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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:50 pm

From her blog on the Green party website:

Why Central Nova?

It is the question of the moment. Everywhere I go, on web sites and blogs, I stand accused of doing something: (pick one)

1. stupid
2. egomaniacal
3. deluded
4. courageous, but still stupid, or
5. selfish.

This is all because I decided to run in Central Nova. True, this criticism is most severe the farther one is from Nova Scotia and the least aware one is of life in Central Nova.

I find it somewhat amusing. On October 22, I decided to run in the London North Centre By-election. There was no media commentary of what a dreadful thing it was to do. That was because no one thought the Greens were elect-able, so my choice merited no press notice outside an excited London media that could see the election had just gotten a whole lot more interesting.. But, nearly every Green Party senior member and strategist begged me to recant… to explain that “after close consultation with key advisors, I have now realized that my duty lies elsewhere than London North Centre…blah, blah, blah.”

I was warned by very senior Green strategists to NEVER suggest I could win. That the best we could do would be to break 10% of the vote. People who knew the politics of London were the most adamant. David Suzuki told me he thought I was “crazy” to run in LNC. (He grew up there) No one in London would vote Green. So, we know what happened. In London North Centre, we proved we are elect-able, nearly taking the seat with a second place 26% finish….And now we have to win a seat.

So why not go back to London? It was very tempting as I have so many dear and wonderful friends there, have a fabulous, dedicated team and love the community. But when I did run in the by-election, I relied on parliamentary tradition. I was a newly elected leader of a federal political party without a seat. I was not a “parachute candidate” dropping in for a safe seat. I was accepted. I might have been so again, but the authenticity of the reason would have been a bit thread-bare.

So here, for your entertainment, is the (a la David Letterman) TOP TEN list of why I am running in Central Nova:

10. Nova Scotia, and Atlantic Canada in general, are increasingly forgotten and un-represented. It is time to have a national leader of a political party in the House of Commons working for the people of Atlantic Canada. The most recent Harper budget is just one indication of the forgotten status of Atlantic Canada. We used to have post offices, passenger rail service, local schools (not monstrous P3 operations), and on and on. Jobs are disappearing, and the labour pressure and Harper message is “get up and go to Alberta.” I want to bring the boys home -- from Alberta!

9. Nova Scotia has been my home since 1973. No matter how long I work in Ottawa, I am home in Nova Scotia nearly a quarter of every year, (some years more) working, not vacationing, from there. My dad is 82 (and does not travel) and I would not get to see much of him at all if my riding were anywhere but Nova Scotia. I am very close to my brother and sister-in-law too and they do not travel at all. I would never see them either. And my daughter would not see her grandfather and family and home while I was being a good MP somewhere else. I have to run prepared to be the best MP my riding has ever had. That means being there every possible moment. So where would family end up?? Squished into a once a year visit? I was not prepared to give up my family in Nova Scotia for politics (so, maybe “selfish” is true.)

8. I want my national message to match my local campaign. I may get skewered for stating the obvious, but here it comes again: The Harper Government is the single biggest obstacle to Canadian action on climate change, to an independent judiciary, to justice for aboriginal peoples, to protecting our health care system from for-profit intrusions, to an independent foreign policy, to women’s rights, to universal child care, etc, etc. By choosing to run against a member of Mr. Harper’s Cabinet, I can promote the Green Vision of Canada and draw the clear and sharp contrast with the perilous path of the current Minority government.

7. I have some over-whelming practical considerations as leader. I will have to spend at least half of the campaign period out of my riding, traveling Canada on the leader’s tour and the other half of my time in my riding. If the riding contest is “ho-hum” (as in me running against a Liberal or NDP opposition member), no national media will bother covering it…. (in a word “BORING!”). So to keep the media spotlight on Green Party issues, I need a high profile, fascinating, epic contest.

6. I need to prove that the Green Party is NOT a one issue party. By running in Central Nova I will be taking on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, raising the clarity of vision of our international policies versus the “aye, aye, Sir” approach of Mr. Harper.. The Green Party is the only global party with Greens in 70 countries around the world. We need to raise the profile of our foreign policy message for a more peaceful world.

5. Peter MacKay and I have a nice time together. He has a good sense of humour. We should have an interesting time on the campaign trail.

4. That said, Peter has shown some really serious errors in judgment. He should not have broken his word to David Orchard (the pact that sealed his victory, going down in history as the last-ever leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada) and turning it over to Alliance and Stephen Harper. The Progressive Conservative Party was cannibalized by the Alliance Party. The loss of the adjective “progressive” was more than grammatical. The heart was torn out of Canadian politics. The loss of the traditional, principled Progressive Conservative counter-weight to the ethically flexible Liberals has cost this country dearly.

3. The Green Party economic policies for local sustainable development, promoting community values and supporting small business and shared enterprise is best reflected in the Antigonish Movement. I have been invoking the theories of Father Moses Coady ever since my run for leadership of the Greens nearly a year ago. I love the idea of re-awakening the triple notions of adult education (as Father Coady urged for people to work together to sort out their shared problems and work to cooperative solutions), and of economic models of cooperatives and credit unions. Running from the home base of the Antigonish Movement makes sense.

2. I can win in Central Nova. (Sure, it is up-hill, but please tell me where there is a safe seat for the Green Party of Canada?) Peter MacKay did not have a wide margin of victory in 2006. Nearly 60% of the electorate voted for other the candidates. The most popular contender, a very fine woman named Alexis MacDonald, ran for the NDP. She works in Toronto with the Stephen Lewis Foundation and (I already knew) was not going to run again. After ten years with Peter MacKay as their MP, Pictou County, Antigonish County and Guysborough are all suffering higher unemployment, lower levels of investment, reduced services – whether health care, or libraries, or education – etc etc! I do not think it will be easy, but I do intend to win. People may say it will be a David and Goliath type of struggle. I think they forget how that one ended!

1. And my number one (slightly tongue in cheek reason) Drum roll please: How could I live anywhere without a Frenchy’s? (for anyone outside of the Maritimes, find someone to explain that one to you.) .

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