I spent many years covering Vancouver city council. And in that time, I saw countless thoughtful citizens show up at City Hall to offer their views on a wide range of municipal issues.
Sometimes, they would wait for hours to speak for five minutes at a council committee meeting or a public hearing on something that concerned them.
They often spent a great deal of time preparing their remarks. This was to ensure they could make the most of those opportunities to speak to elected politicians.
To me, these folks are the true warriors for democracy in our city. And some of them have had ties to the Green party over the years.
Cycling advocate Richard Campbell, for example, has regularly provided intelligent comments on transportation.
Another one, John Whistler, has a deep understanding of neighbourhood democracy and the importance of campaign-finance reform. Both Campbell and Whistler have run as Green candidates at the municipal level.
Another former Green candidate, Bev Ballantyne, has been an outspoken advocate for pedestrians and animals in her presentations to council over the years.
Scott Nelson, another person who has had ties with the party, has demonstrated a keen interest in civic issues over the years.
But in all that time, I never saw Green Party of Canada deputy leader Adriane Carr show up in the Vancouver council chamber on a municipal issue of concern. (To be fair, I also never saw Mayor Gregor Robertson's face inside City Hall before he was elected mayor in 2008.)
Carr might have spoken at events I didn't cover. But I don't recall seeing her over the years—and I attended a lot of committee meetings.
The only time Carr demonstrated much interest to me in Vancouver municipal politics was in 2003 when she opposed the city hosting the Winter Olympics. In those days, she was leading the B.C. Greens.
Yet the Greens have indicated that Carr—and not regular council watchers such as Campbell, Whistler, Ballantyne, or Nelson—could be the only person running for the party for city council in the November election.
To me, it smacks of bringing in the most famous name, but not necessarily the most qualified candidate.
I'm not denigrating Carr's accomplishments in other areas. When she worked for the Wilderness Committee, she played a significant role in saving old-growth forests from the chainsaw. She also spent a great deal of time trying to warn people about the downside of hosting the Olympics.
I just haven't seen much evidence that she shares the same level of passion for local land-use planning, municipal garbage collection, and myriad other issues that a city council has to address.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.