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Green Party joins the national scene in the 2004 election

Serious, captivating and at times downright nasty, the political roadshow known as the federal elections never fails to entertain. Politicians crisscross the country making impassioned speeches and grand promises in an attempt to woo voters. From Mackenzie King to Stephen Harper, CBC Archives examines the turning points, missteps and victories in Canada's federal elections.

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In the 2004 federal election, it's getting a little easier to be Green. For the first time, the federal Green Party is a truly national player with candidates in all 308 ridings. Fiscally conservative and environmentally progressive, the party would reduce personal and corporate taxes but raise them for fossil fuels and junk food. But it's a struggle to convince voters they're not wasting their ballot or siphoning support from more viable parties. In this CBC-TV profile, reporter Eve Savory surveys the campaign in Saanich-Gulf Islands, which could be the first riding to go Green.
• Green Party candidate Andrew Lewis, seen in this clip, placed fourth in the race in Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2004, winning 16.7 per cent of the vote. He also placed fourth in the 2006 election.

• The Green Party of Canada was founded in 1983 in Ottawa. Its first leader, Dr. Trevor Hancock, was an employee of the health department at the City of Toronto. In a 1983 article in the Globe and Mail, Hancock said: "We're often told we're a one-issue party. In a sense we are, and the issue is survival."

• In the 1984 federal election, 60 candidates campaigned under the Green banner and garnered nearly 25,000 votes. One of the party's issues was - and remains - proportional representation, in which political parties are allotted parliamentary seats according to their percentage of the popular vote.  

•  The party has participated in every election since 1984, and in 2004 ran a full slate of candidates in all 308 federal ridings. In that election, the party secured 4.3 per cent of the vote. Its proportion was slightly better in the 2006 election with 4.5 per cent.

• To the party's delight, it got its first Member of Parliament in August of 2008 when British Columbia MP Blair Wilson, a former Liberal, announced he was joining the Greens.    

• Several countries around the world have elected politicians flying the green banner, including Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and New Zealand. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 14, 2004
Guest(s): Robert Bateman, Jennifer Burgis, Amber Cameron, Adrienne Carr , Ujjal Dosanjh, John Guy, Jim Harris, Andrew Lewis, Gary Lund, Tracy Mann, David Mulroney, Linda Ramsay, Allan Tupper
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Eve Savory
Duration: 10:08

Last updated: February 2, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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