Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Greens in the 2008 Victoria Civic Elections

In 2005 the Greens in Greater Victoria had two interesting breakthroughs in the local elections. Jane Sterk topped the polls in Esquimalt and Sonya Chandler managed to get elected in Victoria. I believe that big reason Sonya managed to get elected is because she had Green Party on the ballot behind her name.

So what will be happening in 2008? Here is some of what I have heard.

Greens will be on the ballot in Victoria again and Sonya Chandler and Phillipe Lucas will be running as candidates for the Greens - the party might run more than that, but the moment that is it.

Esquimalt will have one Green running for council, though I do not know if the party name will be on the ballot.

I believe we will see Steve Hurdle run as a Green in Langford. I believe that he would benefit dramatically if he had the party label on the ballot.

In Saanich I hear the Greens are looking but have not yet found candidates to run there. I give Steve Burtch and crew a lot of credit for making sure they vet their potential candidates and not just run whatever warm body they can find.

I have not heard anything about any of the other muncipalities, though there could be Greens running for School District 61. Frankly, if the Green label is the ballot, I do not think it would a stretch to think the Greens could win a number seats. It is also possible for the Greens to take control of the School Board if they ran five or more candidates. I can see many of you out there thinking the man has decided to smoke something, but nope. Greater Victoria School Board elections are so low key that no one I know of has any idea who any of the candidates are and simply do not vote or only vote for the one name they many have heard of. Green on that ballot could mean a sweep - who would not be tempted to vote for some Greens to round out there nine votes given that the local civic Greens are only running strong candidates?

I like seeing that the Greens in Greater Victoria are cooperating across municipal boundaries and taking a holistic view of the region. We are one city divided into multiple small governments - our local politicians should be working region wide and not just for that random selection of the city they are elected in.

Voter turn out in our region is low in Victoria and Saanich. I firmly believe that this has to do with the fact that most people do not know who the candidates are and have no way on election day to figure out who they would like to support. This can be fixed by having party labels on the ballot. The Greens showed how well this worked in 2005 when Sonya Chandler got elected and Phillipe Lucas just missed. I really would like to see them do the same in Saanich.

I would like to see a region wide NDP friendly group emerge (could the Saanich Civic League be the start of this?) and I would like to see a region wide civic party emerge that is first and foremost in favour of amalgamation - this one I would get very involved with.
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