Green Party sprouts two heads
Ian Stewart/Yukon News
The Yukon has a territorial Green Party.
It might not have a website or platform, but it has two leaders.
Co-leaders Mike Ivens and Kristina Calhoun introduced themselves at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We work really well together,” said Ivens, a longtime Yukoner and retired civil servant. “We’re representing the party, we’re not ideologues who are just going to lead the party our way.”
There was no representation from the federal Yukon Green Party at the event. And while they do share a similar philosophy, it’s important that people understand they are separate parties, said Calhoun, a former federal Green Party CEO.
“We’re going to produce candidates locally, and they’re going to be speaking about a totally different set of issues,” she said.
The party was officially registered with Elections Yukon last month, but is a long way from being prepared for an election.
The first priority is developing a platform.
“We’re going to be developing policy in an ongoing fashion, so we have to consult among our membership,” said Ivens.
They hope to have a platform in place in three to six months,” said Calhoun. “But we’ll have that ready if we hear that there is an election.”
The party also must choose an executive and draft a constitution. They’re working on it, said Ivens.
The Yukon Greens probably won’t field candidates in all territorial ridings, he said. But they must nominate at least two candidates in the next election to keep the party registered.
“We want the candidates to be nominated by the communities. We don’t want to force our choices on them,” said Calhoun.
“What we’re trying to establish is not just representative democracy, where you elect someone every four or five years, but participatory democracy, where people feel engaged with the government,” said Ivens.
When asked about the possibility the new party could potentially split the left, Calhoun said they are looking to tap disillusioned voters.
“We’re not after the left votes, we’re after the nonvoters,” she said.
“I think the whole idea of splitting the vote comes from a sense of entitlement, that these are our votes and you’re taking them away from us,” said Ivens. “I think a lot of people park their vote with a party because it’s the least worst option.”
The Green Party shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as left wing, they said.
They support fiscal conservatism, a right-wing ideal, they note.
“We’re definitely for Yukon development,” said Ivens. “What we’re against is the quick firesale of resources simply to balance next year’s budget.”
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