Greens enter crowded election field
The Yukon Greens plan to field a limited number of candidates in the upcoming territorial election,
Photo by Vince Fedoroff
GOING GREEN – Kristina Calhoun and Mike Ivens of the territorial Green Party talk to the media early Wednesday afternoon at the Yukon government main administration building.
The Yukon Greens plan to field a limited number of candidates in the upcoming territorial election, say interim co-leaders of the territory’s newest political party, registered with Elections Yukon at the end of February.
“Our stance right now is that we will have at least two candidates in order to keep that requirement (of official party status),” Kristina Calhoun, who currently shares the leadership post with Mike Ivens, said Wednesday.
“Anything above and beyond that is welcome, but our focus right now is to get the best candidates, so if the best candidates are two or three people, then we’d rather have that than five or six not-so-hot candidates.”
Which ridings the Yukon Green Party would target in the next election, which must be called no later than Oct. 14, 2011, and the party’s policy and platform remain to be seen.
“I think we can make an impression on a lot of communities and a lot of ridings, but I don’t think we’ve picked a specific two just yet,” said Calhoun.
Two potential candidates have also expressed interest in running, but the co-leaders did not release these names.
Ivens said his hope is that by establishing the Yukon Green Party, potential candidates and supporters will volunteer their services.
“It’s not a matter of us picking candidates and trying to fit them into the communities, it’s a matter of the individual communities telling us they’d like somebody to run with our philosophy and our politics,” he said.
The co-leaders held a brief press conference in the foyer of the government administration building early Wednesday afternoon and were joined by approximately a dozen supporters.
Ivens, a 40-year resident of the Yukon, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating the Yukon Greens from other parties.
In his opening remarks, he declared that the global “Green” movement is neither left-wing nor right-wing but, “a new way of doing politics from the grassroots up.”
But getting that message out to Yukon voters who might view the fledgling political party as a one-issue, environmentalist movement could prove challenging.
“One of the issues that we’re going to have to deal with is that we’re not a left-wing party,” Ivens said before addressing a question on drawing votes away from the Yukon New Democrats.
“The splitting the vote – we have support from every political party already, from some parties more than others ... (but) key targets we’re trying to reach are people who don’t vote, who don’t belong to a political party because none satisfies what they want to see in politics.”
Calhoun said the Yukon Green Party “is much more than a one-issue party.”
Ivens said positive inroads the federal Green Party has made, nationwide and in the Yukon, would be a boon to the territorial Green Party, but the new political party would have to rely on its own sweat equity to succeed.
“It’s quite clear that we have our own turf, as it were, we have our own row to hoe,” he said.
While the prospect of simultaneous federal and territorial elections remains a possibility, Calhoun said she is not concerned that resources would be stretched in such a scenario.
“We’re not trying to be overly ambitious; we’re just trying to go with our minimum required candidates,” she said.
“If there is a federal election, I plan to throw myself into that and we just hope if that’s reversed, that (support) will go the other way.”