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Parties & Leaders

Nick Wright

CBC Online News | Updated June 1, 2006
 

Nick Wright

The way Nick Wright looks at it, the Green party in Nova Scotia is a winner before the province's voters go to the polls on June 13.

Wright, 24, is the first leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, which was founded at a convention March 4-5 and is fielding candidates in all 52 ridings for the election.

Growing from that start to a full slate of candidates and official recognition as a party on April 6, is "a huge accomplishment," said Wright, who is running in Halifax Citadel.

"There were doubters," Wright said of his pledge to have a Green candidate in each riding. But he has been impressed with the dedication of the party's workers, most of whom are volunteers juggling Green party duties with full-time jobs.

The doubters have refocused their skepticism, wondering how much of an impact the Green party will have in Nova Scotia. Wright, who was not included in the June 1 leaders debate, ran as a Green candidate in Halifax in the January federal election, attracting 3.9 per cent of the popular vote, the most by any Green candidate in Nova Scotia.

Jennifer Smith, the chairwoman of the political science department at Dalhousie University, said whatever impact the Green party has in the election will be felt by the NDP. The Green party's left-of-centre proposals are most likely to attract young, first-time voters and those with a previous allegiance to the NDP. With several close three-way races expected in Nova Scotia ridings, the Greens have a chance to be the spoiler in some outcomes.

Smith, who agrees the Green party can claim success because of its complete slate of candidates, said she doesn't know if the party will gain 4 per cent of the vote provincially. She said a June election will cost the party some support from university students who have left Nova Scotia for the summer.

Nick Wright

Wright said he figures the party will get votes from those seeking an alternative and those who want "to express dissatisfaction" with the way things are. It was the lack of an alternative to the more established parties that originally attracted Wright to the Green party. As a voter in the 2000 federal election, Wright said he felt left out by the existing parties and their policies. "None of them reflected my views. None of them spoke to me."

Wright won't be drawn into predicting how much support he expects the party to receive in Nova Scotia. "That's up to Nova Scotia voters," Wright said.

He prefers to take a long-term view and hope Nova Scotians will consider the party's policies on fiscal responsibility and energy conservation. The party's platform calls for a balanced budget and a move toward "ending any new oil, gas, coal or nuclear generation projects."

The federal Green party was conceived in 1983 as a vehicle for sound environmental and ecological policy, but Wright wants voters to know it has grown beyond that.

"That Green frugality extends not just to the environment but also to the budget," he said. "We don't believe in spending money we don't have and we believe in paying off the debt."

Wright will be hurt by his exclusion from the leaders debate, Smith said. It would have been an opportunity to present himself to voters, to erase some of the unknowns about him. "The average person wouldn't even recognize his name," Smith said.

The Nova Scotia Green party will get a boost, Smith said, from the good showing the party's federal wing posted in the January election. The federal Greens ran candidates in all 308 ridings and captured 4.3 per cent of the vote, meaning they will receive federal financing until the next election.

 

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Quick Facts

Born: May 20, 1982, Toronto; moved to Nova Scotia six and a half years ago.

Education: Honours degree in philosophy, University of King's College; MBA, Dalhousie University; in final year of law school at Dalhousie.

Employment: Working for Dalhousie Legal Aid. Has been involved with community and student groups such as the Social Activist Law Students Association, the Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility, the Animal Rights Collective of Halifax and the Students Coalition Against War.

Politics: Ran as Green party candidate in Halifax in the Jan. 23 federal election; named Nova Scotia Green party leader in March.

Family: Unmarried.

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New Democratic Party Leader Darrell DexterNew Democratic Party leader Darrell Dexter
has been leading the left since 2001 and says his party is ready to assume power.

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Liberal Leader Francis MacKenzieLiberal leader Francis MacKenzie has two battles: one to win a seat in the legislature, the other to lift the Liberal party from its third-party status.

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Green Party Leader Nick WrightGreen Party leader Nick Wright looks at it this way: the Green party in Nova Scotia is a winner even before the province's voters go to the polls on June 13.

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