Today I’m announcing my candidacy for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada!
Posted by Alex Tyrrell on Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Here is the text of the speech he deliverd during the announcement:
I am here today to announce my candidacy for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada!
I am running for the leadership because I believe that the Green Party of Canada has the potential to unite and to galvanize the Canadian left around principles of environmental protection and social justice.
Over the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement that I have received from Green Party members right across the country.
Green party members are looking for a leader who can modernize the party by bringing in a bold, progressive, ecosocialist platform that reflects the scientific consensus on climate change while standing up for social justice.
Over the past six and a half years I have rebuilt the Green Party of Quebec from the ground up. Under my leadership we have adopted a highly progressive platform that addresses the climate crisis but also systemic inequality, the fight against racism and a variety of very important issues.
Together we have drastically increased the representation of women in the organization from just over 20% of the candidates in the election before I took office to 58% women candidates in the 2018 provincial election.
Not just that but we have greatly increased the representation of minority groups and youth within the organization not just through outreach but by adopting policies and principles that resonate with them. In the 2018 provincial election the average age of Green Party of Quebec candidates was just 34 years old.
Over the years I have proven my ability to mobilize youth, women and minorities to take up active roles in politics. I am proud of the work we have done in the Green Party of Quebec and I want to bring this proven approach to the Green Party of Canada because there is so much potential to build the Green Party of Canada into a popular movement that addresses not just the environment but all issues in Canadian politics from a progressive perspective.
The reality is that the world is facing a crisis and the solutions to this crisis can be found in the voices of the new youth lead climate movement which is demanding rapid and radicle changes.
The time for nuanced policies, approaches and political campaigning is behind us. Together we must put forward bold and uncompromising proposals backed by a diverse team of candidates.
That is why I am proposing that the Green Party of Canada adopt the Green New Deal that I have outlined on my website pvq.qc.ca
The Green New Deal is a term that was developed originally by the Green Party of England and that has been used by the Green Party of the United States for over a decade to define a bold ecosocialist platform.
The term New Deal is a reference to US President Rosevelt’s post depression New Deal which saw massive government investments in infrastructure, social security as well as in culture.
More recently the term Green New deal has been popularized by congresswomen Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, who at age 29 is shaking up the political establishment in Washington. I hope to do the same in Canada and within the Green Party of Canada.
The version of the Green New deal that I am presenting in unique to my leadership campaign. I wrote it after consulting and comparing various versions of the Green New Deal, by adapting the proposals to Canada and by incorporating elements of the Green Party of Quebec’s 2018 platform titled Le Nouveau Plan Vert.
The Green New Deal I am proposing includes a commitment to a 10 year WWII scale mobilization to transition to renewable energy while rapidly reducing consumption of both energy and goods.
The Green New Deal proposes to increase taxes on the rich, big business, multinationals, carbon emissions and mining corporations. It proposes to link all major cities in Canada by high-speed electric rail while making massive investments in green technology, public transit and energy efficiency. It calls for the creation of a series of new crown corporations that will manufacture and provide much of the hundreds of billions of dollars of equipment and services that we will need for a speedy energy transition. These crown corporations and other economic activity generated by the transition will enable the Government of Canada to offer a job guarantee for all fossil fuel dependent jobs which are phased out or abolished during the energy transition.
The Green New Deal approaches policy from an intersectional perspective and is based on the premise that Social Justice and Environmental protection are inherently linked and inseparable.
Although these proposals will be costly, we have no choice but to act. We need to do everything we can to leave the next generations with a planet that is inhabitable and that will continue to support human life. Although there are many revenue sources outlined in my plan, we should not be afraid of incurring deficits in order to pay for the energy transition and public infrastructure.
If we are to choose between leaving future generations with a financial debt or an environmental debt, I will always choose financially because the environment and the planet are priceless! Financial debts can be repaid. The Green Party of Canada needs to abandon the principle of “fiscal conservatism” and embrace the level of change that youth, activists and scientists say is necessary and urgent.
The Green New Deal calls for a reduction of military spending and reorienting the military to peacekeeping, search and rescue and non-combat operations from a pacifist world view. It calls for our foreign policy decisions to be based on human rights. It calls for our country to focus on tackling social inequalities and climate justice now; not 25 years down the road when it will be too late.
It calls for an environmental bill of rights and a constitutional amendment that will guarantee access to clean air, water, housing and healthy food to all Canadians regardless of socio-economic status or location.
As many of you know, Canada is a colonial state and we have huge problems with systemic racism towards the Indigenous peoples of this land. The fact that a country as rich as Canada is not giving indigenous communities access to clean drinking water, basic housing, education or healthcare is a disgrace. It makes me ashamed to be a Canadian. We have to take collective responsibility for the actions of the Canadian government and say enough is enough. We will no longer be complacent in this ongoing blatant racism being conducted towards indigenous people in out names.
That is why the Green New Deal calls for decolonization, the recognition of indigenous sovereignty, institutions and traditions while lifting all indigenous communities in this country out of poverty by guaranteeing access to healthy food, housing, education and healthcare to every indigenous person in this land regardless of location or socio-economic status. We are standing on unseeded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka. As Canadians we have a responsibility to stop the Canadian Genocide by tackling inequality, by putting an end to racism in our police forces and institutions while engaging in meaningful reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
The federation is 154 years old and this is our legacy; a society that allows institutional racism to flourish while extracting copious amounts of natural resources with little to no respect for the environment, the planet of future generations. The time to act to correct these problems and injustices is now. That Is why I am in politics. I want to reinject new, positive energy into a democratic system that is dominated by insiders, the elite and special interests.
As a young progressive activist who is deeply engaged in party politics people often ask me what it’s like on the « inside ». Why it is so hard to find sincere and passionate politicians like me who actually care about the issues and the best interests of the population. Why is it that we continue to allow the system to continue destroying the environment and limiting progress on social issues?
Why does our political system keep turning in circles while the ice is melting and the oceans are rising?
During my six years at the helm of the Green Party of Quebec I have been subjected to tremendous pressure to take positions on issues that are unethical and against my values. There has been pressure to turn a blind eye to the killing of innocent Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. There has been pressure to support pipelines, to support refineries, to support « clean » natural gas. There has been pressure to allow Islamophobia, racism and discrimination to enter the politics of the Green Party of Québec. There has been pressure to undermine my very own values, morals and principles.
Many people who go into politics with sincere objectives of implementing progressive change are pressured or forced to quiet down, to give up on their values and to compromise. Often the very same people who go into politics hoping to make change are the ones who end up advocating for the very status quo they once vowed to defeat.
Where does it come from?
There is an incredible network of people who are advocating on behalf of special interests, unethical projects, or who are even involved with war-time efforts to gain Canadian support for the killing of innocent people overseas. They exert pressure at every possible moment. Sometimes the pressure is public, sometimes it happens behind closed doors.
What makes me different than many other politicians is that I have always resisted and fought back against such unethical requests and demands. I have never given in to the special interests, the threats or the comfort that comes with being a part of the system. I am an activist. I am in politics carrying out a mission to implement progressive change in this country. I will never give in. I will never surrender. I will never be complacent in the destruction of the environment, the killings of innocent civilians or the exploitation of the Alberta Tar Sands.
Standing up to the special interests is not something I enjoy doing but it is necessary if we are going to make progress in this country. It is necessary if we are going to take a stand for the environment. It is necessary if we actually want to achieve world peace. We need to come together now and take on this system that is killing the environment and decimating social justice while enriching the business class, the multinationals and the major corporations.
We need to stand together in the streets, in our institutions and in our political parties to say no to outside interests, pressure and manipulation that keep us from achieving the work we set out to accomplish.
The Green Party of Canada has so much potential to be an uncompromising voice for progressive change in Canada. Together we have the chance to shake up Canadian politics with bold proposals and a positive vision for the future.
Through this campaign I will travel Canada coast to coast several times over to meet with Green Party members, supporters and activists to both hear their ideas and to share my vision for the future of our party and of Canada.
Running for the leadership of a national political party is no small task. It requires time, energy and travel. It’s a big job but I am ready for it. Through my political career I have always defended the same progressive values and policies and starting today people can browse and search all of my political declarations since 2012 on my website pvq.qc.ca
Over the next few months I hope to earn the trust and support of Green Party members and Canadians across the country to lead both the party and the nation into the future. People know where I stand and they can count on me to deliver progressive change in Canada. As an activist and as a Green Party leader, I have spoken out against mining projects, deforestation, the Alberta tar sands, fracking, bulk water exports, overconsumption, social inequality, neoliberal austerity, racism and much, much more.
Canada needs more outspoken environmentalists and social justice advocates in politics. The Green Party needs a young experienced bilingual leader with a track record of success who can modernize the party, mobilize youth all while putting forward bold policies and a progressive vision for the future of Canada. I hope to be that person. I am in this to win it but this campaign is not about me. It’s about the policies, principles and values that I stand for. And I believe that if elected as leader the Green Party will be able to overtake the NDP and the Liberals in the coming years as the electorate searches for new options and a new way forward for the country.
When Elizabeth May resigned from the leadership in November, I wanted to take the time to consult the Green Party of Quebec membership on my candidacy and the implications for the provincial party.
After careful consideration, the party’s provincial executive granted me permission to run in the federal leadership race under certain conditions such as not using provincial Green resources for the federal campaign as required by Elections Canada. I have signed a formal agreement with the executive under which my responsibilities in the provincial party will be slightly reduced for the duration of the federal leadership race.
In the event that I become the next leader of the Green Party of Canada, the Green Party of Quebec Provincial Council will appoint an interim leader. A permanent leader would be elected at our next policy convention scheduled for June 4-6 2021 in Montreal following a one-member-one-vote leadership race. In the event that I remain in the Quebec leadership following the federal leadership race, a vote of confidence on my provincial leadership will be held in June of 2021. The choice of these convention dates was recently approved by a majority vote (95%) of the provincial council.
The leadership race will be demanding. It is a huge step for me as a young professional and I intend to pursue this campaign to the fullest while ensuring that the Green Party of Quebec continues to grow and develop its membership, influence and platform. It’s also an excellent opportunity for the Green Party of Quebec to popularize other excellent and dedicated members of our team who have dedicated themselves to this cause for years.
That is why I have decided to appoint two deputy leaders for the duration of the federal leadership race. Two remarkable individuals who I have had the time and privilege to work with over the past two years. Two individuals who I know and trust. Two individuals who are capable of keeping the Green Party of Quebec at the forefront of the movement for environmental protection and social justice. Please welcome Alice Sécheresse and Halimatou Bah!
Alice Sécheresse is completing a Bachelor’s degree in International Development, Environment and African Studies at McGill University. She ran as a candidate in the riding of Gouin in the 2018 provincial election and has been the Quebec Green Party spokesperson for the status of women for over a year. Halimatou Bah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Université du Québec à Montréal, a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a certificate in program evaluation from the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP). She was the Green Party of Quebec candidate in the riding of Saint-Laurent in the 2018 provincial election and has been the Green Party of Quebec’s family spokesperson since last year.
As deputy leaders of the Green Party of Quebec, Alice Sécheresse and Halimatou Bah will continue their fight for greater respect for the environment, a more equitable distribution of wealth, and gender equality. Together, they will ensure that the Green Party of Quebec remains at the forefront of the environmental movement and I am very happy to have them on our team! »