FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GPC leadership campaign:
“We are at a crossroads”
British Columbia activist seeks to make Canada’s growing rural urban divide part of the GPC leadership conversation
February 24, 2020
VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Don Elzer has launched an exploratory effort to become the leader of the Green Party of Canada. Elzer is a long-time environmental activist from British Columbia who has had a history of work within rural planning in Canada. He’s seeking the party leadership in order to address a long list of issues in the country which he suggests require “tangible systematic change.” The following represents the first in a series of public statements.
The present Green Party of Canada (GPC) Leadership application requirements represent a barrier to entry and I feel that this can only be addressed by running an exploratory campaign in order to gauge whether there is enough support to officially enter the race.
However, our search is not for the money required to enter the competition, but for whether the heart and soul of the GPC itself has the interest and then the courage to lead rather than follow.
At present, the Green Party of Canada is following in the footsteps of Canada’s other major parties by creating a rite of passage that links its leadership with fundraising skills. I believe this diminishes what we need in a leader during these times of serious environmental and economic transition.
A $50,000 entry fee might mean a $1000 contribution from 50 people, which might not seem like a lot if your initial support base is in Toronto, Vancouver or Montréal. If you are living in rural or remote Canada, or a historically depressed area, or perhaps within a village that has just lost its major employer, this amount would prove to be a barrier to entry.
I also want to call into question the role of leadership within our political institutions. When did it become acceptable to turn the leader of the GPC (or any other political party, for that matter) into its chief fundraiser?
When running a campaign, financial and human resources are very important, but they should never take priority over the power to imagine the future, or create and deliver policy, or negotiate for the greater good of the country, its people, and the land itself. Good leadership inspires and through that inspiration people come forward who have all sorts of skills – fundraising being one of them.
If we continue to emphasize that our political leaders are required to wine and dine donors and other powerbrokers, then we can expect that political policies will shift to benefit those people – whether they represent a corporation donating $100,000 or a demographic which delivers one hundred $1000 donations. This leadership contest should have nothing to do with political fundraising; it should be about imagining a better future for Canada. And this is one of the key reasons I am attempting to enter this race. I want to bring to the political conversation in Canada the growing separation between the rural and urban segments of our country.
We are at a crossroads. We can either continue to expand the influence of our cities over the national agenda, or we can begin to recognize that people living throughout the vast Canadian landscape are important and equal partners within confederation.
This is my Canada and your Canada. Each of us has our own unique idea of what this country is, or is not, and this difference should be treasured as a primary part of our diversity.
Canada was first imagined as a nation of villages. In my Canada, we would not be governed through a system of autocracies. We would not be defined by those who have entitled themselves to lead us. In my Canada, we would be governed by the true fabric of places and people, woven together by neighborhoods and villages. We would be defined by those who find comfort in weaving together a nation of dreamers who devote themselves towards building a better future for everyone – and not just a few.
As the Green Party, we need to lead in the conversation that imagines rural and remote Canada as part of this nation. We have to engage in tangible solutions that will help people and the environment to transition into the future while healing the past.
We can no longer afford to engage in superficial platitudes presented by corporate bureaucracies and stale institutions which are no longer current with the challenges we face.
For more information Don Elzer can be reached at: 250.547.2001
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Elzer resides with his family in a rural area outside of Lumby, British Columbia which is in the federal constituency of North Okanagan-Shuswap. He was born in Vancouver and raised in North Burnaby, BC and has been actively involved in civic, provincial and federal politics both as an activist and journalist and has recently returned to the Green Party.
Don Elzer is the founder of the Wildcraft Forest and has been a long time environmental activist and a pioneer in “regenerative stewardship”. He is also recognized as being a leader in explaining how “sentience” is found in nature and that our greatest challenge is to capture meaningful methods of making “First Contact” with species and better ideas.
Don Elzer is a community economic development specialist and is best known for his investigative research and ongoing work with rural communities, habitat protection, permaculture and First Nations. With over 35 years of field experience working with small and medium sized enterprises and communities he has acquired key knowledge about current development and stewardship issues impacting our changing planet. As a tourism consultant he developed one of the first eco-tourism strategies in British Columbia, as well as the first creative sector development strategy in the Okanagan Valley. His role has been assessing, problem-solving and identifying emerging opportunities and leadership methods within such scenarios as industry closures, First Nations self-government, eroding community infrastructure and impacts due to climate change, so that a more creative and diverse economy and culture can be realized and sustained based on regenerative stewardship.