Thursday, January 22, 2004

Alberta Green Party Leader speaks

Because the Calgary Dollars NUTV video shoot wrapped up earlier than expected, I was able to pop by for the last half of George Read's discussion at the University of Calgary. George was elected leader of the provincial Green Party in Alberta back on November 1 at the party convention in Red Deer (which I attended).

George has been responsible for a transformation of the Green Party locally. It has become a party I can actually back which is something I had not expected given my experiences with the party in the early 90's. Back then, I became extremely (to put it mildly) frustrated with the immobility of the party. 'Consensus' was being used (not necessarily deliberately) to prevent any forward movement. Individual agendas seemed to dominate the party.

My work with the Green Party here back in the early 90's contributed greatly to my first serious "activist burnout", and left me with a very sour attitude toward the party.

Over the past couple years, George - who I've known for many years outside of politics and activism - has been gradually convincing me that the party is finally on track for making positive change in this province. I now see it as a vibrant, progressive and active political movement here. The party has become something I actually want to be (and now am) a part of.

The biggest problem I see for the Greens is getting people to recognize that the party is not just about the environment. Yes, the party holds the environment as the most critical issue (since if it is destroyed, we all die), but the party has a broad range of policies and plans for the spectrum of issues and areas that any group which seeks to govern must deal with. From the military to social services to electoral reform, and so on. There is also a strong recognition of the interconnectedness of most issues. Poverty, war, racism, etc., are environmental issues.

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