Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Year End Reflections

December 28, 2006

Year End Reflections

This last year has been one of the best years of my life. When my wife and I decided to contact the Green Party to ask what separates them from the other parties I had no idea what lay in store for me. I find myself reflecting on the significant events in my life relating to my efforts with the Green Party. Follow the links for background on each subject.


Having signed up to be the Green Party candidate in the Crowfoot riding in southern Alberta, I found myself participating in the federal election in this capacity. I enjoyed the candidate's forums and debates, the television & newspaper interviews, the dozens of daily emails, the door-to-door & phone canvassing and everything else that comes with candidacy. The previous candidate in this riding worked hard and was very well spoken, but wasn't active between elections, so I wondered how we'd do. The 'strategic voting' frenzy - fear based voting as opposed to hope based voting - of the last election (vote X to keep Y from being elected, or vote Y to keep X from being elected) had an impact on the results. Since this was my first kick at the can and we had just formed a new electoral district association the entire campaign was run by myself with some help from a few family members. In the end we achieved the new national average of 4.5% in this riding and I realized that I had been bitten by the political bug. I wasn't going to be walking away from the Green Party.


As I learned about the Green Parties around the world I shared this and other information here on my blog. When Ralph Klein (thankfully now replaced by Ed Stelmach... we'll see how he does) took a shot at Canada's internationally respected system of health care I wrote a letter to the editor. This was the beginning of my efforts outside of election time to campaign for the Greens. We'll see how the op/ed's and other efforts pay off next election.


By May I had made up my mind to run for the position of Alberta Provincial Representative on Federal Council. I also intended to go to the GPC convention & general meeting in August and was raising funds to cover the expenses. How I went from curious about the Green Party, to candidate in a federal election, to candidate for provincial rep I'll never know. It all just seemed to happen without me forcing my will on the situation. For that reason, among others, this has been a very enjoyable – yet sometimes stressful – journey.

The newly elected Conservative minority government released it's spring budget and the Green Party had something to say about this, as did I. It's speculated by some that the next spring budget will be when the current government will fall, and our next election will take place. While most Canadians are tired of elections, many are less than pleased with the current governments track record, and when the options are weighed an election is favored over the thought of another year with the current government in place.


Internal elections were well underway and I was hard at work campaigning. A survey was circulated and many candidates for the GPC internal elections answered the questions. I gave a lot of thought to my answers. George Read, Leader of the Alberta Greens, endorsed me for the position of AB Rep on Federal Council. This was all very exciting!

With all of my experience writing op/ed's for the local weeklies I tried my hand at writing a national media release. After a number of redrafts it was released and I think this played a role in the outcome. This was a very good experience for me. As a member of the Arts, Culture & Heritage Issue Caucus I hope to participate in media releases on those subjects in the near future.

I traveled to Ottawa for the Convention & General Meeting at the end of August. What an amazing time! I was elected to the position of provincial representative and rejoiced in the election of Elizabeth May. I had a tough time deciding who to vote for as our new leader, but eventually it became clear to me who I preferred.


Suddenly I was very, very busy. I was finding my footing with the federal council, organizing our EDA in Crowfoot and living my life with my family. I continued my research on subjects important to me. This included the link between my personal faith and my endeavours as an environmentally conscious person. Environmental stewardship in the context of Christianity was the focus of a lengthy post I made here, and this has inspired me to prepare a power point presentation on this subject for my church. It's not finished yet, but I look forward to sharing this important and often overlooked aspect of my faith one day.

The subject of the oilsands in Alberta finally became major national news (along with the environment) and I wrote a lengthy article as a letter to the oilsands consultations committee. I wondered as I researched this subject more and more, if I'd eventually be comforted or grow worried about the situation. I'm more than worried. I'm spitting mad about the circus that is the Alberta oilsands destruction.

In October the Green Party released it's Green Plan Squared. This was in anticipation of the Conservatives Green Plan 'Two', which was discovered to be... no plan at all! It was in fact a clean air bill that didn't set mandatory targets for decades, and lacked any substantial plan for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This flop has plagued the Conservative government ever since.

Our EDA held it's annual general meeting, elected a new executive, adopted a new constitution, and set in motion the nominations contest for candidacy in the Crowfoot riding. A few weeks later I was elected to be our next candidate. This time they're in for a real challenge! Although the odds are stacked against us here in rural Alberta, more and more people are waking up to the fact that the Green Party appeals to all voters across the political spectrum. Running out here is a great opportunity to discuss with thousands of people the issues that concern us all and the solutions that the Green Party offers. What do ya know - I'm on the soapbox already! ;-)

A week later I was off to Ottawa again for the Federal Council inperson meeting. This was very important for us to be able to get to know each other and do some very important work. It's unknown when we'll have another inperson meeting (although we've had a number of teleconference meetings) since this is a major cost and traveling consumes energy and increases emissions. We Greens do walk the talk!


Elizabeth May ran in the London North Center by-election and nearly won! She beat both the Conservative and the NDP candidates and proved that the Green Party is a real contender in Canadian politics.

This brings me to the present, and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about the next year. Even now after a year of direct involvement I consider myself a newcomer to politics. Something that I found to be very appealing about the Greens is their six key values, and I've tried to practice these in my daily life. Volunteering with the Green Party has been a very spiritually rewarding experience.

I hope you enjoyed my year in review and know that I look forward to kicking some political @$$ in the new year!

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