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 Vice President (EN) candidate Zachary Typhair'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?
I'm a person that takes action. I'm not one to sit on the sidelines and right now my generation can't afford to sit on the sidelines.
I strongly believe that our government must realize that the youth of today do not just care about our tuition fees; we care about our planet, society, economies, etc. It seems that we have forgotten that the next generation will inherit the problems we caused today. Our kids and grandchildren will have to fix the damage that our previous and next governments have/will have caused. We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and we may be the last to be able to do something about it.
I got involved in politics because I have always believed that action speaks louder. I could not sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to speak up. I want to be on the front lines dealing with issues like climate change, affordable housing, and so many other issues that Canadians are also facing. What our government decides today will affect my future, and the future of all Canadians. I know that we cannot afford another four years of inaction. For the last decade, our government has, on all levels, been trying to fix the same problems with the same solutions, each time failing.
I joined the Green Party in 2017. Less than 60 days later, I became the Youth Representative on the CA. Over the last 5 years, I have served on the Kingston and The Islands CA as Youth Rep, Communication Manager, and Vice-President.
On June 9th, 2019, I ran for the Federal nomination and lost on May 30th by six votes. It was frustrating losing to someone that hadn't been involved with the Party before they decided to run. After I lost, I became one of the founding members of Kingston and The Islands EDA by sitting as the Membership and Volunteer Chair. I'm currently the CEO of the EDA. It's easier to stick around after you win but when you lose you have to suck up your pride and stick it out. I'm committed to this Party and to helping people. The Green Party is the only Party taking climate change seriously, so no matter how hard it gets, I'll be a Green.
I have worked on one Provincial and one Federal campaign, and have helped elect two former Green candidates in municipal campaigns.
I'm running because I want to bring the Party back to its grassroots and start the healing process before the next Federal election.
I want to increase support to our EDAs because we can't elect more Greens until our EDAs get more support. I also want to reform the Party internal elections, from Federal Council to leadership races and everything in between. One of our values is participatory democracy but how we operate our internal elections limits that. It's time to take back our Party and strengthen our internal elections affairs.
We can't heal the Party until it's more transparent. The membership is left in the dark far too often; members have only ever found out about important Party decisions and operations at the very last minute, and this frustrates people immensely. Every decision made in council should be made-known to the membership, hence council meetings should be open to the membership to view and the minutes from every meeting should be sent out to the membership accordingly.
I decided to run for the Vice-President (English) position because I believe in a Party that wants to grow their relationship with the youth of today. We need to have a young person in the Vice-President position so Council can have a youth perspective. The Vice-President position is not limited to a region or demographic, and that's important to me because I want to be the guy on Council that you can come to, no matter what questions you have.
Members should vote for me because, if the Greens fail, there's no future for me. We have less than 10 years to change our ways before we can't reverse the effects from climate change.
I'm not just fighting for the Party, I'm fighting for my survival, because if the Greens can't get back on track to fight the climate crisis before the next election, then there will be no Party running that is taking climate change seriously.
It's one thing to say climate change is important to you, but it's another thing to fight for your survival. Humans are resilient creatures, and when we are pushed into a corner, we become more dangerous, and courageous, in doing what needs to be done.
When I, and other young people talk about climate, people always tell us how empowering and inspiring we are. We don't care about that. What we want from you and our politicians is for you to unite behind the science. And then take action.
I echo the words of Greta Thunberg. "How long do you think you can continue ignoring the climate crisis, the global aspect of equity and historic emissions, without being held accountable?
My generation is forced to step up, because the older generation isn't doing enough and we can't afford to wait for them to take action. Our very life depends on what we do in the next ten years to combat climate change.
- 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?
I believe that we are fighting the good fight. I believe in our Green values. What I don’t know, at this point, is whether or not we’re prepared for the future. The next Seven Generations need our hard work and advocacy, and the Green movement holds the best chance for success. To me the Greens are a symbol of hope. Our six core values are what drives us, it's what unites us as Greens. The Greens are the only Canadian party that is a global movement and we can't afford to squabble amongst ourselves. Canadians need us, the world needs us, and the next Seven Generations need us.
We are the Party with the values of ecological wisdom, non-violence, social justice, sustainability, participatory democracy, and respect for diversity.
It’s time to get back to our grassroots!
We have a Climate Crisis to fight together.
We can't get anywhere without diverse communities in the Party. We can't expect to make Canada better without hearing directly from the community being affected.
It makes me sick to think of what the Canadian Government has done to the Indgenous People. The media only takes notice when recent events help increase views, and politicians only care about those issues when it's election time, or when the media brings it up.
It’s 2021. Why has nothing been done to find the Missing and Murdered Indgenous Women and Girls? Why are these mass- genocide gravesites being dug up now? This should have been done years ago. In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised that he would. So many Provincial and Federal governments just don't understand that they aren't doing enough and that they are contributing to the on-going genocide of the Indgenous People.
I used the Indgenous People as an example, but look at minority groups in Canada that have been mistreated. Not enough is being done.
To me, inclusion and diversity don't begin with what I have to say, it begins with straight, white people, being quiet and listening to the LGBTQ2, Indigenous, etc., communities. Then taking what they said and actually doing what they asked for.
Simple: always listen to the membership. Council should always support what the membership wants, and if they don't know what the membership wants, send emails to them, set Town Halls up and seek feedback. They represent the Party and the membership, not themselves.
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?
My four top priorities are: climate change, affordability, electing as many Greens as possible, and a National Seniors Strategy. If we went even further than the Paris Agreement, and made 2030 as our goal, then we would be on track for ensuring that we, and the next Seven Generations, will have access to clean water, clean air, and a place to live.
Canada is unaffordable to live in, rent is too expensive, day-care is outrageously expensive; people are cutting their personal health-needs just to survive.
When I first started having seizures at work, I didn't want to go to the doctor because I didn't want to take time off of work. I couldn't afford to. This is a reality for a lot of people.
Canadians are working harder than ever before and yet falling even farther behind. The person that works two jobs can't afford to live.
We need to take care of the needs of our aging Canadians, this is one of my top priorities. My grandmother raised herself and she's the hardest working person I know. Not only did she raise me, but she started up her own small business while doing so. There is no one more badass than our grandparents.
Our seniors have contributed immeasurably to this country; they have raised us, built our economy, and invested heavily in our social programs. It is completely unacceptable that so many of our Seniors are living in poverty and the federal government is missing in action.
We can't do anything until a leadership review. If Annamie Paul survives the review, then we must support her and work together to elect more Greens. If she doesn't, then we put in one of our sitting MPs as Interim Leader. And we reach out to Jenica Atwin and ask her to come back.
Then we start hosting town halls with the membership and allow them to vent their frustration and ask questions.
I also would try to keep Paul around and ask her to run in Toronto Centre. If she does agree, it will help us with the healing, and help us deal with the media.
After the Federal election (assuming we have one this Fall), we start holding meetings with the membership, to fix our internal elections. If you go to my website: www.Zacharytyphair.ca you will find what I would do to fix our internal elections.
Yes I would. I think it is a terrible decision for us not to have one. They are the people that will help our leader increase support in local ridings. A National Campaign Manager could be enough to help gain a few more votes that could help a Green win. I live by these words: your vote could be the winning vote.
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?
No, I think since we are having an election now, some important decisions can't wait for the new Council. I do think we should make it a policy that the Party has to call an election thirty days after a Council seat becomes vacant, in case things like this happen in the future.
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