| Jun 15, 2006


Feature Article - June 15, 2006

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Feature Article - June 15, 2006

Jim Harris says farewell tothe Frontenac, Lennox andAddingtonGreens

by Jeff Green

It’s been four years since Jim Harris, a former business writer for the National Post, became the leader of the Green Party of Canada. At that time the Greens were well and truly a fringe party, and Harris set out the goal of achieving 2% of the national vote, which would qualify the Greens for $1.79 in federal funding for each vote they received. In the 2004 election, the Greens vaulted to 4.3% of the votes, establishing themselves as the fourth party in the Canadian political system.

While the party only increased its vote percentage by 0.2%, to 4.5% in the most recent election, the Green

Party organization has seen a steady increase since Harris took on the leadership.

“We have more people on our national council now than delegates who attended the convention where I was elected leader in 2002,” Harris said after delivering a speech to LFL&A party members at a fundraising dinner at the Maberly Hall last Saturday night.

Backstage_antics

Although Harris has enjoyed significant success, his leadership has come under scrutiny, and he narrowly kept the post at a biennial leadership contest in 2004.

On April 24th, Harris announced that he will not seek the leadership for a third time when the party meets in August. Thus far, two candidates, David Chernushenko, the current deputy leader, and Elizabeth May, the founder of the Sierra Club of Canada, have announced they will seek the leadership.

“The leadership convention will be broadcast on CPAC for 2 days, which will be more media coverage than the Green Party has received in its entire history,” an effusive Jim Harris told the gathering, “and I know the party will be well served by either David or Elizabeth who are both excellent people.”

He then predicted great things for the party.

“I believe we will be included in the leaders’ debates during the next election, and when the voters get to compare our message to the other messages, we will win a million votes, and we will win a seat,” Harris said.

He predicts that as the Canadian electorate faces the reality of global warming and the health effects of environmental devastation, they will turn to the Greens in great numbers.

“This riding is in the top 25th percentile of ridings in the country for the Green Party,” Harris said, (in LFL&A the Green Party received 5.3% of the vote in the latest election), “so the work that you people have done has made a difference.”

Harris also said that once the Greens achieve a few seats they will likely be called upon to support a minority government. “Look at the difference three independent MP’s made in the last parliament,” he said, “and when the Green Party is asked to prop up a party in power, we will be able to exact a price, and that price will be proportional representation,” he said.

The Green Party leadership convention will take place from August 24-27 in Ottawa .

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