Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Still Busy...

December 15, 2006

Still Busy...

So I thought I'd be able to take a break from my work with the Party, but unless I choose to leave some work undone, I must continue to devote at least two hours each day volunteering my efforts. So far I've been able to maintain a balance with my family and other interests, and with the holiday season beginning I'll have to work in some late nights to keep on top of things.

As the Alberta Provincial Representative on Federal Council I've been working with the Prairie Organizer to get the Party ready for a possible spring election. Over the next few weeks Mark and I will be continuing to strengthen the Southern Alberta Organizing Task Force and we hope to hold a training session near the end of January for candidates, EDA executives, and more. A change that will occur soon (and that will put more work on my desk) is that Mark MacGillivray will be ending his time as Prairie Organizer. He's done so much here in Alberta that I'm convinced we couldn't have done as well as we did in the last election without him. Mark signed me up a little over a year ago, and I'll forever be grateful for being introduced to the Green Party of Canada. I'm happy to say that Mark will be sticking around and helping out. Check out his website and forum at!

Federal Council has been working to create committees made up mostly of general members to help in organizing certain areas of the Party. This Party really is different; council asks members what they think will work, committees of mostly general members is suggested, motions are drafted with input from the membership, and viola! Council does what the membership suggests. So far so good!

Here in Crowfoot the EDA is still getting settled in with our new executive. As CEO I am doing my best to coordinate our efforts, and stand back when not needed to let our capable members do what they know needs to be done. We're having a lot of fun and we are ready for the next federal election. At the recent nominations contest I was elected to be our local Green Party candidate again. With my experience of already running, a larger team to work with, and a bit more funds at our disposal, I'm sure we'll continue to increase our support.

The news lately has been very interesting. Elizabeth May is getting a lot of news coverage. Today we announced our efforts to be included in the next televised leaders debates. Please go to Demand Democratic Debates for more info and to sign the petition to have the Green Party included.

One last thing - I was reminded this week to walk the talk regarding living spiritually. After a heated exchange in an online political forum I spent a day reflecting on my 'tone of text' (it's really difficult to get emotions across online without being misunderstood once in a while) and I went back to offer an apology. Using non-violent communication is a great way to interact with others. I reset my headspace, and this has been a valuable learning experience for me.


James said...

I'm very sorry to hear about Mark MacGillivray. He was a great asset and he will most definitely be missed. If someone can explain why he is no longer with us, I'd like to know.

On the question of volunteer organizers, I have to say that I do not agree with the new direction. I realize people may think this will be more effective (more people on the ground), but in my experience both with the Green Party and in the private sector, I have found that very few volunteer organizers can be counted on 100% to do the job they have been asked to do.

Why? Because they are volunteers and have other life tasks and job(s) that take precedence. Also, people have different work ethics. What one person may think is a job well done, another may consider to be incomplete, sloppy, or half-assed.

I hope I'll be proven wrong in the next election, but I have an eerie feeling that this shift will hurt us.... ie. attention to detail will be over looked and many things will fall through the cracks.

Too many chiefs and not enough workers, which the new set up is advocating (my interpretation of what I have heard), always leads to problems.

In addition, every EDA already has an Organizing Chair responsible for all organizing in that riding. Obviously, we don't have EDAs in every riding, but in the one's where we do, there will be overlap and potential confusion and conflict.

In the last two elections our organization team has managed to run 308 candidates nationally... one in every riding. I expect that to happen again and for every future election for the remainder of the Green Party's existence. I will consider anything less to be a failure.

For Grassroots politics to be successful, I believe there needs to be a formal infrastructure setting expectations, guidelines and requirements in place, in order to ensure that things are being done properly, appropriately and according to the standards that the Party requires to be successful. These standards should apply to both our organizing and communication efforts. They do not need to be draconian in nature, as many have suggested they were under the leadership of Jim Harris, but they do need to exist in order to ensure the Party and its leader are not embarrassed publicly, at a very inopportune time…like during the leadership debates for instance.

Can you imagine, after having finally been allowed to participate in the leadership debates, Elizabeth May being blind sided by something a renegade member of the Green Party has done or said. Credibility in the eyes of the electorate can be a very fragile thing and you can be sure that our competition will be looking for any and every opportunity to discredit us in the next election.

I haven't seen anything from Council or the Party that indicates a plan or a set of standards exists or is even being considered (if I am wrong, please let me know). Without it, I see this new approach as being serious flawed... more wishful thinking than anything else.

Cameron W said...

Thanks for the comment James. It deserves a full reply and I will offer you one shortly.

Cameron W said...

The Party has switched from a working model (where councilors did the work and there was little staff) to a governance model (where staff were hired and councilors directed them) to a current governance/volunteer/working model, where there's less staff, more involvement by councilors, and mainly a focus on getting interested members involved in volunteering with the Party. It isn't easily defined right now because the new council is still finding it's footing under the new constitution.

So before Mark will be leaving us (in late Jan I think) we've made sure to implement a local organizing structure based on EDA volunteers. Mark has put a lot of work into helping to get this up and running and I think it will work very well. I, as AB prov rep, will have a lot on my plate in regards to organizing in Alberta, which is why I don't really think of this as a full governance or volunteer model. I'm a volunteer too, and as a federal council member it's a lot of work, so being hands on in this area seems to me to be more of a working model. Ultimately what it's called is not as important as just helping out and getting the work done that needs to be done. ;-)

You may not be aware of the work Doug Anderson was doing with David Scrymgeour and others regarding EDA organizing. Federal Council has been giving this a lot of thought. At the same time here in Alberta we had a meeting of interested members, brainstormed our wants & needs, came up with possible structures for organizing, and ended up creating a local organizing body. The Southern Alberta Organizing Task Force (SAOTF) is made up of coordinators in different areas, and I think it will work very well for us. Mark was instrumental in it's creation and is currently helping to get the ball rolling.

Running a candidate in every riding is a priority, as is creating EDAs in as many ridings as possible. We (the volunteer EDA organizers) are developing a strategy to get candidates in every riding and EDAs in as many as possible. If I find that we're having trouble getting this done over the next couple of months I'll be sure to get extra help, but I have confidence that things will come together.

I hope that's a satisfactory reply. Let me know if you have any more comments or questions.