Nfld. & Labrador

Climate change is the hot topic but the Green Party runs cold in the provincial election

David Peters with the federal branch of the Green Party says there wasn't enough time or money to put any Green candidates in place for the provincial election.

Federal Green Party supporter David Peters explains why there's no provincial presence in this election

David Peters is a member of the federal branch of the Green Party in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC)

When voters cast their ballots in Thursday's provincial election, there won't be a single member of the Green Party in the running. There isn't even an organized provincial Green Party.

So why no Greens?

David Peters, who is involved with the federal branch of the Green Party in the province, says there was not enough time or money to organize provincial candidates for this election.

"The 50 or so of us who have been active in Green politics in Newfoundland and Labrador over the last decade or so have focused on the federal jurisdiction," he said.

"We're drawn to politics because of climate change and that's an issue that really has to be dealt with on a national and international basis."

There are four active Green Party electoral district associations, but all are federal at this time, with potential candidates preparing for the federal election. 

Spread too thin

Peters realizes there has been an interest in the Green Party lately, but he feels he and others with the federal branch can only do so much.

"You get to a point where you say you're spread too thin and if you try to add provincial activity to that it takes a lot of work," he said. 

Peters said the Premier dropped the election date quite quickly and he feels the Green Party — and other parties — were not prepared to run. 

Environment not priority 

While the future of the environment and climate change are important topics to many voters, Peters believes it is not a top priority in this election.

He said the Liberals are pushing for increased oil production by 2030 ,while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set a deadline to get greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 50 per cent.

"You can't blow if you're sucking," he said.

Peters also had the opportunity to speak with opposition leader Ches Crosbie about environmental issues and feels his climate change action plan is not encouraging.

"This is an enormous problem. It is the biggest problem in the world today and it may be the biggest problem that humanity has ever faced," he said.

"If you just listen to the science on climate change it's absolutely staggering and frightening."

Peters says federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May plans to visit eastern Newfoundland this summer. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Peters is very confident that by 2023, the Green Party will be have an active provincial branch that can run in a provincial election.

He said there are many younger members who are pushing for a stronger presence across the province. 

For now, Peters said the focus is on the upcoming federal election, with seven candidates interested in running in ridings like Long Range Mountains and Avalon. 

"And, Elizabeth May is going to be visiting eastern Newfoundland this summer as well and we hope to have some some good public relations work happening there," he said.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show