I have had the pleasure on many occasions now to get to visit with the only Green Member of Canadian Parliament, but our get-together this past Friday was by far the most amazing.
As Co-Chair for the Young Greens of Canada, it is my duty to engage youth across the country. While this is something that I usually only get to do online (travel in this giant massive country of ours is not very affordable for youth), when it comes to youth in the Lower Mainland or the Fraser Valley, I am always down for a little road trip to work with my fellow young politicians.
Being a young person myself, it seems clear to me that the only party that really speaks to youth in a meaningful way is the Green Party- I used to suspect that the federal Liberals might come in at a close second, but after the Minister for Youth (aka our PM) went back on some major promises, the Greens seem to be all I have left.
I had hoped, perhaps, that our busy, busy federal leader might be able to pur some time aside for the recently activated SFU Greens for a Skype call, but when Elizabeth heard about our little group, she blasted right through that notion and declared that she would come out personally for a visit! It was only the second SFU Greens meeting of 2017, and already we got the most prominent Green in the country to come and talk with us!
The students, needless to say, were THRILLED- and I was too!
In our talk, our leader mentioned (with hopes that this wouldn’t discourage us) that her focus has not been on growing the party, that while she is leader of the organization, her goals were more centered on Parliament and her constituents of Saanich Gulf Islands. Personally, however, I can’t think of a more inspirational method of growing the party! The person who is perhaps the most partisan member of our party is truly living and breathing the Green way, something that I would call “leading by example.” While perhaps not directly focused on attracting new members, this is exactly the direction I want to take as a Green and as a politician: doing right by our people, even if the battle is entirely uphill. It might take longer than we hope for others to join this noble movement, but eventually, when folks are truly sick and tired of waiting for the traditional politicans to do the right thing, they will notice that we have been doing it right all along. I suspect when that time comes, people will come out in droves to join us.
As an individual, I am so, so, SO motivated by the direct involvement Elizabeth has had in inspiring me to be the best Green I can be. Not just that she will always take a moment for a selfie (though that’s always fun), but doing what she can to help me in my campaign to turn this city of mine into the greenest place it can be. It’s not just her time and her passion that she has dedicated to me and my fellow Young Greens, she has even put her own, hard-earned money into my campaign as well! This is not just some glorified politican making a financial contribution, this is Parliament’s best AND hardest-working MP putting funds directly where they can be put to good use.
My hope now is that I can continue paying this goodwill forward! If elected MLA, I will do everything I can to continue motivating other youth to participate in their community, whether that’s politically or not. I will share the wealth that is lent to Legislature and put it right back where it belongs: in our constituency, to inspire and activate as many people as possible.
We can do this, if we all work together. All you have to do is BE THE CHANGE.