Wednesday September 2, 2020 | SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | West Shore Voice News
“The COVID-19 pandemic has helped people to focus, to see the importance of listening to the science,” said Green Party Leadership candidate David Merner today in a conversation with Island Social News.
He made it clear: “If we don’t listen to the science, we’re going to have more pandemics and irreversible climate change. People can now see the value of paying attention to science,” said Merner, referring to how public health education has driven home the need to pay attention to what can be done to adapt and fight against a virus.
People are also seeing the value in a Guaranteed Livable Income, so that when economics go sour, people are not desperately destabilized.
In it to win:
Merner is in it to win. But he says this style of politics and that of the Green Party will be what Canadians need. “Unlike the style of politics carried on by the Liberals and Conservatives it shouldn’t just be about winning the next campaign, saying one thing and then doing the opposite once elected.”
Politics in these times is about “taking the science seriously and protecting our communities,” said the leadership candidate who lives here on Vancouver Island but has crossed Canada twice in the last few months in his bid to win.
Merner is perfectly bilingual, a skilled he honed as a lawyer in Quebec years ago. He says that Quebeckers have appreciated his French fluency during this leadership campaign for national leadership of the Greens.
Green Party approach, top concerns:
Merner wants “deep change” within the Green Party itself. He feels that people are looking for a grassroots kind of leader, someone who can travel to all areas of the country, meet people in public places and out in parks, someone who is a listener and a builder. “That’s what people see me as offering,” David Merner said today.
The top three concerns for Merner, that he sees the Green Party taking leadership on, are:
- Climate emergency – Trudeau got has consistently said one thing and then has does the opposite.
- Guaranteed Livable Income – millions of Canadians are going to be coming off the CERB/ left high and dry without resources/ if Trudeau had adopted the Guaranteed Livable Income plan as put forth by the Greens early on, we would be way ahead. It’s much cheaper to administer than CERB and much more fair.
- Integrity of our democracy. The Horgan and Trudeau governments consistently say one thing and do the other. Here in BC, the NDP perfect example – they say they care about the environment but more old growth forest gets cut down on Vancouver Island now than under the previous government.
Out on the hustings:
Merner has participated in several virtual town halls in recent months. This week he’s on a campaign tour in the BC interior.
Every Saturday he has hosted an online event. Last week he debated youth issues against his eight other contenders.
“I’m getting a fantastic response in BC,” says Merner. “Here I’m a home town boy, people know me and like me.”
His campaign is also doing well in Ontario outside the 416 (i.e. across Ontario beyond the Greater Toronto area) he says the Green approach to politics is picking up steam.
Structure of the leadership process:
In recent days, Green Party leadership candidate Judy Green (based in Atlantic Canada) threw her support behind Merner. So essentially the race is down to eight candidates now.
Membership in the party is open to September 3. Online voting will be open September 26 through October 3, 2020.
The election of the Leader will use a one-member, one-vote system using a preferential (ranked) ballot. A majority vote will elect the Leader, results to be announced October 4.
Sticking to the program:
David Merner ran as the Liberal candidate in the 2015 federal election campaign, and then ran as a Green candidate supported by Elizabeth May in the 2019 federal election campaign. Both of those runs were in the south Vancouver Island riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.
Merner is now retired from his BC Government job. He is married and the father of four grown daughters. The family pitches in on his campaigns. He works hard to involve youth in the party and on his campaigns.