Computer scientist Thomas Trappenberg will run for Nova Scotia's Green Party in the Halifax Needham byelection, after a tumultuous and grief-stricken summer that nearly saw the end of the province's political movement.
"We had a close call. You know, a lot of our members, they don't really want to be politicians. They are really engaged, but stepping forward and taking common roles are not usually their thing," he said Tuesday on Information Morning.
Trappenberg, who researches computational neuroscience and machine learning at Dalhousie University, has been involved in the party for a decade, running federally and provincially.
"We are an international movement. We are serious," he said. "We have made a lot of impact in other countries, but also in Canada."
The party struggled through a hard summer.
In June, Brynn Nheiley, the interim leader, announced the party was closing because of an inactive membership. Days later Ian Charles, the party's official agent, said the party was still active and would run candidates in upcoming elections.
But Charles died just a few weeks later on Canada Day. Charles volunteered to help build the party from its founding.
"The sudden loss of Ian Charles is a blow to Greens across Canada," Elizabeth May, the leader of the national Green Party, said at the time. "I loved working with him and valued enormously his steadfast commitment to a better world. My thoughts are with his partner, Paula, and his family at this very difficult time."
But Trappenberg says the party is about more than winning seats and elections.
Wins in P.E.I. and N.B.
"We want people to vote positive," he said. "Even if I'm not elected, it's important to show that green and sustainable development matters to people."
He pointed to recent successes in P.E.I., where in 2015 Peter Bevan-Baker won the party's first seat, and New Brunswick, where David Coon won in 2014, as evidence that people will vote Green.
"Our party is all about sustainable development. I see too much that we are putting all our eggs into a big basket like building warships. We have to think, 'What is there for Fort Needham?'" he asked. "The reason I'm doing this is because I want to leave something for my kids to have."
The party needs volunteers to fill several backstage rolls. It's holding a membership meeting on Aug. 23 and hopes to hold a convention in the fall.
"We are not about the party — we are really thinking about our policies and the environment," Trappenberg said. "Either people are completely disinterested, or they are politically involved, which means they are involved with traditional parties and they wouldn't even listen to arguments."