Vancouver councillor Pete Fry says Green Party of Canada made “strategic” blunder in B.C.
When sought about how the Green Party of Canada did in the election, Vancouver city councillor Pete Fry prefaced his comments by explaining how Greens relate to each other.
“As Greens, we’re all kind of like cousins,” Fry, a member of the municipal Green Party of Vancouver, told the Straight by phone.
“So we’re part of the same family, but we don’t always know what the other one is doing,” the councillor explained.
Fry identifies as a Green, and he believes he’s a member of the federal party but not active in it.
That said, Fry addressed the question of how he thinks the Green Party of Canda should move forward after the September 20 federal election.
For context, the Greens lost one of the two B.C. ridings it won in 2019.
Paul Manly was unable to hold his seat in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
However, former party leader Elizabeth May kept Saanich-Gulf Islands, and she will return to Ottawa for a fourth time.
Meanwhile, Mike Morrice won the party’s first federal seat in Ontario in Kitchener Centre.
This means that the Greens will send two representatives to the House of Commons.
As for Annamie Paul, the leader of the Green Party lost her third attempt to win Toronto Centre.
Fry commented: “There’s been a lot of talk and speculation last night and today (Tuesday, September 21) about a leadership review, and I think that’s entirely appropriate.”
Fry acknowledged that there were “certainly a lot of challenges” that the federal party faced.
These include the “short time line on getting this [election] together” as well as the “internal squabbling” that has rocked the party.
“But I think the leader could have done a better job engaging Greens, bringing people together, motivating candidates and voters, which you know I didn’t see,” Fry said.
Fry noted that there is a lot of support for Greens in Vancouver, as evidenced by the strong presence of elected Greens in all civic levels, from council to park board and school board.
He also pointed out there are other elected Greens in British Columbia, including at the provincial level.
“There should have been more attention and resources put to some of our strengths, and I think that there was probably too much focus on a clearly unwinabble riding in Toronto Centre,” Fry said, “and that was a strategic misstep, and we see how it played out.”
Adam Pankratz is a former Liberal Party candidate in Burnaby South, and he is currently a lecturer at UBC.
Pankratz is one of the election experts made available by the university for comments about the election.
When asked the same question as Fry about the way forward for the Greens, Pankratz told the Straight by phone that it’s “pretty simple”.
“They need to sort out their internal problems,” Pankratz said. “The Green Party this election had no coherent message; they had a leader that didn’t really leave Toronto; they were missing candidates in ridings; [and] they were beset by internal strife leading into the election.”
“You can’t run a party that way,” Pankratz added.
Both Fry and Pankratz indicated that it’s too early to tell whether Morrice is the future of the Green Party.
Pankratz said: “It’s possible. He would represent a move away from them being nearly a West Coast party.”
“It’s potentially positive,” the UBC lecturer also said about Morrice, “but, you know, that’s what they thought with Annamie Paul and that did not work out well.”
For his part, Fry doesn’t know much about Morrice, but is thrilled about the latter’s victory in Kitchener Centre.
“New blood is always important,” the Vancouver councillor said.
However, he also said that a “white male face is not necessarily the future of the Green Party”.
“I think that the Green Party needs to continue striving towards diversity and equity,” Fry added. “He’s one of the faces of the future for sure.”