FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2022 GPC leadership campaign:
“We are at a crossroads”
British Columbia activist seeks a dramatic change in leadership approach one that fosters relationships built upon equality, understanding, responsibility and empathy.
July 11, 2022
VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Don Elzer has launched an exploratory effort to become the leader of the Green Party of Canada. This is Elzer's second run at the GPC leadership, he is a long-time environmental activist from British Columbia who has had a history of work within rural planning in Canada and over the past number of years has been playing a lead role in innovative climate change and conservation solutions as well as advocating the “rights of nature”. He’s seeking the party leadership to address a long list of issues in the country which he suggests requires “tangible systematic change.” The following represents the first in a series of public statements.
In this leadership campaign there are two conversations required, one directed to the GPC administration and insiders who most influence the internal party dynamics; second, the membership and to all Canadians who are eager to support the voices which have been historically forward thinking in every community across the country.
At the end we are all in this together. This country continues to be at a crossroads and what the pandemic has exposed is that we are divided because of poor leadership that lacks the political fortitude to solve the big problems that lay ahead.
Our governments have treated a part of our population very badly, simply because those citizens held steadfast views about body autonomy which differed from the majority. We witnessed the implementation of a domestic passport system and lockdowns – and yet our leaders continue to be so surprised that there is discontent – and they continue to ridicule and bully these citizens.
Before the pandemic half of Canadians did not turn out to vote and out of the ones that did, less than half elected the government.
Canadians don’t trust the system because they have witnessed firsthand that governments are distant and indifferent to their needs. This pandemic and its aftermath have fuelled this public distrust and the governments’ intolerance of such grassroots concerns have exposed not only a lack of empathy but showed us all just how embedded corporate self-interest is as elites influence the Canadian decision-making process.
All of this has caused Canadians to become politically depressed. We seem to be abandoning our ideals of freedom and understanding and instead we are embroiling ourselves in conflicts where we are always hating someone or something. It’s logging protesters, then anti-vaxxers, then truckers, then Russians and so on. This meanness is being delivered to us from the top down as a diversion away from our better nature. It is this act of diversion that should concern us all – because what it suggests is that hidden in the background are very big problems and our political leadership is without a plan to tackle them.
Our governments and our leaders are seeking to seed reconciliation but yet they are demonstrating divisions that are indicative of colonialism. The damage being done may last for generations – which is why we need to reverse this trend now.
We need a dramatic change in leadership approach one that fosters relationships built upon equality, understanding, responsibility and empathy.
Within our campaign we have 12 key points that we would like to discuss with GPC members and Canadians. One of them is “Creative Freedom” which as a foundation is the safe and secure means by which each of us can dream, imagine and act. To be free to empower oneself including the holding of beliefs which can include choice.
Creative Freedom is at the core for building an engaged and responsible society. Such personal freedoms are required so that we may create a genuine and caring society and this becomes the building block for our civil liberties. Yes of course there are risks, but to alleviate those risks we are required to be better storytellers and communicators. To rely on legislation alone to support the moral views held by some but not held by others means that divisions will become apparent and over time they will grow.
And this is what we have today, divisions; some Canadians becoming enemies of other Canadians. So what our campaign is saying, let's turn down the temperature and let’s get back to basics – lets encourage debate but be tolerant of each other – let's be neighbours who depend on each other.
Be a family again.
The present Green Party of Canada (GPC) continues to struggle with trust issues. Leadership application requirements continue to represent a barrier to entry. At present like in 2020, the Green Party of Canada is following in the footsteps of Canada’s other major parties by creating a rite of passage through a hierarchal system governed by insiders. Our campaign believes this diminishes what we need in leadership during these times of serious environmental, social and economic transitions.
We want to bring to the political conversation in Canada the growing separation between the rural and urban segments of our country. 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.
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. As a Green I would like to think that in our 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 our 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 must engage in tangible solutions that will help people and the environment to transition into the future while healing the past.
In the coming days we invite you to explore our platform that seeks to engage all Canadians with practical problem solving supported by thoughtful stewardship.
For more information Don Elzer can be reached at: 250.547.2001
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.
His website is: www.donelzer.com