PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Despite finishing fourth in Thursday’s provincial election, the Green Party has cause for celebration, said local Green candidate Matt Richter.
As the polls were counted on Oct. 6, Parry Sound-Muskoka provincial Green Party candidate Matt Richter remained positive. He is seen here cutting a celebratory cake.
Photo by Allyson Snelling
“We rocked the student vote,” said Richter. “Out of all of Ontario, three ridings elected green (candidates) (during the student vote).”
Parry Sound-Muskoka was one of those ridings. The Greens garnered 37 per cent of the local student vote, where teens at secondary schools hold a mock-election.
During the real provincial election, Richter came away with nine per cent of the vote or 3,251 ballots cast in his favour.
While that meant a fourth-place finish for Richter, his support was the third highest in the province among Green Party candidates, he said.
“This riding is showing there is support for the Green Party,” he said. “I’m thrilled with the campaign and take pride in the way we ran it.”
During the 2007 provincial election, Richter earned about 4,500 votes and was the province’s fourth highest supported Green Party candidate.
He believes voter turnout played a role in the party’s finish this time around.
An estimated 49 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot on Oct. 6.
“It was a record low turnout,” Richter said. “If parties are celebrating, they need a reality check. We all need to continue to work toward increasing voter turnout.”
Even so, support for the Greens has dropped since 2007.
This year, the party earned less than four per cent of the popular vote, after garnering eight per cent the previous election.
Despite those results, the Greens made significant headway in provincial membership, growing 135 per cent since January.
According to the Toronto Star, the party also raised 68 per cent more donations as of Oct. 4 than it did during the 2007 election when it raised almost $250,000.
Still, Richter said, the local results were disappointing.
“I genuinely think the results for Parry Sound-Muskoka don’t reflect what we were seeing during the campaign,” he explained. “The number of signs people were taking for the first time, the businesses and the different people in the community who have in the past not supported green and told us they were voting green…We were getting great feedback.”
He said that momentum was difficult to rationalize as the polls were being counted.
“Yes, we are disappointed in the outcome, but at the same time, we’re really proud of what we’ve done over the past four years,” he explained. “I really believe we can hold our heads high knowing that over the past four years the party has organized events and has engaged people. We’ve been celebrating politics and getting people inspired.”