It was a bittersweet night for the Yukon Green Party.
Thrilling, because leader Elizabeth May won a seat in Parliament. Disappointing, because the Yukon’s Green candidate, John Streicker, placed third, with 3,037 votes.
That’s more votes than last election, and the second-best showing for the Green Party nationally. But it’s still not enough.
“I’m disappointed for us in our own riding because we wanted to win, and we worked towards that,” said candidate John Streicker. “But I’m happy for our leader.
“It’s completely mixed, I’m up and down.”
While the Green Party finally has a seat in Parliament, their proportion of the national vote fell to 3.9 per cent, from 6.8 per cent last election.
Streicker wasn’t surprised that his party lost ground nationally because they were blocked from participating in televised debates.
“The debate cost us votes,” said Streicker. “The whole of the media tuned out on us.”
The dramatic surge that Jack Layton and the NDP got from his performance at the debates is proof of the effect that exposure can have, he said.
“Elizabeth May is smart, and she can debate, but we were denied that opportunity,” said Streicker.
When the news broke that May won her riding, the crowd cheered.
People hugged. Some were even moved to tears.
“It’s very exciting,” said Streicker. “This is only the second time in history, ever, that a Green Party candidate has been elected in a first past-the-post system.”
Before that moment of celebration, most of the crowd had stared grimly at the television news reports announcing a Conservative majority.
“It’s shocking. There’s no other way to describe it,” said J.P. Pinard. “I can’t believe we voted someone in who denies climate change.”
The wind energy expert and Green Party supporter was dismayed.
“I guess they just accepted their message of fear.”
The Green Party was the only party that wasn’t fearmongering, said Streicker.
“I feel proud to say that we ran our campaign the way that we feel we want politics to be,” he said. “We’re advocating the politics of vision.”
With the Conservatives now representing the Yukon, Streicker was already defending himself against anticipated accusations that he split the left-leaning vote.
“I know as a matter of fact that there were lots of people that voted for Larry that wanted to vote for us and did not,” he said. “If we don’t vote for what we believe in, we’ll never create the world we want.”
With a hard-fought campaign finally over, Streicker wouldn’t say exactly what was next for him politically.
“My plans first are just to reconnect with my wife and actually take some time to be with her.”
While the Conservative victory dampened spirits a little, it didn’t stop the Green Party from celebrating.
Once the televisions were turned off, and the band started playing, the dancing began.
“We do have the best dancers,” said Streicker.
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