Green party's federal nominees in Vancouver hampered by lack of name recognition

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      Yesterday, the federal Greens nominated a candidate in Vancouver Quadra to challenge incumbent Liberal MP Joyce Murray.

      Murray could be vulnerable in this riding, which includes UBC's Point Grey campus, because her government decided to spend $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline system from Texas-based Kinder Morgan.

      Last week, the federal cabinet agreed to proceed with a $9.3-billion pipeline expansion project that will result in about 400 oil tankers per year travelling through the waters off Vancouver Quadra.

      Murray, as the president of the Treasury Board and minister of digital government, is bound by cabinet solidarity to support this decision.

      This looks like an ideal opportunity for the Greens.

      But their newly minted candidate in Vancouver Quadra, Geoff Wright, has virtually no name recognition.

      Today, I did a Google search for "Geoff Wright Green Party" and nothing came up.

      As of this writing, there's no mention of his nomination on the Canadian Greens' Twitter feed.

      Wright's name also doesn't yet appear on the Greens' Vancouver Quadra website.

      Naturally, there's been no media coverage.

      However, his name did appear on a Wikipedia list of candidates in the upcoming federal election.

      This was thanks to a tweet by a person who lost the Green nomination in Vancouver Quadra: teacher Françoise Raunet.

      Raunet has a slightly higher public profile after having run once as a provincial Green candidate in Vancouver–Point Grey and a second time for city council as an independent.

      Meanwhile, the Green Party of Canada will nominate another candidate in Vancouver Kingsway this evening. The meeting will take place at a Vancouver housing co-op.

      Whoever is chosen will be going up against two candidates with extremely high name recognition: three-term NDP incumbent Don Davies and former CTV News at Six anchor Tamara Taggart, who's running for the Liberals.

      Each of their nomination meetings were well-attended, raucous, and included appearances by their federal leaders, Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau.

      In Vancouver East, the Greens have nominated vegan and animal-welfare advocate, community volunteer, and server and bartender Bridget Burns to run against the NDP's Jenny Kwan.

      Whereas Burns is not someone who turns up frequently in the media, Kwan has been in the public eye for a quarter of a century.

      After nearly 26 years as a local, provincial, and federal politician, the NDP's Jenny Kwan will be one of the best known candidates in Vancouver in the upcoming federal election.
      Jenny Kwan

      The Vancouver East MP was first being elected as a city councillor in November 1993, graduated to provincial politics in 1996 as the MLA for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant, and then won a tough nomination fight in Vancouver East before being elected as an MP in 2015.

      Meanwhile in Vancouver Centre, the Greens are running Jesse Brown. He's the executive director of Vancouver Friends for Life Society and a former volunteer and educator at YouthCo.

      While Brown may have a lot to offer, he's not nearly as well known as the incumbent, Liberal Hedy Fry, who's the longest-serving female MP in Parliament.

      She was elected in Vancouver Centre in 1993.

      And it's very likely that the NDP will nominate a candidate in Vancouver Centre who also has a much higher public profile than Brown.

      Former Vancouver–False Creek NDP candidate and trans activist Morgane Oger is among those waiting to be authorized by the NDP to seek the nomination.

      So far, the Greens have not lured any of its most famous Vancouver members—such as Vancouver park board chair Stuart Mackinnon or Vancouver councillor Adriane Carr—to attempt a leap to the federal stage.

      Coun. Adriane Carr has run as a federal candidate in the past in Vancouver Centre, but she didn't put her name forward this year.
      Stephen Hui

      No high-profile environmental activists involved in the fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline have been nominated as Green candidates in Vancouver.

      This is going to hamper the Greens' chances in what could be a breakthrough election for them.

      Inexperienced candidates are usually not as adept as their more experienced counterparts when it comes to fundraising, which is crucial for getting a message out in a campaign.

      To be fair, the Greens don't have nearly as much money as other parties to operate a party infrastructure that lets the media know when candidates have been nominated.

      And perhaps the Green brand is sufficient to pull a fair number of votes, as was demonstrated in the last Vancouver election when people with low public profiles, like Dave Demers and Lois Pedley-Chan, were elected at the local level.

      But it's surprising that the party hasn't nominated anyone at the federal level who's ever been elected—let alone who's known by many in the media—in a city as green as Vancouver.