Heartwood sent each of the 2021 Green Party of Canada Federal Council candidates a questionnaire asking them to introduce themselves, share their vision for the Party, and their thoughts on a potential imminent 2021 election and the ongoing internal Party conflict.
Here is VP English candidate Lisa Gunderson's response.
- What would you like the members to know about you?
- What is your history of involvement in Canadian Green Parties?
- Why are you running for Federal Council, and why this position?
- Why should the members vote for you?
My name is Dr. Lisa Gunderson, and in my communities I’m often known as Dr. Lisa or Dr. G. I am a community leader, business owner, and psychologist and I live in Saanich, BC, with my two sons and partner of 24 years. My pronouns are she/her, and I am a first generation African-American and Canadian immigrant of Jamaican heritage.
Personally and professionally, I am deeply connected and committed to the people and communities around me. My authentic voice, ability to genuinely listen, and depth of expertise in bringing people together to work collaboratively, will all support my success in this role as a bridge between our membership and governance structures at all levels. I will always keep it real with you.
Upon immigrating to Canada, I actively sought out a political party that I felt most aligned with - and that was the Green Party. This party reflects, represents, and respects my values and beliefs. That is why I have been an intentional, active Green for years. I have volunteered as an equity consultant, pundit, spokesperson for proportional representation, campaign volunteer, riding association member, panelist, and member of the diversity/equity committee.
I believe that politics is an avenue for significant, sustainable change that makes a true difference in our lives. This is a critical moment for the Green Party of Canada and its future as a federal party. We need a Federal Council that can truly listen and work collaboratively for our party's success.
That's why I am seeking the position of Vice President English on the Green Party of Canada Federal Council. I know that we can foster a sense of unity around what brings us together as Greens and provide our members and fellow Canadians a real choice on doing politics differently - from the inside-out.
It would be my honour to receive your vote, knowing that my leadership in this role, and my presence and actions will assure you and fellow Greens that I will listen and fight for the voices of our membership. I would love to speak with you more about why I am running, and also hear your top FC priorities and concerns. And I always welcome new baking recipes, movie recommendations, and any basketball-related talk! You can find more information and get in touch through my website www.lisagunderson.ca.
- What is your vision for the Green Party of Canada?
- What are your values around inclusion, diversity and equity?
- What are your values around collaboration, finding common ground, and working through conflict as a hopeful member of FC?
My vision for the Green Party of Canada is a party that reflects and can respond to the times we are living in and the future that awaits, and represents all voices in our society. A party that deeply understands, centers, and acts on the intersections between the environment and social justice. A party that listens to, supports and celebrates all of our members and understands the importance of paying attention to our youth, our elders, IBPoC, and the voices of those who have not been adequately represented historically or currently. A united party, bringing representatives, members and all Canadians together, towards a sustainable, livable and Green present and future.
Inclusion, diversity and equity are my values. My business, One Love Consulting, was born out of my desire to create a more equitable and just society, by providing consultations, training, and professional development opportunities. This work has led to meaningful and tangible changes. Just two examples include facilitating youth-led projects in Victoria such as Black Youth Empowerment, and collaboratively driving changes with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors that has direct impact on the public and to the membership and working in a myriad of ways with staff and men who are housed in federal correctional facilities.
Beyond my business, I have dedicated myself to creating and cultivating intersectional spaces for youth, IBPoC, sexual and gender identity groups, and other historically underrepresented voices. I actively participate in ethnic, parent and civic organizations and on local and national boards and advisory committees, such as the ACB-National Expert Working Group on the impacts of COVID-19 on African, Caribbean, and Black Communities (ACB).
I have always been a bridger and a connector of people. I have intentionally further developed these skills over many years and this is exemplified in my attaining my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, building my business, and embracing my roles as a community leader and an educator. From my education and experience I have and know what it takes to bring differing, and sometimes conflicting opinions and people together to work towards a common goal. I will prioritize transparency, clarity and fostering a sense of collaboration within the Federal Council and membership.
Rooted in my history and the lived experiences of my ancestors, I am incredibly hopeful that positive change and momentum can be achieved. I will help the Federal Council and party members work through conflict and come together, knowing we all believe the Green Party of Canada has the bold ideas and innovative solutions to solve the critical issues we face today.
The (possible) 2021 Federal Election
- What are your key priorities for the 2021 National Federal Election?
- What are your key priorities for repairing the culture and operations of the Green Party of Canada in 2021?
- Given that the Party has decided not to hire a National Campaign Manager for the next election if elected, would you want to revisit that decision? If you think that decision was correct, what changes to the role of the Fund, ED, and Council compared to past elections would not having a campaign manager necessitate?
We have to support our EDAs and strong candidates.
Show Canadians the value that our Green MPs have brought to the House and continue the work of the Green caucus. We need to show the value of adding additional Green MPs.
Retain current Green volunteer and donor support and inspire new supporters.
Need to have more information before being able to make strategic and financial decisions as a member of Federal Council - this includes setting key priorities for any federal election.
Gathering all involved parties in-person and clearly understanding what our roles and responsibilities are individually and collectively as noted in our constitution.
Clearly laying out a process for how conflict is handled in a way that is reflective of respectful communication, authentic listening, accountability and collaboration.
Prioritizing how to support our EDAs and candidates in the upcoming election.
Prioritizing ways to hear from our membership and to communicate with them transparently so they are aware of what is happening in the party.
Decisions about how to organize the national campaign should be made collectively with input from all involved parties, such as the Fund, the GPC staff, the MPs, the candidates, and the leader. Ideally, the best practice would be to gather information about the impacts of not having a national campaign manager. Either way, Federal Council may have to move quickly in the case that an election is called.
Current GPC Conflict
- Given the ongoing and public rifts in the GPC and the high number of vacant and appointed positions, do you believe that the current Council should delay significant decisions until the candidates in this Council election are seated on the board?
The current council must continue to fulfill their duties in governance of the party. The constitution mandates the role of the Federal Council and how elected councillors should serve in between elections. We must uphold the processes outlined in the Green Party of Canada’s constitution. Further, with the possibility of an election being called at any time, the important functions of the federal council cannot be postponed. There are lots of significant decisions (e.g., financial, strategic) that need to be made.
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