Inspired by what Mike Morrice, Green Party Candidate in Kitchener-Centre published on the recent events in the Green Party, I’ve decided to write something as well. Mike has been a friend and mentor to me as a first-time candidate and I appreciate his support throughout this intense journey.
Before now I’ve never had a political bone in my body, I never volunteered heavily for a party, and never saw myself as a politician. That is, until members from the Toronto-St. Paul’s Green Party EDA and Annamie Paul encouraged me to think about it.
This past year I had ample time to self-reflect and think about the impact I want to have on the world. I thought about the urgency of climate change, of the social and economic inequality we face, and of a pandemic that grips our nation. I felt the call to do more, to act, and to contribute my voice and expertise to the solutions.
I’m running because I believe we need more diversity in parliament and more science in politics. I’m running to serve my community and to do my best to represent them. As a young millennial, a Filipino-Canadian immigrant, a scientist and cleantech innovator, I’m not what one would expect in a politician. But that’s precisely why I want to run, because when we have more people with different expertise and lived experience working together, we develop more robust and better ideas.
The six values that the Green Party was founded on; ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, non-violence, sustainability and respect for diversity, are exactly why I felt welcome running as a Green. This is a place where I can be myself and represent my community with integrity and purpose.
The events of the past few weeks have been particularly distressing for me. As a newcomer to politics still learning how to walk, I’ve had to watch helplessly as infighting in the party plays out on the public stage. I’ve watched as a some have called passionately for Annamie Paul’s resignation, and I’ve been left bewildered and confused by media reports, leaks, and social media comments that paint anything but a clear picture.
I can only speak to what I know, and my experiences with Annamie have only been welcoming and positive. She encouraged me to run, and as another person of colour, I know that she could understand me and the complex relationship I have with my identity as a visible minority. I trust her when she tells me, “You are the future of this party.”
As a first-time candidate for the Green Party, and one who owes his decision to run in part to Annamie Paul, I believe that – despite mistakes she has made, and she certainly has made some, as all leaders do – she deserves the right to lead us through the next federal election. I may be new to the party, but my view is that the infighting is only hurting the perception of the Greens to the voter, and that time would be better spent focusing on the upcoming election.
I still have a lot to learn about politics, but these past few weeks have taught me a valuable lesson – focus on what you can control instead of worry about what you can’t.
I remain as committed as ever to Toronto-St. Paul’s as a candidate for the Green Party and I will continue to focus on serving the community as best I can and representing voices that perhaps aren’t always heard.
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