WEST CARLETON – Andrew West has represented the Green Party in Kanata-Carleton in three separate elections. Now he’s taking his shot at the party’s national leadership.
Shortly after the federal election on Oct. 21, 2019 former Green Party leader Elizabeth May announced she was stepping down from the role (Nov. 4, 2019). Last May, West announced he would bid to fill that role.
Ottawa-based lawyer West is well known in the West Carleton running as a candidate in the riding in the 2014 and 2018 provincial election and the 2015 federal election. Like any other candidate who isn’t either a Conservative of Liberal, he didn’t find a lot of success in the riding, but he continues to battle for the Green Party.
He sat on the Kanata-Carleton Green Party executive for a number of years, ran for the Green Party in the Ottawa-Orléans Riding by-election last February (won by former city councillor Stephen Blais under the Liberal banner) and, since 2015, acts as the Attorney General Critic for the Green Party.
West has been a committed Green Party teammate for a long time.
West spoke with West Carleton Online Thursday, June 18 to discuss his time in West Carleton and his leadership bid.
“I want to help as many people as possible,” West said, as to why he’s running.
He hopes his vast experience representing the party will help.
“I hope that helps,” West said. “I have a long-term commitment to the Green Party. I’m not new to the party. I’ve worked my way up and the Green Party is the party I cut my political teeth on. I truly believe in the Green Party and what it stands for.”
And West says the party’s goals should be high.
“Our goal should be forming government,” he said.
West says West Carleton is a great example of why the Green Party is so important.
“Kanata-Carleton is an example of the environmental issues we’re currently facing,” he said. “Climate change is truly affecting our weather and you can see that impact in Kanata-Carleton.”
West is of course referring to the 2018 tornado as well as extreme flooding in the area in 2017 and 2019.
“Hopefully, people can see this is the time for the Green Party,” he said.
But the Green Party is not a one-trick pony West says.
“We have a full platform and an opinion on every policy,” he said.
West says some of the keys of the Green Party campaign includes the economy, jobs and trade. He says one of the strategies of the Green Party is to appeal to disillusioned former Conservative voters.
“There was a time Conservatives used to be at the top of environmental policy,” West said. “They stepped back with Stephen Harper and Doug Ford. Kanata-Carleton people tend to traditionally vote Conservative but have the environment at top of mind as well.”
West refers to environmental organization in West Carleton such as the Friends of the Carp Hills.
“The appetite for an alternative party is there,” he said.
Having said that, West agrees it is frustrating the party hasn’t made more headway in rural communities despite strong candidates. In the federal election last fall, Dunrobin’s Dr. Jennifer Purdy represented the Green Party in Kanata-Carleton. She was bright, articulate and not only knew her platform inside and out, also knew all the other candidate’s platforms as well. She’s a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces and a doctor with her own practice. Come election day, she was unable to attract many voters though.
“I’ve gotten that before,” West said. “You’re the smartest, you’re the most informed, but… My goal is to highlight all the great candidates we have. Not make it leader-focused but share all the amazing voices in the Green Party.”
The Green Partly leadership debates are today (June 23) starting at 3 p.m. They are being broadcast on TVOntario and can be livestreamed (or viewed later) here:
- Twitter: @TheAgenda
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAgenda/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AgendaStevePaikin
The new leader will be chosen on Oct. 4, and West will be a busy man until then.
“I’ll be getting to know more of the Green Party members across Canada,” West said. “Having some conversations and meeting some people and showing them I’m the best option to be the next leader.”
West doesn’t expect to see the minority government toppled before the leadership convention.
“I would like to think the minority government will last for a while,” he said. “The Conservatives need a leader too. There’s not much appetite from these two parties to bring down the government, but I’ll be ready to represent my party regardless.”
Other candidates running for the Green Party leadership include:
- Judy Green, a former candidate for the Greens in West-Nova, N.S.
- Amita Kuttner, a former candidate for the Greens in Burnaby North-Seymour, B.C.
- Dimitri Lascaris, a former candidate for the Greens in London West, Ont.
- David Merner, a 2019 candidate for the Greens in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, B.C.
- Glen Murray, a former Winnipeg mayor and Ontario Liberal cabinet minister
- Annamie Paul, a 2019 candidate for the Greens in Toronto Centre.
- Dylan Perceval-Maxwell, who ran multiple times as a federal candidate in Laurier—Sainte-Marie. Q.C.
- Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Green Party of Quebec.
West says you must be a card-carrying member of the Green Party to vote for the new leader and must be registered by Sept. 4. You can find more information on that process at andrewwest.ca.