Welcome back to the Members’ Insider, the monthly update on all things Green Party – and green – for GPC members to read and share as we work together to rebuild and grow in readiness for our comeback election in 2025. There’s lots to talk about and lots to do so please feel free to let us know what you think. Like it? Don’t like it? Got ideas to make it better? We’d love to hear from you at Members’ Insider.
On the road… reconnecting
Our indefatigable interim Leader Amita Kuttner has been living out of a suitcase for the past two months, visiting communities in southern Ontario and on Vancouver Island as they complete the first two legs of the national Reconnection Tour.
It’s called the Reconnection Tour because, after a couple of really tough years, it’s time for Greens across the country to get reconnected – with their values, with our party, with each other.
Amita’s travels started March 9 in Windsor, Ontario and continued with stops in London, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto and Scarborough. Then it was off to Ottawa for the federal budget before heading back west for a packed itinerary of town halls and meetings on Vancouver Island.
Green Party mobilizing team member and tour organizer Bridget Burns takes up the story:
After 10 days on Vancouver Island (and Salt Spring), Amita feels renewed and inspired by the hundreds of members, and new faces that came out to reconnect with the GPC.
The tour was off to a very friendly start in Sidney with local MP Elizabeth May, followed by a warm welcome in Victoria by GPC vice president Dr. Lisa Gunderson, B.C. Greens MLA Adam Olsen and Victoria City Councillor Sarah Potts.
A big crowd to hear Amita at the town hall in Nanaimo (photo by Bridget Burns)
On April 21, Amita visited with Fairy Creek Land Defenders to listen and offer support. The day concluded with a packed house meeting at the 6 Mile Pub.
On Earth Day – April 22 – Amita and former Green MP Paul Manly attended a lunch to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the Snuneymuxw First Nations. The town hall meeting in Duncan that evening featured a special guest speaker, Elder Rose Henry, who later joined other Land Defenders to sing and drum for the crowd.
It was no surprise to anyone that the Saturday town hall in Nanaimo had a huge turnout! Great conversation ensued and Oliver, our youngest volunteer executive, sang a beautiful song. And we raised nearly $3000 - thank you Nanaimo!
Amita then began traveling up to the North Island, with an intimate evening in Courtenay. 2021 candidate Jessica Wegg was in attendance, as were some disillusioned members from another party, who were there to check out where the Greens were at.
They left happy and hopeful.
The next day was on the ferry over to Powell River, for another incredible evening of thoughtful conversation and shared vision. The final dates on the tour included a lunchtime meetup in Campbell River, a town hall on Salt Spring Island and a town hall in Vancouver tonight (Friday).
The next leg of the Reconnection Tour will take Amita to Saskatchewan. Watch this webpage for details.
Another stop on Amita’s Vancouver Island odyssey: Shawnigan Lake School Sustainability Council invited them to speak to the entire student body to conclude Earth Week celebrations. Members of the Green Party’s Cowichan-Malahat-Langford EDA who also attended the ceremony – Sebastian Stowe, Cammy Lockwood, Nick Tan and Kim Hughes – are pictured here with Amita and student leaders.
Report from the VGM
The Green Party soon could become the first national political party in Canada to mandate Indigenous representation on its principal governing body. A proposal passed at Phase 2 of the Virtual General Meeting (VGM 2), if ratified by the full membership, will result in a constitutional amendment expanding the GPC Federal Council to include three Indigenous representatives – First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
The meeting, held March 25-27, also approved a separate proposal officially recognizing the role of the recently formed Indigenous People’s Advisory Circle to “promote the interests of Indigenous members of GPC and encourage the active and equitable participation of Indigenous peoples…”
Other proposals for constitutional amendments supported by members who attended VGM 1 and 2 included promotion and protection of diverse, equitable, inclusive and safe spaces. Members also supported a proposal to hold General Meetings annually with a guaranteed virtual attendance option.
Policy proposals adopted at VGM 1 and 2 included:
- A universal post-secondary education system, accessible to every person regardless of ability to pay.
- A publicly-owned no-fee savings bank operated by Canada Post that will offer services to account holders at all post office branches.
- A National Decarceration Strategy to transition most criminal offenders out of prisons using community-based restorative justice programs.
- An independent, civilian-led oversight and governance body for the RCMP.
All proposals approved at VGM 1 and 2 will now be subject to a ratification vote of the full membership. The final phase of the current VGM cycle will take place in the fall. Depending on pandemic restrictions, this will be either a hybrid virtual/in person or a virtual event.
Thank you to all who participated in VGM 2 and especially to the cast of thousands – the dedicated volunteers and GPC staff who made it all possible.
Leadership Contest Update
Federal Council will announce the rules and timeline for selecting the next party Leader on May 24. In the meantime, potential contestants are advised not to campaign, fundraise, or make any expenditures until the rules are announced. Similarly, Electoral District Associations (EDAs) are advised not to promote potential contestants as this may violate rules regarding use of party resources.
Federal Council vote deadline coming up
A reminder that voting in the Federal Council election closes at noon (Pacific time) on May 11.
Federal Council governs the Green Party of Canada on behalf of members like you. It is responsible for high-level planning, vision and budget. Council consists of 18 voting members: 11 provincial and territorial representatives, a president, two vice presidents, a GPC Fund representative, two youth representatives, and the Leader. Each Councillor is elected for two years. Half of the positions are elected in odd numbered years, while the other half are elected in even numbered years.
Click here for more information about the current election, including candidate biographies. If you have any questions about the election or your ballot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Knowledge Clusters and Policy Table – interested?
Do you have expertise in a specific policy area that matches a federal ministry such as Health, Housing, Climate Change, International Trade, Infrastructure etc.? The GPC Shadow Cabinet is looking for volunteers to join a knowledge cluster or policy table to assist our critics in their roles.
You don’t have to have a degree in the subject area, just a keen interest or lived experience that has given you some detailed knowledge in that subject. If you are interested, please fill out this application form. We are looking for people who are focussed on a particular area, so please be specific.
Follow our hardworking MPs
As members and supporters, we all work hard to elect MPs to represent Green values and policies in Parliament. It’s important to know about the work they are doing so we can support it and share it in our communities. Our MPs make a big impact on Canadian politics.
The Green Party’s monthly Caucus Update newsletter contains videos, petitions, and social media links you can share in your community and through your social media networks to help amplify this important work.
If you’d like to receive exclusive updates about the work of our small but mighty caucus, please subscribe by clicking HERE. We’ll send it every month when the House of Commons is in session.
Send the government a message
Petitions are an expression of your democratic will as a citizen – a way to tell the government what policies it should implement. They are also another way for our MPs to speak in Parliament to issues that are important to the Green Party.
At the community level, GPC candidates and volunteers can use them as an engagement tool by sharing e-petitions online or taking paper petitions to public events or when canvassing door to door. Paul Manly and his campaign team used petitions as a way to engage voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the year leading up to the 2015 election and again in 2019.
Here are the links to some paper petitions that you can download. You only need 25 signatures to submit them for certification but it’s always good to get a few extra names. When the petitions are full you can mail them postage free to Mike Morrice or Elizabeth May (the address is at the bottom of the petition).
We also invite you to read and sign the following e-petitions sponsored by Green MPs. Make sure you also share them with family, friends and social media networks.
Want to learn how to create a petition? Stay tuned! Paul Manly will host an online workshop on creating petitions in early June.
We’re getting noticed
Here are some recent media stories featuring our interim Leader and caucus members.
News you can use: the Green Clean
It’s been a long, hard winter but spring is finally sprung and it’s time for that beloved annual ritual – spring cleaning. This year, why not make it a Green Clean. Here are some tips for an environmentally friendly spring freshen up.
- Air out the home/space naturally. Air fresheners are wasteful and sometimes toxic. Throw open all the windows and doors and let the fresh air flood your home.
- Make your own cleaning products. Harsh commercial cleaning solutions and solvents can be toxic, wasteful and expensive. Did you know that you can make your own all-purpose cleaner with vinegar, lemon rind, rosemary and water? Check out this website for more home-made cleaning stuff.
- Use old clothes and fabrics for cleaning. Don’t throw out clothing and fabrics that are too ragged to be donated or upcycled. Use them as rags and cloths as you complete the green spring clean.
- Donate or sell unwanted items. Value Village and Salvation Army are great in-person donation organizations to repurpose and give unwanted belongings a second life.
- Plants, plants and more plants! Plants are not only a way to add colour and beauty to your home, they also have many health benefits. Go to this website – or this website – to find the best plants for you and your space.
- Be water-wise: Saving and preserving water is always a good idea, whether it’s spring cleaning day or any other day. Here’s a comprehensive list of ways you can reduce water consumption around the home.
Happy green cleaning day from all of us at GPC.
If you’re new to the party – or if you’ve been a member for a while but haven’t really engaged much – now is a great time to connect with fellow Greens in your community by checking in with your local Electoral District Association (EDA).
EDAs are the beating heart of a grassroots party like ours. Experience shows that our best election results invariably occur in ridings where active and engaged volunteers work together in a well-run EDA.
To find the EDA in your area, just go to this webpage and type in your postal code. If you happen to live in a riding where there is no EDA, then why not start one? Reach out to our mobilizing team at email@example.com for advice and information on how to connect with other Greens in your area.
Now more than ever, Canada needs a strong and vibrant Green Party. It’s up to us.
Over to You
Green Party members, this is your newsletter and we welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions. Contact us at Members’ Insider.
Green Party of Canada