Greens to run NWT candidateNo names confirmed but national office believes there are three potential contenders; previous two candidates say they've taken their names out of the race
Northern News Services
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
An official with the Green Party of Canada said the party expects to field a candidate in the NWT for the federal election this fall.
Eli Purchase, left, and Sam Gamble, the previous two candidates for the Green Party in the federal election both say they won't be running in the next one expected this fall. An official with the Green Party's national office says he expects there will be a candidate in the territory, but can't say exactly who is interested in running. - photo courtesy of Eli Purchase
"A candidate will be chosen within the next month," said spokesperson Julian Morelli. "(The Green Party does) have one in Nunavut and (it does) have one in the Yukon. The probability is (it) will have a candidate in the NWT. I think (it has) three potential candidates right now."
Morelli said he was unable to disclose the names of the potential Green candidates.
Yellowknife resident Eli Purchase ran for the Green Party in the NWT during the last federal election in 2011.
He finished fourth behind winner NDP MP Dennis Bevington, Conservative candidate Sandy Lee, who finished second, and Liberal Joe Handley, who finished third.
Bonnie Dawson, who ran under the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada, came in fifth.
Purchase, who received three per cent of the vote back in 2011, said he won't be throwing his hat into the ring this time around.
"I'm just not a point in my life where I would be able devote the amount of time and energy into a campaign that it deserves," Purchase said.
While candidates of the Green Party have lagged behind others, Purchase said even those candidates who don't win in the final tally can still have a role in the conversation.
"A Green Party candidate can make the other candidates address issues that wouldn't otherwise be addressed," Purchase said.
"When I ran, I was able to make high-speed Internet (access) a topic. It was not being addressed until I pushed it out there. Another focus for me was educating youth and trying to access the youth vote and getting youth involved in politics and I noticed once I was doing that the other candidates followed suit."
Although Purchase did not win the riding for the Greens, he was encouraged by party leader Elizabeth May's 2011 victory in winning the party's first ever seat in the House of Commons since the party was founded in 1983. Purchase actually garnered about 275 votes fewer than Sam Gamble did when he ran for the Green Party in the 2008 federal election. Gamble claimed 752 votes, or 5.49 per cent of the vote, the Green Party's best ever showing in the NWT. He too said he was too busy to run again this time around.
"I'm running a business now - I'm self-employed. It's a big investment of time, actually," Gamble said. "Last time, I helped Eli out and that was my contribution. It'll probably something similar this time around."
He said he hasn't heard anything about who is interested in running form the Greens this fall.
"Eli and I were talking about it, trying to think of who we could try to convince to run," Gamble said. "I don't know if I'm on that list of people the national office is going to approach to see if they want to run."
Gamble also wants voters in the NWT to realize that although it is an important part of its platform, the Green Party is not solely focused on the environment.
"They're essentially a progressive party - they have policies on everything, ideas on the justice system, economic policies, health-care policies," he said. "What the Green Party has done is (it has) collected best practices from around the world, different countries and come up with a whole package of stuff. It's not all environmental."