Bill Green, a long-time member of the Green Party, will be running for the party in the Kootenay-Columbia riding in the upcoming election campaign.
“I’ve been a Green Party member for quite a few years and I believe in the Green Party vision,” said the 58-year-old from Kimberley, B.C. “I’ve thought about running in the past and waited and waited for the ideal time to run. I determined there is no such thing and that I needed to run now, do my best this time and see what happens.”
Green faces a formidable task if he hopes to win the riding – party membership sits in the double digits, he said, and last time out the party received only 10 per cent of the vote. He said his goal is to let people know that the party is about more than the environment.
“We have a comprehensive suite of well thought out policies across the spectrum of issues that the federal government needs to deal with – defense, foreign aid, carbon emissions, economic development strategy, issues related to low-income families,” he said. “A lot of people don’t understand that so that’s the main message I want to get out there.”
When asked about issues, he said said that the democratic system needed reform so it was more positive and collaborative and less negative and combative.
“I think it’s essential we move towards a more collaborative approach for our democratic functions so people begin to believe in our government and believe that government is a way to provide solutions to our more complex problems.”
He also cited youth education and employment as a key issue and said he hopes to attract more of the youth vote.
“We have a real challenge in this riding in particular, but also across Canada, supporting employment opportunities and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth and we’re going to continue to lose young people from this riding until we can reverse that situation,” he said. “I think there are lots of job opportunities in the green economy sector that we need to develop.”
Green also said climate change and carbon emission reductions would be a central part of the party’s work and vision.
“It’s been 17 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed and we’ve made no significant progress.”
Green, a father of four, has lived in the region since 1994, when he became the founding director of the Canadian Columbia River Inter-trible Fisheries Commission, which is focused on conserving and restoring aquatic eco-systems.
“I’ve been doing it for 16 years and it’s brought me all around the riding, because the riding is about the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers,” he said. “That’s where I spend a lot of my time – in the different communities and on the water around the constituency.”
Unfortunately for Green, he said he won’t be able to commit as much time to the campaign as he’d like because of previous work commitments. However, he intends on making as many all-candidate meetings as possible and is planning on spending the last ten days on a bike tour of the riding.
“Unfortunately it’s going to have to be weekends, evenings and as much passion and energy as I can do during that time.”
Green is the third candidate in the riding from Kimberley; Liberal Betty Aitchison and independent Brent Bush are also from the East Kootenay community. David Wilks is running for the Conservative Party and Mark Shmigelsky for the New Democratic Party.