Rana Nelson of Revelstoke has taken up the standard for the Green Party of Canada in Kootenay-Columbia, running for Parliament in the 44th Federal Election set for Sept. 20.
The Green Party was appealing to Nelson because of their six core values: sustainability, non-violence, social justice, ecological wisdom, participatory democracy and respect for diversity. Now that the campaign is underway, she’s taking these core values — and the Green Party platform — to the voters of southeast B.C., with a mix of one-on-one conversations, print literature, and social media.
“I much prefer face-to-face connections, so I’ve been out doorknocking, to farmers’ markets, and will be at various events,” she said.
“This summer underscores the climate crisis,” Nelson continued. “We need to move fossil-fuel subsidies to green energy, bring oil and gas workers along in that shift, and stop clearcutting old growth to bring down our planetary fever. We need to renegotiate our social contract: lack of affordable housing and childcare, a living wage, and reconciliation are issues throughout the region, and resolving these requires strong citizen interaction with all levels of government.”
Nelson said most people she’s been talking to say that it’s time for real action on climate change.
“One young mom, who is now volunteering with me, told me that she is voting Green because she’s terrified of the future for her children if governments continue to do nothing. We MUST decrease our CO2 emissions to meet our climate targets — so far, emissions keep climbing. Canada needs to be a leader in climate action and set an example for other countries to follow. We have the technology; we need governments to act. When we clean up our air, water, and soil, we will reap the benefits in all areas of our lives.”
Kootenay-Columbia is a huge, widespread riding, which brings challenges for any candidate covering its breadth during a campaign. Nelson’s strategy: “Communicate, communicate, communicate.”
“In addition to travelling around the region for in-person meetings, I’m responding to questions by email and on social media, reaching out to the Indigenous communities in the riding, sending out a letter by direct mail, and will be hosting regular Zoom meetings.
I’m grateful to the Kootenay-Columbia Electoral District Association and all of the volunteers for putting up signs, doorknocking, phoning voters, introducing me to their friends, family, and neighbours, and for general moral support!
“And I’m getting mostly positive support [from the public], as well as appreciation for running.”
There has been some turbulence at Green Party leadership levels this year, with discord between Party leader Annamie Paul and some of the party executive. Nelson says she gets asked about events at the national level.
“The Green Party is still grassroots, which means that decisions are made at the membership level,” she said. “As after any election, we will conduct a leadership review within six months. The party is focusing now on electing as many Greens as possible, which we feel is the best way to achieve real climate action, and that has always been our goal.”
Nelson feels that for real change, there needs to be a different measure of success.
“GDP (Gross Domestic Product) measures ‘things produced,’ which gives no information about whether a country’s citizens are healthy, happy, housed, fed, or educated.
“Putting people first rather than things, we could calculate, say, GDH (Great Domestic Health) where we would be measuring the level of ‘people thriving.’
“Similarly, our economy is based on the fallacy of infinite resources, and our industry and behaviours operate that same way — in a model of exploitation. If we base our economy on the truth of finite resources, then we open up the possibilities to ways of working and being that operate within our planetary boundaries to care for our Earth and each other.”
Nelson is running against NDP candidate Wayne Stetski, Liberal Party candidate Robin Goldsbury, and incumbent MP Rob Morrison from the Conservative Party.