Green Party's aim: Secure win for Leader Peter Bevan-Baker
Small-party strategy has worked for federal Green Party and in New Brunswick, B.C.
P.E.I.'s Green Party is betting heavily that Leader Peter Bevan-Baker's District 17, Kellys Cross-Cumberland, will be a winner for them.
After 20 years in Green Party politics, Bevan-Baker is making his first run as leader.
This time, things are going to be different he says.
"When you're a small party and you're labouring under the first-past-the-post electoral system, it's brutal, it's really hard," said Bevan-Baker.
"If those are the rules by which we have to play, then we're going to target our forces, whether that be financial or human, or the candidate themselves in a particular riding, and that's what we're doing here."
Bevan-Baker says he has more than 70 volunteers at work in his district, a ten-fold increase.
And he says, for the first time, he'll spend close to his district campaign limit — as much as $10,000.
There's good precedent for the Green's strategy of focusing its efforts on getting one person elected. It worked for federal Leader Elizabeth May as well as in B.C. and New Brunswick, where Green Party leaders now sit as MLAs.
District 17 also happens to be where the Trans-Canada Highway was rebuilt in recent years, a project that sparked significant environmental protests at the time. The Greens placed themselves front and centre in that protest. Even May added her voice and face to the effort.
Bevan-Baker says the so-called Plan B highway will be a factor for the district's voters.
Local voters are mixed about the party's emphasis on its leader.
"It's nice to have the leader in your district, it makes it a little more interesting," says resident Jimmy Gorman.
But Gorman said it wouldn't sway his vote.
Bevan-Baker calls District 17 a three-way race, between the Greens, Valerie Docherty for the Liberals and Randy Robar for the Progressive Conservatives. Jessie Cousins is running for the NDP.