“Federal Council is responsible for the governance, strategic, and financial oversight of our Party. What does this mean to you?”

 

Carole Chan, candidate for President

Many of us have chosen to make our home with the Green Party of Canada because it 'does politics differently' from other parties. We have values that suffuse and inform the administrative and operational decisions being made every day, with the hope that greater transparency and dialogue should make for better politics. My understanding of Federal Council is that it must ensure not only that we maintain such transparency and dialogue, but that these hallmarks of the Green Way in fact achieve better political results. This is particularly true as communications platforms and cycles have multiplied and morphed with the advent of social media.

Lorraine Rekmans, candidate for President

This means undertaking a huge responsibility on behalf of the members. It means that Federal Council is tasked to act on behalf of the membership to ensure the party remains viable, healthy and progressive, while governing the Party in accordance with Green values.

I see this role requires taking responsibility and an active role in governance to ensure that all Party operations are conducted in a responsible manner. This means undertaking due diligence in all tasks, accepting responsibility and being accountable to members.

I am committed to transparency and consultation with members to ensure that Federal Council sets the strategic direction of the Party in accordance with members' input and participation through member participation in committees. I believe Green Governance requires participation by members.

I am committed to working diligently with all members of Federal Council in a collaborative manner to ensure we fulfill our responsibility to the members to keep the GPC healthy and financially viable.

Lisa Gunderson, candidate for Vice President - English

Federal Council has a vital role to play as the governing body of our Party. Ensuring Green values and policies are followed, the Federal Council must ensure that our governance, strategic planning, and financial resources support the election of Greens across Canada in a thriving, sustainable, and healthy organization. We must encourage Canadians to elect more Greens so we can implement our policies for the betterment of our country.  

My experience on governance and advisory bodies at the local and national levels, such as the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, has led me to understand as a member of Council I'll have both a personal and collectivist responsibility to our Party. This includes being honest, respectful, and acting in accordance with our values of nonviolence, social justice, and respect for diversity in all of our interactions and communications as we fulfill our duties. Where and when we are not, we are responsible to engage in a collaborative way to come back in alignment with our values and policies. 

As the Vice President English, I will ensure our party remains a collaborative, equitable, and inclusive space that honours global Green values. It's clear that as a Federal Council member my work must include clear, transparent, and consistent communication with our membership. We must foster a sense of collaboration and unity around what brings us together as Greens and provide our members and fellow Canadians a real choice on doing politics differently - from the inside-out. Find out more at lisagunderson.ca.

George Orr, candidate for Vice President - English

Our job is to win votes.

We do that by being seen as a responsible party capable of running our own affairs with decorum and internal unity. We need to bring a level-headed real-world approach to politics, acting strategically and pro-actively.

And we need to convince voters they can comfortably support us financially.

We need to live our Green values proudly and transparently. We need to pro-actively advocate policies and propositions that reflect our values. And we need to recruit ruthlessly across the entire Canadian spectrum. New members bring new blood, new energy, and money.

But read the headlines. Right now we are in disarray. We face humiliation at the polls if the current situation continues. In spite of our leader's statement that our polling numbers have in some cases gone up five-fold, the reverse seems to be true. This reflects an inability by the Party to see the world as it is: a primary prerequisite for accomplishing the tasks I mentioned above.

Our climate is disintegrating before our eyes. Click on this attachment to see.

We have the ideas and tools to collaboratively define a more sustainable path that will mitigate this disaster.

If we as a Council carry these values, we can re-take the high ground in Canadian political affairs. Elect me and I will help make this happen. But if we continue what is now a public display of angry disunity, we will quickly become a footnote of history.

This is the crossroads.

Zachary Typhair, candidate for Vice President - English

I'm running to give EDAs more support. Together we can strengthen our grassroots by building our EDA'S up.

The party has tried to micromanage EDA too much. I believe the party needs to take a step back and allow EDA'S to govern themselves. Instead we should be giving EDA support not micromanaging them

We need to return to our roots to help give EDA's more power. I don't like the vetting process that EDA's are force to use to close their nominations. We have to trust that local EDA'S when it comes to selecting their candidates and encourage them to reach out to people from different backgrounds. I don't see any benefits to EDAs just reaching out to diverse candidates right before the election its not benefiting anyone, it just makes it look like we only care about them to score bromine points if they run as our candidate. Rather than using a vetting process for EDAs to close their nomination, I would suggest a year-round training course and video workshops as a better means to achieve our diversity goal. Off election season hunting is a far better long-term strategy for maintaining open connections. This will help expand EDAs candidate search and grow their connections in their local community. We have to trust that EDA'S know their communities well enough to manage this; it isn't the responsibility of the party heads to micromanage all of these tasks.

You can find my platform here: https://www.zacharytyphair.ca/author/zach/

Keith Wiley, candidate for Vice President - English

The Leader of the Party must be accountable to the Federal Council, which is the voice and will of the members between major meetings. 

The FC members from across the country represent and reflect the realities among their members and communities. This is essential for a democratically structured party

The Canadian parliamentary system has drifted away from the representational power of elected members toward an American presidential model. Elected members are accountable to the Leader, not the other way around. In contrast, in Australia, elected members still fire their Leaders mid-term.

Canadian political parties became more centrally controlled. Election platforms are set by the Leader and the bureaucracy rather than by motions of the members. Carefully marketed messaging is tailored to first-past-the-post, popularity-contest elections.

But it gives us weak government that is unable to tackle difficult problems. (Many examples: inaction on the housing crisis, bumbling on the pandemic, failing on climate, the war on drugs is still killing thousands of Canadians.)

Who is going to stand up and tell Canadians the truth: we are living way beyond what the planet can bear. We must drastically reduce our levels of consumption, of fossil fuel use, of airline flights and of globalized cheap production. Vote for me, I promise you LESS OF EVERYTHING! (Except family and leisure time, housing security, free education, and improved public health care – the basics.)

Real democracy is desperately needed, beginning with the members of the Green Party of Canada.

Clément Badra, candidate for Vice President - Francophone

Seating on federal council means playing an important role in the way the party will be perceived from the outside looking in. The strategic responsibility means there is a need to have people elected on council that have a great understanding of the Canadian political context. It is crucial if we want to be able to develop an approach that will help the party carve its place in the Canadian political landscape. It also means knowing what is needed to support the work of elected MPs. 

The responsibility regarding governance issues means that this body needs to be exemplary and transparent in its behavior and in the processes that lead to decisions. The Green Party of Canada is the only true grassroots federal party and this structure needs to be protected by those seating on the council. I also strongly believe that the responsibilities you have on the federal council come with the risk of potential conflict of interest, especially during internal elections or leadership contest. The rules need to be strong enough to avoid that. 

Of course, a key element to the success of a political party often comes down to the financial resources available the support the strategic choices the party has made (based on the vision coming from the members of the party). The party needs to look at hiring fund raising experts to try to fix the lingering issues that have existed.

Samuel Moisan-Domm, candidate for Vice President - Francophone

Governance

Our values have not always transpired on how we govern our Party. This is why I firmly believe it is time for us to walk the talk by implementing within the best practices we claim to seek and embody in the political arena. Here are some examples:

  • Federal Council needs to act first and foremost as ambassadors of members;
  • Transparency standards need to be strengthened and decisions need to be taken free of conflicts of interest;
  • Member-driven policy development needs to be continuous rather than once every two years.
  • Strategic Federal Council needs to set annual Party goals and monitor their achievement.

Furthermore, I will work for:

  • Members and electoral district associations (EDAs) playing an active role in strategic decisions;
  • Decentralization through the creation and support of provincial wings;
  • Leveraging both staff and volunteer expertise to achieve our goals.

Financial

Financial oversight should aim to ensure that our finances are healthy. In other words, the Party should aim for a yearly surplus that allows it to stash away significant funds for the next federal election. Furthermore, I will work for:

  • Members and EDAs playing an active role in national budgeting;
  • Funding for provincial wings and seed funding for small and new EDAs;
  • Keeping expenses low by relying more on volunteer time and expertise.

If some of those ideas appeal to you, I would be grateful to have your support as the next VP - Francophone!

Colin Griffiths, candidate for Fund Representative

When you run for Federal Council, you have to be prepared for a lot of challenges. As the Fund Rep, I will be simultaneously a member of three of our governing committees: Federal Council itself, the GPC Fund Board, and the executive committee.As a member of Federal Council, we represent the views and aspirations of all our members. We are responsible to all our members for the decisions that we take. As the Fund Rep, you are in effect the treasurer of the organization. I will be concerned to ensure transparency in frequent reporting to members, who have every right to know the details of our situation.As a member of the Fund Board of directors, decisions will be required on contracts, and in particular on the management of the processes that report on our financial health. My focus will be ensuring our financial stability into the future. Membership of the executive committee requires an understanding of the dynamics of the whole party. We are responsible for the overall agenda of the party, subject to the direction of our members. My plan is to adhere to our essential green values and principles.This will be no walk in the park. I am ready to serve, and based on my many decades of experience in business, on the boards of some charities and as a member of several EDA executives, more than prepared to be the treasurer of the GPC in these exciting times.

Carrie McLaren, candidate for Fund Representative

As a Governing body the Council makes decisions between meetings of the membership taking direction from the Constitution and Bylaws and from decisions made at previous General Meetings keeping in mind our Green values and Article 4 of our Constitution, the Purpose of the Party.

Governance is working with all the units of the party to create goals (as the Council handbook says - End Goals), budget and strategy through research and collaboration, in a timely manner. These goals require measurement, creating the best atmosphere for teamwork, having the right tools, a unity of purpose, and keeping members informed.

Governance is also knowing the difference between oversight by the council and daily operations, which the ED is accountable for.

With experience on various non-profit boards over the years, as well as being involved in various party positions (EDA, Fund, Candidate), I understand the need to act in the best interest of the membership as a whole, and keeping the membership informed. Regular reports to the membership are needed to help everyone stay engaged, and know how the party and council is performing.

Natalie Odd, candidate for Alberta Representative

Having run as a candidate in multiple elections since 2008, I know what I have expected from GPC FC and what I will dedicate myself to achieving if elected.

I expect the FC to prioritize strategic objectives that strengthen, grow and diversify the Party to create conditions for Green MPs to be elected in the right way.

To do this, the FC needs clearly articulated, strategically prioritized objectives that are specific, ambitious and realistic. These goals should be driven by data, evidence, analysis and critical evaluation of past elections, campaigns, strategies and activities. I expect FC to be self-aware and rigourous in holding itself to account about what is and is not working, what we must adapt, start or stop. Further, FC must support the Leader and Executive Director with short-, medium- and long-term plans to achieve these goals, always adhering to the Party budget.

We need to acknowledge and address racism and discrimination and do the work to understand and eliminate barriers to diversity, equity and inclusivity in the Party. I expect FC to ensure that GPC members' voices, concerns and ideas are easily communicated, valued and considered.

It's important that we examine risk, take chances, experiment, learn from our past mistakes, give safe space for input from members, seek and study data, learn from professionals, assess and evaluate ourselves. FC needs to be accountable and transparent to our membership, respectful and consensus-oriented with one another and ensure the GPC's constitution, bylaws, codes, rules and procedures are upheld.

Thomas Boysen, candidate for Saskatchewan Representative

Our Party is currently undergoing particularly challenging times and the decisions to be made in the next months will determine the Party's election prospects for years to come. My hope is that we can find back to article 3 of our constitution, our Basis of Unity, and remain a Party that allows for a broad spectrum of views under the six Global Green Values and that we can work together to effectively take on the important fights of our times, such as climate change and the need to reduce economic inequalities and eliminate social inequalities.

Governance through Federal Council also means leadership and FC needs to take on this role in consistent communication with the general membership and in lockstep with the Leader if we are to have any chance of expanding our voting results and membership.

With a federal election looming, we will in any case go into a leadership review within a year. This will demand strategic decisions, for which the membership needs to understand what is going on in FC. FC is the body that all units of the Party are responsible to outside of GMs. FC needs to get all these to work together.

Leadership is also needed for adjusting the FC and central Party operations to the new reality of a union shop.

I intend to hold regular meetings with all Sask EDA CEOs to ensure the flow of information as well as keep my feet squarely on the ground as a Saskatchewan representative.

Jean-Charles Pelland, candidate for Quebec Representative

Because I am running as a candidate for the position of Quebec representative for the Green Party of Canada, I received an email in which I was asked the question "Federal Council is responsible for the governance, strategic, and financial oversight of our Party. What does this mean to you?"

This question, is addressed to me in English, as is the entire email.

What that means to me, is that the party is not well run. The fact that it is still so complicated for the party to address its francophone members in French is nothing short of pathetic.
We often see members of the party give a speech in which they take the trouble to address the audience with "Kwaï", out of respect for the diversity of Aboriginal peoples in the country. It is a nice gesture. But it is meaningless if the party does not deign to address its francophone members in French. This type of gesture is symbolic of the tokenism that has infected the party and the federal council, where the focus is on appearances instead of substance. This is exactly what the other parties do. But the Greens are supposed to do better.

As far as I am concerned, federal council is supposed to ensure that the party represents the interests of its members - not its managers - in an effective and non-partisan way. This means we need to stop the bickering and focus on our common green goals and how to achieve them in a realistic and achievable way, in order to attract new members who want to save the planet with us. It also means we need to stop playing identity politics, tokenism, and focus on the green goals the party is founded on. And yes, that includes speaking to members in one of the country's TWO official languages.

Thomas Rolain, candidate for Quebec Representative

If the members of the Party elect me, I commit to represent Quebec on the Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada with integrity and professionalism. By voting for me as Quebec Representative on the Federal Council of the Green Party, you can be assured that Quebec will have its place in the overall strategy of the Party and that I will do everything in my power to bring to the attention of the Federal Council the concerns of Quebecers about the course the Green Party of Canada is taking, whether it be in terms of its values, its overall strategy, its finances, or its governance. I also commit to communicating on a regular basis with the Quebec members of the Green Party of Canada before and after each Federal Council meeting, notably through the Quebec wing of the Green Party of Canada. I would communicate before each meeting of the Federal Council, in order to know exactly what demands/suggestions/concerns of Quebec citizens are to be presented to the Federal Council and after each meeting to share with our members the conclusions of the Council.

Finally, I will also work closely with all other representatives that are part of the Federal Council and all non-Quebec members of the Green Party of Canada to give our country and our three founding peoples (Indigenous Peoples, English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians) a greener, more equitable and more diverse future. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me on Slack (Thomas Rolain), by email (thomas.rolain@greenparty.ca) or by phone (514-464-3989).

Louise Comeau, candidate for New Brunswick Representative

Federal Council, elected by the Members, is accountable to the Members. Council members are trustees. Our duty between General Meetings is to act on Members' behalf in accordance with the Green Party of Canada constitution and bylaws, and our values and policies. In its most basic form, Federal Council keeps the ship sailing between General Meetings, meaning that Council ensures all legal and fiduciary requirements are met, including Elections Canada Act requirements, that budgets are managed responsibility, that fundraising occurs, that decisions of Members are operationalized and critically, that platforms and candidates are ready to win seats in federal elections.

Serving on Federal Council is a huge responsibility requiring practical wisdom, trustworthiness, care and compassion to ensure effective decision-making and that its practices and decisions are transparent, accountable, and in alignment with Member decisions.

Council members should bring experience relevant to the duties and responsibilities of Council, should have good trust and consensus-building skills, and ensure the lines of communication are open between Council and Members. Federal Council Members need discipline to stay focused.

I have served on non-profit and other boards (e.g., Sierra Club of Canada, Ontario Power Authority), managed small and large teams and budgets, ran as a federal and provincial Green candidate in New Brunswick, and communicated policy through platforms. I have worked in consensus-seeking environments through national and international environmental networks and with elected officials through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. My experience could help resolve conflict and prepare Greens for the upcoming federal election.

Rebecca Redmile-Blaevoet, candidate for New Brunswick Representative

First and foremost, my role would be to provide support for Annamie Paul as she guides the Green Party through the next two years. In addition to that, as New Brunswick's representative to Federal Council, I know that whatever decisions Federal Council makes will impact the constituents in this province. It is important to balance the concerns of New Brunswickers with the budgetary considerations and strategic priorities of the green party. Whether through member engagement, fund-raising or implementing a strategic plan, Federal Council has a central role to play in moving the Green Party forward. we seem to be living in a time when every day we are confronted by questions of Sustainability, Ecological Wisdom, Respect for Diversity, Participatory Democracy, Non-violence and Social Justice. These are no longer fringe discussions, but concepts every politician, business owner and private individual must grapple with. These must inform our decisions at Federal Council, too. I trust that whomever members elect to these positions, the Green Party will help to steer Canada toward a more sustainable and equitable future.

John Reist, candidate for New Brunswick Representative

My name is John Reist and I have decided to put my name forward as a candidate for the Federal Council as New Brunswick representative. I am the CEO of New Brunswick Southwest Greens, the EDA representing the riding of New Brunswick Southwest.

Now more than ever we must support our local Greens. As New Brunswick representative I would create a dialogue with all EDAs in the province to share information and experience.

In my local EDA I have been holding meetings over ZOOM. This year I hosted a talk with Elizabeth May as well as a talk on the Housing Crisis with Paul Manley and David Coon and a discussion on Guaranteed Livable Income with Jenica Atwin. My plan is to have a talk on Food Security in the fall.

This year at 65, I retired after working for 11 yrs as a rural mail driver for Canada Post. We live in a log home that we built in 2008 on 195 acres near Rollingdam. I enjoy planting trees on our property and building trails. I have planted Black Walnut, Butternut, Northern Pecan, American Chestnut, Shagbark Hickory, Sycamore, Tulip Tree and Catalpa.

Nicholas Hendren, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

For me, the responsibility of governance, strategic, and financial oversight means the ability to make the party better for those who are currently members as well as for those to come (which is even more important as a grass roots party). Allow me to break this down into each area.

First off we have governance. With governance this allows us to ensure that the policies and bylaws of the party are upheld to the standards set by those before us, but with the flexibility to make changes as times change. For example, with COVID, many policies in many workplaces, schools, and events had to change to accomodate the changing times. For me, having this structure and flexibility provides a solid ground to stand on, but with a place to grow from.

Secondly, we have strategic oversight. This is where the minds can come together to make all the amazing things happen within the party a reality. For example, say in the past someone like myself as a non-binary person couldn't correct someone if the wrong pronouns were used. By using strategic oversight these things can be changed in a manner that is best for the party, the individual, and everyone else as a whole.

Finally, we have financial oversight. This is in relation to the fund and money the party has. This to me allows the party to show how great we are and allow us to grow in all possible ways!

That is what each area means to me.

Matthew Piggott, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

Great question, and it gets to the core of the difficult period that this party finds itself in.

Broadly speaking, here is what I feel Federal Council should achieve in a year: Strategic Planning, determining indicators for success, pass a budget and review at least quarterly, review member and employee satisfaction surveys, host a General Meeting & conduct annual elections on time, populate HR, Finance, and Governance committees, and finally, hire and evaluate an Executive Director and take further action if necessary. Improving existing processes like for membership review/suspension and guaranteeing safe spaces would also be helpful.

As a member, do you feel these objectives have been completed in the last year?

In a grassroots political Party I believe Councillors have a further role. That is to inform members, direct them to places they can fully participate, consult where necessary, and as a representative vote with the best interests of your constituents.

This next federal council needs to get back to basics, and I've listed what I think those are above. It is impossible to run a national party without functioning processes and party institutions. If something is missing or not working we need to build it, and it's the role of Council to set the policies and procedures with regards to governance, strategic planning and financial oversight and then let the work be done. I'm stepping up at this moment to do that work.

Thomas Trappenberg, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

Oversight means for me not only checking compliance with our constitutions and by-laws, but to evaluate compliance of our actions with green values. Honesty and the willingness to engage in meaningful conversations are for me hallmarks of doing politics differently. It seems that fostering more constructive approaches would be timely. Council is not there to direct every move for which we have capable staff, but council must do more to see the larger picture and to ensure that we do politics differently. Better communications seem important for more constructive oversight.

As an elected representative from Nova Scotia, I am representing my constituents and I am responsible for communications between our central organization and our members. I know that council members are often restricted by non-disclosure agreements, and I think that in-camera sessions must be kept to a minimum. We are all part of a movement, and our party needs to get better in supporting the enormous energy of our members.

I am glad that we have, for the first time, multiple candidates for this council position. Most of us have extensive experience within the GPC and are active on several fronts. Having just retired as Leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, it is a fortunate opportunity to help with this role at a time where we need positive transitions. I am always glad to have honest discussions with a positive spirit.


A key aspect of Federal Council's governing style is the principle that "Federal Council speaks with one voice". What skills, experience, or knowledge will you bring to Federal Council in order to uphold this principle?

 

Carole Chan, candidate for President

A Federal Council that speaks with ‘one voice’ is one that allows for respectful debate and discourse among councillors, with the understanding that their ultimate goals, actions and duties must be in the best interests of the Party and its members.

My experience as a lawyer inherently involves meeting similar fiduciary duties to my clients in the services I provide.

Additionally, being a bilingual political candidate has allowed me to develop the skill of actively listening and homing in on common ground to build bridges between two separate positions in ‘real time’, in both English and French.

Finally, as a leader of other organizations that have faced significant changes in governance or identity, I know that empathy is critical for building the trust necessary for all those around the table so that everyone’s energies can be properly re-focused on the ‘core business’ of the organization.

In our case, the Earth can’t wait any longer. Greens must quickly find a way to work together so that we can re-focus on our core business of making Canada a leader in addressing issues like social justice and climate change. I hope that you will lend me your vote so that I can lead Federal Council to enable our front-line Greens to shine at this pivotal time.

Lorraine Rekmans, candidate for President

I have decades of experience working across many sectors including Industry, government, and NGO's related to my work as an advocate for Indigenous rights in resource development policy.

Often I was able to create friendly spaces for dialogue between diverse and sometimes opposing viewpoints. My experience in facilitating discussions will be helpful to Federal Council in work to set goals and achieve agreed upon objectives.

My hope is to bring a renewed sense of excitement to the GPC Federal Council and inspire my colleagues to meet the vision of a federal party that is progressive and successful.

I have always worked on a consensus basis in my career because it was a culturally based and accepted practice. I bring patience, understanding, a willingness to listen and collaborate to this position.

I bring my conviction that the Green Party of Canada and its members are visionary, committed, willing to work towards better outcomes for all people in Canada and I am prepared to work alongside all members with humility.

Lisa Gunderson, candidate for Vice President - English

This principle is upheld by holding councillors responsible to the FC Code of Conduct, specifically, “acting with respect, openness, equality, and non-violent communication," not speaking on behalf of FC, and maintaining confidentiality.

As a psychologist and registered clinical counsellor, I must uphold standards of confidentiality and am trained to listen, facilitate understanding/communication, and see solutions when there “are none." Further, I am known as a bridger or connector, and have lived experience collaborating with incredibly diverse groups who disagree.

I also have extensive experience respecting and supporting group decisions. As a Green political pundit and spokesperson for proportional representation, I understand the importance of having “one voice." As a current representative of our district parent advisory council to the police liaison committee, I must represent the collective decision of PACs regardless of my personal opinion.

Speaking with one voice is a manifestation of actions during committee meetings. Board members who feel their voices are authentically heard and who follow agreed values will speak as “one voice” regardless of their personal opinions. When violations to group agreements occur, clear and transparent processes to deal with violations are critical or divisiveness occurs - a breakdown of “one voice."

Our meetings must be clear, collaborative, considerate and understanding of alternative ways to communicate, and appreciative of alternative points of view, with ways to repair when harm is done. I commit to use my skills, experiences, and knowledge to create an atmosphere that allows us to adhere to the principle of “one voice."

George Orr, candidate for Vice President - English

My name is George Orr and I am running for VP English on the Green Party Federal Council. My primary goal is to ensure a solidarity of vision and goals throughout the Party, starting at the Federal Council. Because we are a movement of thousands of individual voices, we hear the clamour as everybody feels the need to be heard. Council must search for the common chord by setting the example and speaking with a single voice.

As a newsroom producer in some of Canada’s largest TV stations, I had to help craft and maintain a daily ‘community of understanding’ shared by all staff, to produce journalism that was qualitatively superior to a random collection of stories. 

As co-chair of the Jack Webster Journalism Foundation, my role was to facilitate consensus of stakeholders. By active listening and probing, I was able to create a common ground from which we all could move forward.

As a post-secondary educator,  I brought students to understand and accept the precepts of journalism. Only once they grasped this common set of practices, they could  then take these new skills into the workplace.

The thread: creating a common understanding. As  Council distills its vision into a single voice, it can help the Party communicate clearly.

 We face hard decisions. Disunity is playing out in the news, and doing us harm. To move ahead, we must re-discover our common purpose. And we must ensure members sign on as we come together to speak with one voice.

Samuel Moisan-Domm, candidate for Vice President - Francophone

The Federal Council Handbook states that "FC speaks with one voice, and individual Councillors do not speak on behalf of FC except to repeat explicitly stated FC decisions." This should be easy to implement for any Council member. What is more difficult is applying the following governance principles:

  • collaboration which actively seeks to understand diverse viewpoints and works to find consensus wherever possible;
  • Federal Council will act as a group, only using the expertise of individual Councillors to enhance understanding of a particular issue.

The best way I found to facilitate this is to increase discussions on proposals and issues between Councillors prior to regular Federal Council meetings at the Committee of the Whole-which I have chaired for the past year-and Federal Council Committees. But this is not enough. This also requires being open to new ideas, listening to others' concerns and seeking to not only hear objections but actually resolve them. For this to work, Councillors must be willing to be reasonable and amenable to sound argument. I believe that adopting a consent-based approach (seeking solutions that are good enough for now, safe enough to try) is one of the best ways to move our Party forward while avoiding sterile debates that too often have led to conflictual votes. If my experience as an active Council member on the Committee of the Whole and Governance Committee for the past year appeals to you, I would be grateful to have your support as the next VP - Francophone!

Colin Griffiths, candidate for Fund Representative

Any governing body will be made up of a diverse set of individuals.  While working together towards a common goal, there will inevitably be differences of opinion.  Federal council is no exception.  We come from diverse backgrounds, with very different life experiences.  But we all want the Green Party to succeed.

We share respect and commitment to our green values.  Collaboration is central to achieving agreement which may include compromise for the needs of the party.  Through cooperation and consensus, we will reach decisions on the future path of the party.

Our decisions will be reflected in statements made on our behalf.  In this sense we will speak as a single voice.

The challenge in 2021 is to develop a sense of community amongst the councillors.  With nearly all of our meetings conducted virtually, the immediate personal contact is lost.  Such personal contact is an essential feature of the development of trust and understanding.

In over 50 years of public and private service, I have sat on many committees where I have contributed to the realization of a diverse set of projects.  From establishing a bird observatory, to getting EDAs established, to creating and running a software business, to working on a non-profit delivering services to senior citizens, I have developed the interpersonal skills – in both English and French, necessary to realize the goals of the projects I have been involved with.  I listen well, express myself well, and am not a quitter.  Federal Council will benefit from my skills.

Thomas Boysen, candidate for Saskatchewan Representative

During my career as a development aid consultant planning and evaluating development aid projects I have dealt with numerous private and government agencies and ministries in a wide range of countries. These activities often involve delicate negotiations, during which maintaining clear communication and speaking with one voice as a team is crucial to success. I have been the team leader on most of such missions and have had to uphold the principle of "speaking with one voice".

In the last year I have also been the committee chair of my condo corporation responsible for a $2.5 reno project that also requires that the condo board speaks with one voice and have been active in achieving this together with the board chair.

I fully understand the absolute need for FC to speak with one voice. This is based not only on the general principles laid out in the constitution and the FC handbook (principles: try to find consensus, try to understand different opinions) but also on political intelligence as any media will always try to find cracks in the FC that they could exploit for a "good story". Recent experience has made this clear to all. In our current situation, we need to come to grips with our differences and find a way to maintain a variety of opinions on certain subjects while finding unity in our Global Green principles.

Jean-Charles Pelland, candidate for Quebec Representative

Speaking with one voice is supposed to mean that decisions made by the board represent all members of the board acting as one unit. It doesn't mean all members agree with the decision. But it means that all members endorse the process and its end result. In other words, speaking with one voice means being able to accept that sometimes things don't go your way, and sticking to the system all the same. I have experience sitting on many environmental NGO board of directors, both as member and president. In these roles, I have often had to express board decisions with which I did not agree, so I know how to be a part of a council that speaks with one voice. In terms of skills, I bring with me an ability to analyse situations and focus on their essential parts, highlighting the options in clear and simple language. This makes me more efficient than most at enabling informed group decisions.

Louise Comeau, candidate for New Brunswick Representative

Trust. I cannot think of a better way to describe the pathway to one voice. Too often, lack of trust, leads us to question people’s motivation, rather than their ideas. Trust has important dimensions. The ideal is a combination of trust in the process (general trust in institutions, decision-making, and/or staff), combined with healthy skepticism (critical trust). With high levels of general and critical trust, we can as Federal Councillors do our due diligence with respect and confidence yet be skeptical when and where we should. Our duty is to ensure proposals and recommendations have a good chance of successful implementation. My sense is that Federal Council needs to invest in trust building and to develop a deeper understanding of how best to build trust in our processes and institution, and to build respect and comfort with the important role of healthy skepticism. With trust, one voice emerges because despite healthy and vigorous debate, once a decision has been made the team comes together to support its implementation.

Rebecca Redmile-Blaevoet, candidate for New Brunswick Representative

We all share what are called "Green" values: the importance of social justice; sustainability; ecological wisdom; participatory democracy; a respect for diversity; and non-violence, but we know that this does not guarantee that we agree, all of the time, or that it is easy for any group of people guiding an organization to speak with one voice. If the six "Green principles" are informing Federal Council's decisions, we're more likely to speak with one voice. They must be what motivate each one of us in our committee work and council deliberations. They must be what we reflect when we communicate with GPC members and the public. As to how my experience upholds the principle that Federal Council speaks with one voice: I am often the one asking the hard questions. I'd rather hash through a problem in a meeting, so that when a final decision is made, we have a solid point of view that everyone can be happy with. I think the most valuable assets one can bring to a council or board are a certain realism about human nature, a willingness to do the work, and the capacity to check one's self-interest at the door.

Nicholas Hendren, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

As a member of Federal Council, what I could bring to the table in terms of skills are numerous, but I will highlight three. Active listening, negotiation, and adaptation.

The first of these skills, active listening, is one I use daily. As someone who has been in customer facing roles, I know the importance of active listening. With active listening, I can take the information from my colleagues on Federal Council and help to come to the best solution to what has been presented leading to a "One Voice" mindset and point of view.

The second skill mentioned, negotiation, is one that I have developed over many years in all different types of situations. With this knowledge and skill I can bring to Federal Council the ability to negotiate on points I feel strongly about (positive or negative) and help to come to a group consensus providing once again the "One Voice" of Federal Council.

The final skill mentioned, adaptation, is something that I've had to do many times. From coming out twice, moving from urban to rural, and more I know the importance of being able to adapt and do so quickly. With adaptation I have the ability to adapt to changing schedules, agendas, needs, and at times council members if it so occurs. Adaptation and change is inevitable the "One Voice" of Federal Council is easily achieved.

These skills and more are what I can bring to Federal Council to help provide and maintain "One Voice".

Matthew Piggott, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

This question is about the professionalism of the individuals who make up Federal Council. There are obviously times and places for free and open discussion, disagreement, competing visions, honest dialogue, and to decide how to move forward as a unified group. This can take place are at a federal council committee, during an in-camera session, in one on one discussions and other appropriate places. It is crucial to a properly functioning national political party that once the internal discussions have taken place, that the public conversation be done in a way that the Federal Council and the Party are perceived to be unified and speaking with one voice. The costs of not speaking with one voice are just too high.

In my past work outside the party I spent a decade working with a Board of Directors and learned the ins and outs of director responsibilities with regard to internal discussion and then showing unity when speaking publicly. Within the Green Party I have over a decade of experience working with Electoral District Associations (EDAs). Although internally I have participated in many open and frank internal discussions, I have always understood that once a decision is made I need to speak publicly with the

I have said this before: it's time for Federal Council to get back to basics. One of those basics is allowing for vigorous internal discussion and then speaking as one unified voice when we then communicate about the Party to members, and to the public.

Thomas Trappenberg, candidate for Nova Scotia Representative

This is a very good question given the recent events in the Green Party, both federally and provincially. Those have shown our challenge in combining our passion and strong fundamental values with wise compromises for electoral success.

The principle of consensus, rather than simple majorities, have always been at the heart of our governance model, and we have already practiced this when Elizabeth was elected leader and I was on the federal council in 2006. However, the growing complexity of our challenges makes this increasingly difficult in certain ways. For example, I do understand the strong belief of extreme left-leaning ideas that a dismantling of capitalism is necessary for progress. The basic absence of real actions on the climate front is a fitting example since just talking about targets without real actions might be more dangerous than simply denying climate change. On the other hand, I think that electoral success is now really possible with green economic renewals as demonstrated in many European countries such as Germany and Denmark.

Speaking with one voice is essential. This requires the ability to compromise and see the bigger picture. This requires some insight that I hoped to have gained in the challenging five years as leader of the provincial party. I hope I came out wiser and more determined, and I am looking forward to returning to my federal roots on your behalf.