The four major Canadian political parties are gearing up for the next federal election. Leaders of the Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat (NDP), and Green parties are recruiting candidates, training volunteers, and strategizing how to campaign during a pandemic.
While the parties remain uncertain of when the minority Liberal government will call an election, they are preparing for the inevitable. One of the biggest concerns for all parties is boosting morale in a virtual environment. In the absence of door-to-door campaigning and live rallies, leaders are relying on social media to spread their message and gain support.
In February, 2021, the Green Party of Canada launched a national candidate recruitment campaign called Time to Run. The campaign aims to recruit diverse and progressive community leaders as candidates for the next federal election. The party hopes to entice a younger generation of MPs to join the Green movement.
Support for the Green Party continues to grow
The Greens have named twenty candidates which include all three MPs and Leader Annamie Paul, who remains without a seat in the House of Commons. Paul has built an election strategy focused on Canada’s urban centres. Green officials claim that they’ve never seen polling numbers as high as they’re currently seeing in certain core Toronto seats.
In an October by-election in Toronto Centre, Paul came in second to Liberal MP Marci Ien, earning 33 percent of the vote. Paul declared in February that she would be running in Toronto Centre again. Greens are also hoping to take Toronto-Danforth, which is currently held by Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin. A poll from January had the Greens in third place in Toronto-Danforth at 20 percent of the vote.
Another poll that’s showing promise for Greens is the March 8th Ipsos poll for Global News. The results of the poll indicate that national support for the Green Party under Annamie Paul is up two points to 10 percent.
According to 338Canada, support for the Green Party is highest among young voters aged 18 to 34.
Green campaign platform
For their election campaign, the Green Party is focusing on issues like universal basic income, national housing affordability, and addressing the humanitarian crisis in long-term care homes. Paul has linked the crisis in long-term care homes to gaps in Canada’s social programs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of affordable housing, Guelph, Ontario is an area of particular concern. Many houses in the city have nearly doubled in value over the past five years. The area is also the home base for Ontario Green leader Mike Schreiner.
The Greens have also been sharing a petition urging the federal government to renew the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for Summer 2021. The CESB provides students and recent graduates who’ve struggled to find summer work during the pandemic with $2000 a month.
In Montreal, the Green Party is focused on splintering the Liberal stronghold by addressing issues of systemic racism. One of the challenges the Green Party faced in the past was a lack of diversity in its candidates. For Annamie Paul, a Black, Jewish woman, correcting this imbalance is a key element of her campaign. Greens have also spoken out against Quebec Premier Francois Legaut’s denial of systemic racism in the province.
The Green Party’s campaign also remains focused on fighting climate change. Paul is calling for Canada to adopt a target of reducing green house gas emissions 60 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. An important aspect of this target is moving non-renewable energy sources away from the centre of Canada’s economy.
As Canada moves closer to a federal election, the Green Party continues to gain support on a national scale. The next few months will be crucial for the party’s campaigning efforts.