Twelve is the magic number the Greens are hoping for in this year’s federal election.
That’s a dozen Green MPs after the votes are counted.
Twelve gets the Green Party of Canada official party status in the House of Commons. That means parliamentary funding for research, and more chances to be recognized during question period.
A dozen MPs may not sound a lot, but in a minority government, that number would wield tremendous influence.
According to former national deputy leader and now Vancouver Green councillor Adriane Carr, getting 12 Green MPs elected is achievable.
“It could be incredibly important that the party, the Green party, holds those 12 seats,” Carr told the Straight in a phone interview.
With recent successes at all three levels of government in B.C., Carr believes that 2015 is going to be a breakout year for the Greens not just in the province but across the country as well.
“I think there will be a bigger breakthrough,” Carr said.
Carr and the Vancouver Greens are the latest success story.
In last year’s municipal election, four of the seven Green candidates were voted in at all three levels of civic governance. Carr won a second term on council and she received the most votes among candidates for council.
“B.C. has been at the leading edge of breakthroughs in Green politics, and I expect the same thing federally,” Carr said about Green prospects in the 2015 national election.
It was in B.C. that Elizabeth May became Canada’s first Green MP in 2011. In the same year, Carr was elected to her first term in Vancouver council. In 2013, B.C. elected its first Green MLA, Andrew Weaver. In the 2014 municipal election, Vancouver voters elected the largest Green caucus in the country so far.
“It’s just a signal that the electorate is looking at Greens in a whole new way, looking at us as really important representatives of people,” Carr said, “and they just like fairness and transparency and democracy as well as obviously raising issues around the environment, global warming, sustainability that I think are top of mind for most Canadians.”
“I think we’re going to see a lot of people saying, ‘It’s time to get the Greens a chance,’” Carr also said about 2015.
Although Carr is busy with Vancouver civic affairs and not on top of the federal Green campaign, the city councillor indicated that the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are where she expects the national Greens to have a bumper harvest.
“The polling has been strong especially on the West Coast, here in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island,” she said. “I’m expecting that this where we’re going to see, you know, the election of a Green caucus federally.”
There are currently two Green MPs: May and Bruce Hyer, the representative from Thunder Bay-Superior North who left the NDP in 2012 and sat initially as an independent before joining the Greens in 2013.
Vancouver Green park commissioner Stuart Mackinnon is not involved much with the federal party.
But according to Mackinnon, he’ll support Green national candidates in Vancouver, knocking on doors or mainstreeting especially in Vancouver South where he lives.
Mackinnon also indicated that he’ll give a day or two for the campaign of Lynn Quarmby, an SFU scientist who was arrested in 2014 during protests against the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project, and is now candidate for the new riding of Burnaby North-Seymour.
The Green park commissioner also said that Quarmby and former Whistler mayor Ken Melamed are two “stellar candidates”. Melamed is running in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, a riding held by Conservative MP John Weston. Former West Vancouver mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones is running for the Liberals in this riding.
Suggesting that the Green wave in B.C. provides good momentum going into this year’s national election, Mackinnon told the Straight by phone: “The success of the Greens in general in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island bodes well for the federal party in the election.”