law in the Bundestag and to Agenda 2010, a major reform of the German social security systems that was planned by former chancellor Schröder.

  • Belgian Greens began governing in a three-way coalition with Socialists and Liberals in 1999 for five years. Currently, five ministers, four deputies and two senators are Green Party members, including the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Mobility Isabelle Durant, and State Secretary for Energy and Sustainable Development Olivier Deleuze. As in Germany, the party has played a key role in the phase-out of nuclear energy.

  • In 2004, Latvian Green Party co-chair Indulis Emsis served as Prime Minister of the country. The current Minister of Environment, Raimonds Vejonis, is a member of the Latvian Green Party.

  • In Austria, the Green Party has elected representatives in almost all regional parliaments as well as in the European Parliament, and in national and city councils.

  • In Spain, the Green Party on Barcelona's municipal council enacted the Barcelona Solar Thermal Ordinance, a far-reaching solar-thermal policy that has increased the city's use of renewable energy. By 2010, Barcelona aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from 1999 levels. The policy has since been adopted by Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Burgos, and Pamplona.

  • In the United Kingdom, the Green Party has 63 Principal Authority Councillors and two members of the Greater London Assembly. The Greens represent the fourth largest political group in the European Parliament.

  • As well, Greens are in power-sharing governments in Castle Morpeth, Kirklees, Leeds and Lancaster. Furthermore, there are Green MPs in Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland, on the House of Lords, London Assembly Members, and Green councillors in towns, parishes, counties, and boroughs across Britain, including Brighton and Hackney in London and Green councillors in Oxford.

  • Switzerland has 15 Green Party members in parliament.

European Union

  • The Green-European Free Alliance has 42 seats in the European Parliament. Green MEPs called for and achieved a resolution calling for the ban of radioactive warheads and cluster bombs.

  • The International Criminal Court was founded on a model developed by the Green-European Free Alliance.

  • Green Party MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas is an outspoken critic of the Common Agricultural Policy, and has campaigned for an organic, local and safe agricultural system. She has proposed ways of reducing the impact and buying power of large supermarket chains, and has lobbied the UK government to use EU money to help farmers promote local food initiatives.

  • Green MEPs have campaigned for a binding legal framework for corporate social responsibility; Green MEP Jean Lambert has pushed for EU legislation extending full-time employment rights to temporary staff.

  • Thanks in large part to the efforts of Green MEPs, there is a substantial push for cuts in aircraft noise and for the airlines to pay for damaging the environment.

  • Green MEPs have also pushed for bans on the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic substances in the production of cosmetics.

  • EU Greens have lobbied for proper and precise food and consumer products' labeling, and are behind numerous air quality, water and nutrition initiatives. They introduced the "polluter pays" principle and succeeded in improving laws on issues such as animal welfare and GMOs.

  • German Green minister Renate Künast lobbied the WTO for the right to sufficient and safe food and the access to global markets for a fair global economy.

New Zealand

  • There are currently six Green Party members in the New Zealand Parliament, who effectively hold the balance of power in a weak Labour Party government. Thanks to the Greens, the country New Zealand is officially a nuclear free country, and is free of genetic engineering.

  • The Green Party developed and helped pass the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, New Zealand's first-ever piece of legislation designed specifically to address climate change.

  • The New Zealand Green Party has led the way on issues of peak oil production and of contingency plans to cope with eventual oil shortages, higher prices and international turmoil.

  • The party has been instrumental in the establishment of an Independent Prison Inspectorate, as well as launching a jointly developed first national walking and cycling strategy.

  • It has called for complementary health practitioners to be integrated into the health system, and in the 2002-03 budget negotiated $3.2 million towards cleaning up and recording highly contaminated sites.


  • The Australian Green Party started in 1992. Today, it has five senators, 15 state legislators, and 80 members of local government.

  • In Melbourne, Green city councilors have enacted Nuclear-Free Melbourne, making the city nuclear-free. They've adopted and promoted The Earth Charter, and pushed for equal justice for refugees. They further developed a 20 Year Water Management Plan, as well as a blueprint for a 30 percent increase in green power.


  • The Mexican Green Party has four federal deputies and five senators.

United States

  • 213 Greens in 27 states and the District of Columbia hold elected office as of November 2005. This includes city councillors, mayors, boards of supervisors, school boards, constables, commissioners and others. Some of their achievements include the pioneering Living Wage ordinance in Santa Monica, California.


  • 15 members of the Green Party of BC were elected in B.C. in 2005, on November 19, 2005 including Sonya Chandler of Victoria, Lisa Barrett of Bowen Island, Garmen Gustafson of Golden, Janice Harris of North Vancouver District, Jane Sterk of Esquimalt, Peter Waterman of Summerland City, and Lee Ann Johnson of Gibsons.

Other countries

  • Today, the Mongolian Greens have 3,000 members nationwide, and has six seats on the municipal and provincial level.

  • Brazilian Greens now have 54 mayors and seven MPs.

  • In Japan there are 19 Green city councilors.

Health Care - The Real Third Choice

The Real Third Choice

By Cameron Wigmore

Public or private health care, or... what else? While Ralph Klein is promoting his 'Third Way' health care plan, many of us are asking if the government can't do better.

The Alberta provincial government recently released details on the "third way" for our health care system. The ten policy directions described at the provincial government's website are heavy on the political rhetoric, but a few caught my eye. One of the ten policy directions is, "establishing parameters for publicly funded health services". This would allow us to open up the discussion of reassessing what health services are covered by the public system, and that means it will then be possible to remove current health services from coverage. Another is, "creating long-term sustainability and flexible funding options". I have to ask myself if the government that's proposing a more privatized health care system is just trying to avoid paying the bill. This policy proposal is coming from a government that according to a recent article in the Globe & Mail is talking about a $10 billion surplus.

It's important for us to note that within this “system that's as healthy as the people it's designed to serve”, preventative measures are mentioned nowhere. How healthy does the government want Canadians to be? It seems to me that the government's idea of 'sustainable' is to contribute less and less for our health care, in short to gradually chip away at our health care system, so that they can pass this growing financial burden on to families and individuals. I see another definition of sustainable, one that includes a not-so-revolutionary concept: prevention.

We've all heard our parents tell us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I say we can make our country's health care system sustainable by promoting and supporting preventative health as a way to reduce the cost for all of us. For the most part, our health care system treats the symptoms and not the causes of our illnesses. It's said by some that the health care crisis is mainly a crisis in hospital funding and rising drug costs, but there is a bigger picture to be seen. The real answer is to go beyond a health care system to develop a fully-integrated health system, one that focuses on solving the underlying problems affecting our well-being, not just treating the symptoms. We can shift our way of life and build a sustainable public health system by fostering illness prevention through healthy and active living.

But healthy living is only a part of what will keep Canadians healthy. The other part is a healthy home. We need to start making the connection between a healthy environment and a healthy life. Canadians can no longer afford to be complacent in the face of mounting evidence that degradations in their environment are causing degradations of their health. It is widely accepted that asthma rates are linked to air pollution, meaning that the health system could save money if the government took real steps to curb things like vehicle and industrial emissions. Governments estimate that air pollution is responsible for thousands of premature deaths every year as well as causing higher asthma rates in children. In the last decade skin cancer has increased by 30 per cent. Pesticides that release powerful carcinogens and cause reproductive problems are still widely used and unregulated. Protection of the environment will translate into a greater balance in our health and will reduce pressure on our public health system.

According to the Romanow report our current system is sustainable, as we've seen in various European countries. We already have a degree of privatization; I have to pay the dentist for the candy I ate when I was younger straight out of my own pocket, and optometry is another health service that's not publicly funded. I'm not complaining about that, but I'd hate to have to make the choice between a hip-replacement operation next week costing thousands of dollars, and one in a few years that's paid for by the government. Our government insists that “if current spending trends continue, health care will consume Alberta's entire budget in 25 years.” If that's true, it will be because we've created more cancer, more childhood asthma, more autism, more unhealthy Canadians. It will mean that the private system won't work for us either. Either way, it certainly doesn't help Alberta's case. The fact that health care costs are increasing is an indicator that we're not only just an aging population, but that we're getting sicker and need more prevention and real health, not more privatization.

A sustainable health care system needs more than just increased tax dollars, or in the case of Klein's plan increased privatization. It needs support through health-conscious environmental policies, relief through practical promotion of healthy lifestyles (especially for children), nourishment through health-conscious regulation of the food industry, and coordination through a broader focus on health in all our social programs.

What I'm describing isn't costly, and it isn't even revolutionary. This is a real third choice; one that costs less, is sustainable, and allows for continued access to publicly funded health care services.

Cameron Wigmore

Green Party of Canada

Faith & Politics

I am a Christian. That said, I have no need for others to adopt my personal beliefs or values. I say this because it should be clear that I am working to serve my constituency and my party. I'm not here to tell people how they should or shouldn't live their lives. There is a clear line between my political duties and my spiritual duties. However, I choose to live by example using principles such as tolerance, patience & compassion, and therefore my spirituality is always a part of my political life. I've chosen to be a part of the Green Party which best represents my beliefs, and I'm open about where I stand on all issues. Since there can never be a political party that represents all of any one person's beliefs or values, I see it as wise for us to vote based on political issues, and live our daily lives according to our own personal values and beliefs.

I made the decision to become a Christian in 2005. I had been married for almost two years, and over that time I came to know my wife's family very well. My wife Jennifer and her family are Christians. Her parents worked as missionaries in Laos for many years. My father-in-law is currently a semi-retired chaplain at the Drumheller penitentiary, and my mother-in-law is retired, having also worked at the penitentiary as a psychologist. While I was raised with Christian values, never in my life have I known Christians as devoted and down to Earth as my wife's family. These are normal people, complete with the same set of trials and tests as anyone else. The way they deal with their struggles is an example of living by faith. I have known many Christians. Some are active in living by their faith in God, while others are not.

Some Christians use single issues to guide their vote. It's my belief that a lot of us experience this temptation, but I think single issues should not determine our choice. We can become so involved in a single issue that it affects all of our political involvement including voting. Your vote helps to elect one political party as our governing power for many years. They will determine the use of our taxes, resources and write laws. We can ask ourselves, “do I want to vote someone into power just because of one moral issue?” Looking at all issues and policies - what benefits everyone - is a good idea. We all have different priorities, but our voting choice needs to be based on a bigger view than just one issue.

Politicians from all walks of life need to work in harmony with their personal principles. A Christian could always vote for the sole reason that a politician is openly Christian, but is this the best way to vote for a political candidate? Look at how politicians explain the impact of their faith for the policies they propose. Explore the reasons behind a politician's support (or lack of support) for governmental involvement in the issues that concern you.

Jesuit priest and theologian John Courtney Murray said, "it is not the function of civil law to prescribe everything that is morally right and to forbid everything that is morally wrong." I find this argument interesting because in Canada the line between what is the responsibility of the government and what's not is often blurred. At the same time one might say that it's not the place of the church to dictate what we should or shouldn't do; what we as Canadians have a right to do under civil law. A former Canadian prime minister said, “the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” In the end, common sense should allow our government to make the right call on issues related to morality and values, but can we assume they possess the necessary common sense to make these decisions? And where do we as a country draw the line regarding government involvement in our own personal lives? These are some of the tough questions that need to be answered.

Preston Manning wrote "moral leadership in our society must of necessity involve bridging the current 'disconnect' between political leadership and people of faith." However, he has argued, not by treating the faith community as an interest group to be targeted and mobilized for political purposes. "Appealing for votes on the basis of religious faith is ultimately bad politics and bad public policy, conducive to creating permanent and divisive cleavages in society," says Manning. "More important, mobilizing votes on the basis of religious commitment can be particularly destructive to the religious community itself and its testimony to the rest of the public."

Janet Epp Buckingham, director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, concurs. "While believers should be involved in politics, the separation of Church and state is necessary, and even beneficial, to allow for perspective and criticism of public policies," she says.

Prior to the recent US election, Buckingham wrote "we have lately witnessed not only a lack of separation but positive co-operation of Church and politics. The alignment of the so-called 'Christian right' with the Republican Party in the U.S. was very negative for both. It focused attention on one brand of Christian ideology while at the same time moving the Republicans from the mainstream: when the Republicans lost, the Christian right demonized the Democrats." Today the damage is going the other way. With Republicans having done well, many now demonize America's religious right.

"In Canada, there is a long tradition of people of faith being involved in politics," says Buckingham. "But this is a very different thing from churches themselves being involved in politics … .The Church must be able to keep distance and perspective on public policy. It must be able to be critical of policies. Its job is to offer a better way. Of course, there are Christians in politics. This is as it should be, as there are many Christians in society. The Church should be supportive of these Christians, no matter which political party they represent … .Canadian Christians have voted in very similar proportions as the general population. There are Christian MPs in every political party. No one party can claim that it represents the interests or concerns of Christians in Canada. There is great danger in the Church or any part of it aligning with any one party."

Manning tells audiences the story of "the day the scribes and Pharisees tried to get Jesus into political trouble over the issue of taxes. 'Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?' They think they have Him. If He says Yes, He will lose the support of the ordinary people who despised Roman taxes. But if He says No, He will be guilty of treason. What does He do? First, He takes His time. He asks for a coin. Whose inscription is this? Caesar's. 'Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's but unto God the things that are God's.'"

Camerons speech - candidate's forum, '06 election

This was my speech from an all candidate's forum during 05-06 federal election. I wrote this with my wife. We had fun putting this together.

Hi. My name is Cameron Wigmore. I'm an ordinary guy with extraordinary goals. I want to tell you about why I'm running for the Green Party, and about our platform.

My wife and I have resided in Drumheller for over five years, and have a two year old son. Even with family support, a small business of our own, and two jobs, we still struggle to make ends meet. As a professional saxophonist I play in a local rhythm & blues band with farmers, teachers, and business professionals. I know first hand the difficulties we all face, and I'm confident that working together we can solve the problems that have been ignored and uncorrected by the old line parties.

I'm tenacious, aggressive but patient, dedicated, and I'm not afraid to stand up for what we believe in; what my voters, family and friends believe in.

In my life I live by principles that are very important to me. They include tolerance, open-mindedness, patience, and hope. I've found that if something doesn't fit with these principles, it's probably not worth doing.

I'm part of a generation that is disillusioned with the current state of politics. Many of us believe that our opinions are not being recognized or acted upon by the old-line parties in government, and this is the case not only for my generation but also for millions of Canadians, regardless of their age, race, religion, wealth or health. We realize that the old way of thinking no longer works. Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.”

Through our grassroots movement we are sharing our message of hope for our Country. Our platform and policies cover all issues, and more Canadians every day are hearing about the solutions that the Green Party offers. The Green Party's unique approach draws votes from across the political spectrum.

In the 2004 election we defied expectations by fielding a full slate of candidates, ensuring that every Canadian had an opportunity to cast a vote for fiscal responsibility, grassroots democracy and ecological sustainability. And a record number of Canadians, almost 600,000 joined with us in that vision.

The following is what the Green Party has to offer Canadians.

We are built on tried, tested and proven concepts. The old style paradigm of Right vs Left is irrelevant if we cant breathe the air or drink the water. Our platform pulls together the best ideas from all parties and creates a coherent strategy to address the needs of Canadians today.

We're fiscally conservative. We are prudent, and we are sound financial managers. We don't like to waste money. We want to address Canada's fiscal imbalance.

The Green Party is both idealistic and realistic; we know that to achieve our goals which include ecological sustainability, long-term well-being & democratic reform, we need to work with small & big businesses for a positive outcome.

We are socially responsible and inclusive. That means: health, not just health care. You can't have healthy people on a sick planet.

We have a strong vision for a sustainable society, one that respects all citizens and the natural environment that sustains us. We promote energy conservation, and the conservation of wildlife, habitats, and natural ecosystems.

We want to allow the farm family a fair share of the consumer dollar, in part through restructuring our agricultural markets.

I don't think the current government can tell the difference between a hunting rifle and a semi-automatic hand gun. The Green Party will eliminate registration fees for firearms designed for hunting, and decriminalize non-compliance with the registry. We'll upgrade penalties for those convicted of a crime involving a firearm, and strengthen measures to combat gun smuggling and the possession of banned weapons.

We are conservationists and trusted guardians of Canada’s natural wealth. Poor management of ecosystems has resulted in the loss of species and jobs. We can help strengthen our economy by conserving our ecology.

Education. It's not an expense – it's an investment. The Green Party recognizes the need to freeze and subsequently reduce tuition fees across the country.

The Green Party supports proportional representation, allowing the 600,000 Canadians who voted Green to have representation in parliament.

Preston Manning, David Suzuki, Mel Hurtig, Mark Tewksbury, Lloyd Axworthy & Farley Mowat are among the over 50,000 Canadians who've signed a petition expressing their dismay that the Green Party has not been included in the leaders debates.

A broadcast consortium of 5 unelected, unaccountable executives can't dictate to Canadians what our democracy will look like or sound like - any more than Canadians would be willing to have the 5 big banks run our elections.

The Green Party of Canada is running 4 times as many candidates as the Bloc, which is included in the debate.

The point is that everybody should have an opportunity to hear from a party that 600,000 Canadians already vote for.

I think Ghandi said it best; "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

I feel blessed to have this opportunity to represent your thoughts and concerns.

Thank you.