If a group of Kelowna-Lake Country Green Party members have their way, Green party voters in the riding will be casting ballots for a Liberal in this October’s federal election.
The group is trying to have local Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr represent both the Liberals and the Greens through what is being called a co-nomination.
Faced with the likely hood that a Green Party candidate would not unseat incumbent Conservative MP Ron Cannan, the group, lead by UBC Okanagan philosophy professor and Green Party member Dan Ryder, want to have Fuhr—already nominated by the Liberals—to represent both parties through a “contractual endorsement.”
It would mandate Fuhr to represent the views of local Greens, as well as Liberals, in all but confidence, charter rights and platform promise votes in the House of Commons should he be elected in Kelowna-Lake Country.
The reason for the exceptions is that the Liberals have said they will be the only times the party ill require its MPs to vote a certain way. The Greens do not have what are called “whipped” votes for its members.
“This is a partnership but it is not being billed as an equal partnership,” said Ryder.
Currently there is just one Green MP, party leader Elizabeth May.
On Friday, Fuhr spoke as at a meeting of Green Party members and according to Ryder pledged to support a more “beefed up” position on environmental protections than his party has already advanced and to support the call for proportional representation for federal voting in Canada.
But while there has been a great deal of work done organizing the attempt at co-nomination prior to the July 16 nomination meeting for a Green Party candidate in the riding, Ryder said a requirement by his party has thrown a wrinkle into the plan.
Because a person running for a Green Party nomination must have been a party member for the previous six months, Fuhr cannot run directly as was originally envisioned.
So the group is running another candidate Gary Adams, who will make it clear to voters before the vote that if he wins he will step aside in favour of having Fuhr represent the Greens in the October federal vote while he runs as the Liberal candidate. The Green Party logo, however, would appear on his election materials, said Ryder.
On Tuesday, Ryder said Adams candidacy for the Green Party nomination in Kelowna-Lake Country had been approved, with the knowledge of what he plans to do.
Meanwhile, Fuhr said he is happy to represent the Greens as well as the Liberals, adding he feels the two parties share a lot of common ideas.
But he acknowledged that even with the support of Green voters, he will likely need to win over more votes from those who have voted Conservative or NDP in the past if he wants to unseat Cannan.
But he said he feels he can do it and said pointed to himself as an example of a disaffected Conservative. He said he had always voted Conservative prior to joining the Liberals and seeking that party’s nomination here.
According to a website that tracks voter support in Canada’s 338 federal ridings, threehundredeight.com, in Kelowna-Lake Country, the Conservatives currently command 41.8 per cent support, the Liberals 23 per cent, the NDP 20 per cent and the Greens 12.6 per cent.
Ryder said when the co-nomination idea first sprang up, the NDP and the Liberals were approached but the NDP was not interested. Recent national polls have shown growing support for the NDP across Canada.
Ryder said he was confident a co-nominated candidate could wrestle away what has traditionally been a Conservative/Reform riding from the Harper Conservatives and help to either defeat defeat the current Conservative government or at least reduce it to minority status.