B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver came bearing a pledge of accountability and stability if the party gains another seat in the upcoming Nanaimo byelection when he visited the city this week.
Weaver joined Green candidate Michele Ney on a door-to-door campaign in north Nanaimo in an effort to drum up support for Ney and the party on Thursday.
“It’s a three-way race and I think you’ll find the Liberals implode about seven days from now,” Weaver said.
Ney is one of six candidates competing in the Nanaimo byelection, which will take place on Jan. 30.
Weaver described Ney as an exceptional candidate with a long history in the community and someone who shares the Green Party value of considering the long-term consequences of her decisions, not just re-election. He also said the byelection is highly important to the B.C. Greens.
“We believe this is one that people will recognize the B.C. Greens not only can win, but will win, if they show up to vote,” Weaver said. “Why I say that is because right now we know the B.C. Liberals want very hard to win this to create instability in the legislature. Instability in, by essence, forcing another … provincial election a few months from now. That is the Liberal goal.”
A vote for Sheila Malcolmson, Weaver said, is a vote for NDP opportunism, which has created instability federally and provincially through Krog and Malcolmson leaving their positions and forcing byelections.
“You’ll get stability with Sheila, if she were elected, but the other thing is accountability … you have a Liberal elected, you’ll have accountability. They’ll hold government to account, but with a Green, not only do you get stability because we’re not going to make government fall,” he said. “We’ve been very clear our job is to ensure that things work, but we’ll also get accountability.”
The Green Party, he said, have been instrumental in tempering far left NDP policies and have also ensured the NDP government acted on climate change, adopted Green fine tuning of the speculation tax and acting on environmental issues.
Weaver also said Green Party members are free to speak their opinions, are not restricted to a controlled party message and Ney would be a hard-working local voice.
“Somebody who’s actually going to be free to say what she wants to say,” Weaver said. “She’s not going to be given speaking notes from a 20-something-year-old from the back room and told to speak or not to speak to the media. She is own her person. She is the representative. She speaks on behalf of the constituents and that’s why we’re quite different from the other two parties.”
Is there a danger of the Green Party being a mechanism for vote spitting that could create an opening for the B.C. Liberals? Ney said people in the community are looking for change and noted that in the last provincial election the NDP held ground, the Liberals lost ground, but the Greens gained enough ground to hold the balance of power in the legislature.
“We need to do it now and I care about our community,” Ney said. “I care about the people. I’ve served here for 30-something years and you can feel the energy. We need the change now. I’m talking to people. They feel angry. They feel frustrated and I feel that for them and that’s why I’m doing this.”
Weaver said it’s the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP that are splitting the Green vote.
“Both the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Liberals are splitting our vote because we know that we can deliver somebody who will ensure that they will get the best possible elected representative while at the same time ensuring accountability and stability,” he said. “That is accountability which you will get in an opposition MLA and stability because the government will remain, but at the same time she’ll have influence as one of the four Green MLAs holding the balance of responsibility in the B.C. legislature. The B.C. NDP have to listen to us and they do and that gives her direct influence. She will have more influence in government than Sheila because Sheila will be another NDP backbench-er twiddling her thumbs.”