Green Party candidate John Kidder and his wife, party leader Elizabeth May, were in Mission last week as part of Kidder’s tour through the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding.
Kidder is the Green candidate in the riding in the upcoming federal election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019.
He will be trying to unseat current MP Jati Sidhu (Liberal), who will be seeking re-election. Other announced candidates vying for the local MP seat are Brad Vis (Conservative) and Julius N. Csaszar (Peoples Party of Canada).
Kidder said he knows that the riding is a challenge, considering the size and the amount of communities.
“It’s a good chunk of territory,” he said with a laugh.
However, he added Green supporters are volunteering throughout the riding to help spread the message.
“We’re getting a pretty good team starting to build now, here in Mission and up in what the other contestants call the northern part of the riding, as if it were somehow distinct.”
While Kidder is using social media as a tool to communicate with voters, he is also planning on doing a series of drop-in meetings during the campaign to hear what the contentious issues are.
One subject that always comes up is local transportation.
He said as Mission keeps growing, and there are no rapidly expanding services to get people back and forth to Vancouver, he hears more and more concerns.
He said because Mission is, more or less, a bedroom community, they are more aware of the transportation challenges of getting to larger urban areas like Vancouver.
“So you have all those travel issues, you’ve got housing issues … At the same time you have a connection to a strong forestry and agricultural resource space which is, to some extent, being a bit harmed by all the things we know about climate change,” he said.
Kidder believes that Mission is the key to winning the riding.
“I obviously have to focus a lot of effort on Mission. There is no question about that. If one doesn’t actually attract voters in Mission, one does not win this riding. It’s pretty clear. At the same time, the smaller communities in the northern part of the riding seldom get any attention at all.”
Last election, the Green Party did not fare well in the voting. Liberal Jati Sidhu won the riding with 16,625 votes while the Green Party candidate, Arthur Green, finished fourth with 2,293 votes.
However, Kidder said the public’s view on the Green Party is “changing pretty rapidly.”
“The nature of the urgency of the climate crisis is coming to people’s hearts and minds all across this riding and across the country as well.”
Elizabeth May said the goal going into every election is to form government and “it could happen, but I’d be amazed.”
Realistically, she has another goal.
“For the health of our democracy, what I’m really hoping is that Canadians turn out in larger numbers than ever and everybody votes for what they want. Get rid of the notion that I have to vote for a party I don’t like very much to avoid the party I like least of all,” May said.
She believes if everybody votes for what they want, considering there will be at least five national parties on every ballot, there will be a minority government.
“And Greens should have enough seats to play a significant influential role.”
Currently, the Green Party has only two seats in Parliament – May in Saanich-Gulf Islands and Paul Manly, MP of Nanaimo-Ladysmith – both in B.C. and both on Vancouver Island.
May believes this time, the Greens could win seats in the Maritimes as well as Ontario. She also thinks the party could have a “Jack Layton” moment in Quebec.
“That orange wave that rolled in, in 2011, is going to completely recede in 2019 … We have a real potential for major gain in Quebec.”
She also said she feels Kidder will win here.