MUSKOKA - If and when there is a provincial election this year, the Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party’s provincial riding association will be ready.
Port Sydney’s Matt Richter and his wife Kailey listen to the Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party provincial riding association’s year-end financials during their annual general meeting in Bracebridge Jan. 24. He was acclaimed during the meeting to be the party’s representative for a third time when the next election is called.
Photo by Neil Etienne
The association acclaimed Port Sydney’s Matt Richter to carry their flag into another provincial election, and should that come in 2013, it will be his third run since first taking a shot at toppling local Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Miller in 2007.
“We’re preparing for an election; it’s hard to crystal ball, but we suspect there will be (in 2013),” he said. “We have to be ready.”
The Green riding association held its annual general meeting in Bracebridge last Thursday night (Jan. 24) with the Grade 7 Muskoka Falls Public School teacher the lone candidate for the local leadership. Surrounded by party members, supporters and his wife Kailey, he said with the uncertainty of the provincial Liberal leadership race and a minority government, the Green Party had to be ready to enter back into the ring at a moment’s notice. He said during the past two elections he has taken part in (2007 and 2011) the party has made positive gains and maintains that momentum.
“We haven’t sat idle; the momentum is huge in this riding,” Richter said, adding the Parry Sound-Muskoka riding gave the Greens some of the strongest support across Ontario when he finished in fourth place in 2011, but with nine per cent of the vote.
Local riding association president Stan Hunter added that the 2011 election saw more than $16,500 raised to support Richter’s campaign, allowing them to rent a proper election campaign office for the first time locally.
“We are getting increased support year over year,” Hunter said. “Greens are optimists; we are not resigned to defeat.”
Talking about some of his key concerns moving forward, Richter pointed to the Jan. 24 decision to allow the Bala Falls hydro dam project to proceed after several years of debate and controversy. He said while the process was likely flawed and that the public was not properly engaged, the Green Party does support alternative, localized power generation.
“When local projects are being built, there has to be a sense of community ownership; the community should benefit from local power generation and get the financial benefits of it,” he said. “When the public owns it, if it’s environmentally sound and clean energy, they are going to buy in and be supportive.
“And the idea that green energy is driving up prices is ludicrous, but we do need to be far more energy efficient,” he added.
As an example, Richter said the potential of more than $30 billion being invested to build two more nuclear power plants in southern Ontario would be better spent retrofitting residences and facilities to create better energy efficiency.
“We could save as much energy as those plants would generate and create more jobs with that kind of tactic,” he said. “We need a new way that meets and matches the way of the next century.
“That momentum, from one election to the next isn’t just rising; I’d rather say it’s racing,” he added. “We are going to be that other option; the people in our riding are very frustrated right now because all we get from the old guard is superficial, shallow rhetoric.”