Election 2015: National party won’t force Kelowna-Lake County Greens to find a new candidate

Hailing decision to let Gary Adams step down and support the Liberals and not replace him was a "grassroots" decision says Green official.

A spokesman for the federal Green Party says the national executive will not order the Kelowna-Lake Country Green riding association to nominate a new candidate now that the man who won the nomination has quit to support the Liberals.

Julian Morelli, director of communications for the Green Party of Canada said the decision to not seek a replacement for now-former Green candidate Gary Adams was made locally and will be allowed to stand.

He said while national party officials are concerned there will not be a Green candidate in the riding, they feel the decision was a “grassroots” one and because of that, will not step in. He said discussions about the decision were on going right up until Monday night when the riding association made the announcement.

“They  (members of the local riding association) came to a consensus and we respect their choice as a local grassroots decision,” he said.

On Monday night, the CEO of the Kelowna-Lake Country Green Party Electoral District Association, Zena Ryder, whose husband Dan came up the plan have Adams win the nomination, not run and support Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr instead as a way to try and defeat incumbent Conservative Rona Cannan, announced the her riding association will not run a candidate in this election.

And, she said, because Adams is no longer the party’s candidate, he is free to support and work for any one else who is running.

Ryder, in her statement, said while Adams is free to work for and support any candidate, the the riding association will not endorse any candidate in the election campaign.

Under the Green Party’s constitution, a Green candidate is not allowed to endorse any other party’s candidate.

On Wednesday, Adams, who has stayed out of he campaign since winning the Green nomination — with the exception of appearing at Fuhr’s campaign office opening — issued a public statement saying he was stepping down as the Green candidate and was pleased the party and the EDA were “respecting our members’  grassroots decision by not running (another) candidate and freeing local members to work on other campaigns.”

He called Fuhr a “superb” candidate with broad appeal and recommended Green voters here support him.

In a deal made earlier in the campaign, Fuhr agreed to consult regularly with the Kelowna-Lake Country Green EDA if elected in return for Adams not running and supporting him.

Adams said he was sorry Green Party supporters who want to mark their ballots for a Green candidate in the riding would not get that opportunity.

Prior to winning the nomination last month, Adams announced that if he won, he would not campaign but, instead, would support Fuhr.

In his statement Wednesday he said there are other ridings where Green Party candidates can win, especially in B.C., and the best way to “discard our dysfunctional first-past-the-post electoral system, protect the planet and save our democracy from the Harper Conservatives” was for them to be elected.