In the newly-formed federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, the Green Party has found its official candidate in Paul Manly.
The filmmaker and social activist was voted in as the candidate at a packed meeting of more than 250 members and supporters Jan. 12 at Nanaimo’s Beban Park Social Centre, according to a press release.
In his acceptance speech, Manly said that as the MP for the riding, he would be accountable to his constituents, not corporations, political insiders or party bureaucrats.
“Nanaimo-Ladysmith needs an MP who not only understands the complexity of the issues but is free to speak their mind, vote their conscience, and represent their constituents without fear of sanction,” he said.
Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told the overflow crowd that her pledge to Manly was that he would be expected to answer to his constituents first, not to her as leader.
May predicted that Greens could hold the balance of power in a minority government, with the Green Party making major breakthroughs in B.C.
“There’s going to be a green tidal wave coming from Vancouver Island in 2015,” she said. “In 2011, we made history by electing the first Green MP with the highest voter turnout in Canada. In 2015, we’re going to save Canada by electing more Green MPs.”
Manly, 50, came to the Green Party after the federal NDP executive prevented him and 23 other potential candidates from running in the 2015 federal election.
“I met Green representatives from across the country, I read Vision Green and I was amazed at the depth of the policy that the Green Party has and the vision for the future, so I think the NDP did me a favour in waking me up to what the Green Party had to offer,” Manly said at a Jan. 5 announcement in Nanaimo.
During his public announcement that he was seeking the Green Party candidacy, Manly said he is less concerned about vote splitting among Green, NDP and Liberals in the region and more focused on voter apathy and wants to draw votes from people who didn’t vote in the last election.
He also wants to attract young voters, plus voters who have become disenchanted with other parties, including progressive-thinking conservatives.
Manly also said he would be willing to form a coalition with other parties.
“The way things happen progressively in communities, in the country, is when we get a minority government,” he said. “That’s when you get compromise between political parties. There are things we need to do in this country, like changing our voting system to proportional representation and deal with climate change.”
Manly’s father, Jim Manly, is a retired United Church minister and was MP for the area from 1980 to 1988, and his mother, Eva Manly, is an accomplished filmmaker and social activist.
Manly grew up in Ladysmith and went to school here from Grade 4 to 10.
— With files from Chris Bush