Election 2015: Waters: Green campaign in Kelowna-Lake Country fades to black

Local candidate refuses to run, riding association not replacing him and federal party staying out of the fray.

It’s official. If you’re a Green Party supporter living in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding, you don’t have a Green candidate to vote for in this federal election.

That’s because the man nominated to be the Green candidate, Gary Adams, has followed through with his vow not to run in the election despite having the party’s nomination and refusing use it.

Adams had said he would withdraw from the race if he won the nomination in order to support Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr and funnel Green votes to him in an bid to unseat incumbent Conservative Ron Cannan.

On Tuesday morning, Zena Ryder, CEO of the Kelowna-Lake Country Green Electoral District Association announced the association will not be running a candidate in the riding. And, she said, because Adams’ name will not be on the ballot, he is free to support any other candidate.

The Green Party had said its constitution does not allow a Green candidate to support another party’s candidate. But Dan Ryder, Zena’s husband and the man who came up with “co-operation” deal with the Liberals, argued, saying the contention Adams’ plan was “not in line” with the Green constitution did not mean it was not allowed.

The Green deal with Fuhr requires the Liberal, if elected, to consult regularly with the Green EDA in return for Adams not running.

“While Adams (name) will not appear on the ballot, the Kelowna federal Green Party executive will not be endorsing or supporting another political party or candidate in order to avoid creating any false impression that the Green Party endorses another party,” said Ryder in her news release.

“As there will be no Green Party candidate to campaign or vote for, Adams and other members are free to volunteer as individuals for any campaign or candidate they wish, in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding or others. This decision applies only in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding and is not applicable in any other riding, including adjacent ridings like Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.”

So, unless the federal party steps in and orders the Kelowna-Lake Country Green EDA to nominate a new candidate—something its says it won’t do—Green supporters will have to either vote for another party’s candidate or not vote at all.

The Greens pride themselves on being grassroots driven, and while he admitted yesterday there was some concern at the federal level about not having a candidate in the riding, party communications director Julian Morelli said the party was happy to see the issue settled by consensus ”at the grassroots level.”

But local Green Party members, supporters and those just wanting to vote Green because they agree with the party’s position on issues have been badly treated by Adams, the local EDA and the federal party.

It’s as close as you can get to taking away their vote, without actually taking it away.

And that, despite the rhetoric, is not a very grassroots way of doing things.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the CapitalNews.