Greens show improvement on local front

Eric Walton thanked supporters for helping his campaign.
Eric Walton thanked supporters for helping his campaign.

Darwin Dwyer was by far the youngest Green party supporter in the room, but at eight months old, he has a long way to go before he can cast his own vote.

Dwyer, sporting a Green party button on his blue jean overalls, attended the event with his parents, who are Green supporters.

“They are the only party looking out for his future,” said Kingston resident Colin Dwyer, Darwin’s father.

There was light chatter amongst the approximately 50 supporters who attended the party held at downtown restaurant Sol Latino for local Green party candidate Eric Walton. Walton circulated through the crowd during the evening, speaking with many attendees.

“I think we’ll do well in this riding because it is quite a progressive community,” he told the Journal as the results were coming in. “[It’s] because of the university, the people who have stayed, the diversity of public sector jobs, the hospital [and] the quality of life.

“A lot of people think the breakthrough ridings are in [British Columbia] or Ottawa. I think Kingston has potential.”

He said his goal was to achieve 10 per cent of the local vote. After the final votes were counted, Walton came in with 8.04 per cent of the local vote, better than the 6.13 per cent they received in 2004. The Green party obtained 4.5 per cent of the national popular vote and did not win any seats.

Both Walton and his campaign manager, Nancy Salay, emphasized the necessity for electoral reform. “Canada is a very backwards system when we are thinking internationally,” Salay said. “We are one of the last remaining western countries that has the first-past-the-post-system … no one in Europe has that system, no one.” “We need to change our system,” Walton agreed. “But it’s going to be tough, because the mainstream parties like the first-past-the-post system, it plays to their advantage.”

Walton said he was proud of how his campaign was run.

“I feel like we set the agenda, even though we are a small party,” he said. “We set the agenda, we began with no signs in public places.

“And then from there we kept leading,” he said, pointing out that he was the first to register, create virtual town halls and campaign on Wolfe Island.

“We kept controlling the agenda, we were newsworthy [and] we kept doing something,” he said. “Otherwise you get stale campaigns.”

Tara Tran, ArtSci ’07 and a member of the Queen’s Greens, said she was proud of student response to the party during the election campaign. “We feel like we had a good response in Kingston,” she said. “Hopefully that will last [the Green party] to the polls.”

In his speech to the assembled supporters at 11 p.m., Walker said he was pleased to have been endorsed last weekend in the Kingston Whig-Standard, although he was surprised by it.

He then went on to thank the many members of his campaign team, including his mother, sister, wife and sons, all of whom helped with his campaign in different capacities. He gave special thanks to the Queen’s Greens, whom he called “the best campus [political] club of them all.” As 56 days of campaigning drew to a close, Walton said he was looking forward to having more of his life back. “It’s all about going to movies or sleeping in, or basic things that matter,” he said. “I haven’t slept in in two months … all the things you usually do are on hold.”

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