I received this e-mail this morning. Can you tell I'm happy?
Thank you for running as a candidate for the Green Party and for changing Canadian politics forever!
I've also attached my press announcment that I will not be seeking re-election as leader. It has been an honour to serve this party.
I want to assure you that I am not resigning -- I will have an active role in the party either on the Campaign Committee, as a strategist, fundraiser, party spokesperson, or party pundit during the next election.
Charles Lynch Press Theatre, Centre Block, House of Commons
April 24, 2006 at 10:00 am
In 2002, I sought the leadership of the Green Party of Canada. And I have had the honour of leading the party through two federal elections.
Few Canadians would have imagined when I became leader that the Green Party would emerge as Canada’s fourth national party – the Bloc can’t truly be described as a national party, hence fourth.
In a few short years, the Green Party of Canada has come a very long way. It wasn’t that long ago that we were operating out of a member’s home, had not staff and an average annual budget of $25,000 a year. The Green Party now an office – and during an election offices in most major cities, we have 20 staff and up to 50 during an election, and our many of our candidates in their campaigns spent more during the 56 day election than the party used to spend in a year.
In 2004 and 2006, the party ran full slates in both elections. This is something the Reform Party was never able to achieve or the Canadian Alliance. We provided Canadians from coast to coast to coast with an alternative to politics as usual. We increased our support in 2004, and again in 2006. In fact, the 2006 election was the Green Party’s most successful ever. We made significant gains – winning 665,940 votes – an increase of 14.4% over 2004. Our vote in the 2006 election is truly remarkable.
Je suis extrêmement fier du Parti Vert. Nous avons augmenté notre part du scrutin de 35 % dans la belle province, ce qui signifie que, au Québec, nous sommes aujourd’hui au même niveau que le NPD en 2004. Le NPD a récolté 150 000 votes en 2004 alors que le Parti Vert du Canada en recueillait 147 000 en 2006.
Here’s a fun comparison: Take all the votes that Premier Pat Binns won in the last PEI general election, all the votes Premier Dennis Fentie won, all the votes that Premier Bernard Lord won, all the votes Premier John Hamm won in 2003, all the votes of Premier Paul Okalik, all the votes Premier Joseph Handley won, add to them all the votes Premier Lorne Calvert won in Saskatchewan, and you can even throw in all the votes the leader of the Opposition in Newfoundland won in the last provincial election – add all these together and the Green Party won more votes across Canada in 2006. In other words, the Green Party of Canada won more votes than 7 provincial/ territorial premiers combined along with those of the leader of the opposition of Newfoundland. When the Green Party federally has more support than 58% of Canada’s premiers we are thriving.
The Green Party has elected mayors, reeves and city councilors all across Canada.
I am proud to have led the Green Party which is part of an international political movement – Green Parties are organized in 70 nations, elected members of national assemblies in 30 countries and served in power in coalition governments in 7 nations.
Wendy Mesley’s diagnosis of cancer was a terrible personal crisis for her. Ms. Mesley went on to discover that one in every two Canadians will get cancer in their lives over the next 30 years, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Some 18 million kilograms of cancer causing agents – known, proven carcinogens are injected into our air and water every year. This isn’t anywhere on Mr. Harper’s top 5 priorities. We in the Green Party say this national cancer crisis is a failure of government.
The winds of change are blowing: One in every five Canadian children today has childhood asthma. Looking at the rates 30 years ago – and it was less than one in 50. From one in 50 to one in 5! This is a national crisis. Why are we using our children as the canary in the coal mines to tell us we have to change? Why is this national crisis not one of Mr. Harper’s five priorities? Are we going to wait until one in every 4 children has asthma before this becomes an issue for the Prime Minister? Are we going to wait until one in every 3 children has problems breathing before the old-line parties act? When every other child has asthma, will we then act will the media take the Green Party message seriously? Or will we wait until every child has asthma?
Why is it occurring? Because every year 4.3 billion – yes billion kilograms of respiratory toxins are injected into our air. Last year Toronto suffered more smog days than any other year on record. In fact the Ontario Medical Association issued a report in 2005 saying that every year 5,800 Ontarians will die prematurely because of smog related illness, that smog illnesses will generate 17,000 emergency room visits – in already crowded ERs and cost Ontario tax payers $7.8 billion on our health care system.
I am proud that the GPC has run 308 candidates in 2004 and 2006 – just 19 months apart – winning 1.25 million votes in these back to back elections. I am proud that we have accomplished what the Reform Party was not able to, what the Canadian Alliance was not able to – a full slate. In the 2000 election the PC party was not able to do it, the NDP fell short and the Bloc wasn’t interested.
Two new provincial parties have been formed during my tenure as leader – the Green Party of PEI and Nova Scotia. And provincial Green Parties all across Canada have now committed to run full slates in provincial elections.
Climate change seems to be recognized as a profound threat by most everyone except our Prime Minister. But the business community is concerned. For instance, Swiss Re, the second largest industry re-insurance firm globally, has noted that insurance claims due to catastrophic weather damage have been doubling every decade. This isn’t a group of environmentalists – this is hard core business people saying the dominant, the pre-eminent challenge for business in the 21st century is going to be addressing global climate change.
20th Anniversary of Chernobyl is in two days on April 26 and it is particularly ironic that at this time Ontario is set to announce new nuclear. Nuclear energy is the most expensive form of energy productions has created the largest debt in Ontario’s history, creates a one fifth of the employment that energy efficiency does. And for every dollar spent on energy efficiency it reduces CO2 emissions by 7 fold over nuclear. We in Ontario and Canada have to move from having the most energy inefficient economy globally to the most energy efficient – to strengthen our economy and protect our future.
I am proud that I was the first leader to visit every province and the North during the 2006 election.
Today I am announcing that I will not be seeking the leadership of the Green Party again in August 2007. Those journalists who travel on leaders tours know it is an 18 hour a day job – 7 days a week. A normal Canadian work year is 2,000 hours (40 hours a week x 50 weeks) – the leaders tour staff – myself included did half a years work in less than 60 days!
While serving as leader of the GPC I have campaigned in more than a dozen elections: two federal elections; have won two elections to serve as leader of the Green Party; two referendums on democratic reform – one in BC and the PEI plebiscite and campaigned with provincial greens in most provincial elections over the last 4 years. And so it is time for me to step back.
I would like to thank the most important person in my life, my wife Lee-Anne McAlear. And other key people: Debbie Hartley, Bruce Abel, Frank de Jong, Kevin Colton, Matt Takach, Matthew Clarke, Wayne Crookes, George Read, Roy Ball – all the GPC federal governing council councilors, all 308 candidates in 2004 and 2006, our members and supporter.
But most important I would like to thank the 1.25 million voters of Canada who have voted for the Green Party in 2004 and 2006. Green Party members are the most committed, passionate people and why are we doing this? For future generations – for life itself.
First Question: What will be your legacy? If you add up all the votes the Green Party won in its 21 year history up to 2003 – get that number, double it, the Green Party won more votes in 2004. so we have seen explosive growth in a very short period.
We have made over a dozen structural changes to the Green Party that will put it in good stead to win 500,000 more votes in the next election and win seats. Changes such as: moving from no staff to now 20 staff and 50 paid staff during an elections; incorporated the GPC fund, web site capable of taking over a million hits a day, professional fundraising – and on that I might add that the Green Party is the most efficient political party in Canada – for every 86 cents we spent as a central party in 2004 we won a vote – by contrast the NDP had to spend $5.66 to win each vote, the Conservatives $4.30; Liberals $3.34 and the Bloc $2.86 – so we were 7 times more efficient than the NDP and more than three times more efficient than the Bloc.
When John Godfrey in saying he was going to run for he leadership of the Liberal Party said that it would have to completely re-brand itself focusing on the Green Party’s issues it shows how we are forcing the other parties to address our issues. When the NDP claims that it is green – I love it because it highlights how we are defining the debate.
Second Question: What will your successor have to do? Each election the Green Party’s candidates are better organized. My own goal would be to get a piece of literature to every single Canadian voter – that alone will increase our vote by 50%.
And we will be included in the next televised leaders debates. Seventy-six percent of Canadians believe we should be – even those who have made a decision to vote for another party – because we believe in fairness as Canadians. We know the old line parties put pressure on the network executives to keep us off the debates.
So in conclusion I would like to thank you to the 308 candidates in 2004 and 2006 you are my inspiration. And thank you to the millions of Canadians have and will vote for the Green Party in this election because they see the old line parties as being incapable of solving the critical problems we are presenting solutions for. The Green Party’s continued growth is inevitable. Merci.
Green Party of Canada