Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Post-election assessment

My friends and supporters,

I want to begin by offering a heart-felt thank you.
I mean it.
A candidate can’t do much alone. You made all the difference. When you came to events, smiled at me in an all candidate’s meeting, donated, helped out, encouraged your friends, “liked” the Facebook page, volunteered in other ways, etc. etc. etc. –this is what made the difference! So, thank you.
While most of the province is in shock, and we would have wished for more Green votes, I see that we have actually turned a corner as a movement and a Party. This was a direct result of our hard work, dedication, imagination, fun(!) and more. Your involvement made a real difference. Together we managed to inspire a greater 30 – 65% more Green support in the two Nanaimo riding's! As someone put it, “We are part of the change that has to occur, even when we are not aware of our contribution to it.”
We can celebrate Andrew Weaver’s win. Finally there will be a different voice in Victoria! Like Elizabeth May in Ottawa, the province will now see what is possible, and this will create far more momentum in the next election.
If you are interested in my analysis of the election, and where I see hope for the future, please read on.  Otherwise, please simply accept my deep gratitude for taking our movement to the next place.

So. What else happened out there? More sifting needs to take place by all of us before we get closer to the whole truth, but here’s what I conclude at this early stage:
My premise: People mostly vote with their hearts; in this election people voted out of fear or inspiration. Sometimes both.
Fear: The oil and gas industry (amongst others) poured millions into the Liberal campaign and the election. Liberal candidates were extremely well endowed with funds. The corporate media did an excellent job carrying their theme “It’s the (old) economy,” What all forces managed to do was to invoke fear in many people’s hearts that a change to the NDP would spell disaster for jobs. It worked.
The NDP put a lot of (fearful) effort into trying to prevent Greens from gaining more ground (which the Liberals brilliantly used to their advantage, especially over the pipelines issue). The NDP tried to play it safe, were coy with their vision, and so failed to inspire a different future. Result: Many of those who would have voted NDP seem to sit on their hands (watched hockey?), or instead voted Liberal, or Green!
Fear won the day for the Liberals and their corporate supporters. Most voters fearfully stayed with the familiar.
Inspiration: But there was something else that happened. Where people experienced enough real hope that the future can be better they usually voted Green. In some places (such as in Victoria) this was significant.
It was when people’s hearts were moved by the realisation that “the economy” meaningfully improves when we create local (clean sector) jobs and while being stewards of the earth, they voted Green. People also voted Green realising that we can create real health care, treat each other with dignity, save wild fish & protect our drinking water, create a better (and less costly) transportation system, and vastly improve our communities and democracy. When all of these could actually be realised –this is when people acted, and change occurred.
How did those campaigns move people’s hearts and kindled people’s imaginations for a genuine Green change? Enough people got involved before and during the campaign, including reaching people, donating money & time, door-knocking and/or voting. The inspired message of hope reached people and, more importantly, engaged people.
By these measures all Green campaigns were successful. You were and are a part of this, even in ways you may not understand.
As Stuart Mackinnon, the Green candidate for Vancouver Fraserview so eloquently put it,
Our success is not always measured in numbers of votes but often in the number of hearts we have touched, heads we have turned, and (I add) hopes kindled. You can count yourselves as in the vanguard of the great change that is happening, not only here in BC or Canada, but around the world.
It is with this sense of hope, realising that the disenfranchised can be empowered to join the Green Wave, that I invite you to stay involved between elections. This is truly how elections are won.

It has been an honour and a pleasure to run for you. Thank you.

Ian Gartshore  May 15, 2013
“Be the difference you wish to see.”  ~Ghandi

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