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Greens double their vote in Tri-City ridings

Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Green Party candidates see small surge in vote in yesterday's election

A positive campaign, a clear message and hard work to get out the vote are the reasons the Green Party doubled its share of the vote in the 2019 federal election, the party's Tri-City candidates say.

And while their party only elected three seats nationally — two in B.C. and one in New Brunswick — there is a lot of room to grow, especially if the major parties don’t heed Canadians' concerns about climate change.

Tuesday, The Tri-City News interviewed Brad Nickason, the Green standard-bearer in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, and Bryce Watts, who ran for the Greens in Port Moody-Coquitlam.

Both candidates doubled the Green Party’s vote in the two ridings compared to 2015, doing better than the Greens did nationally with a 7.2% share for Watts and 6.9% for Nickason (overall the party earned 6.49% of the popular vote).

“The Green Party saw the votes go up. I think that’s because we kept it positive and we kept the message clear about who we are,” Nickason said.

For the Greens', the path to the future is to continue to appeal to people concerned about climate change, he said, “and we’re doing our best to be able to stay in contact them, which is what we need to do if we’re to build.”

Unlike Nickason, who ran previously, this was Watts’ first time running for office, and the entrepreneur who owns his own marketing firm said he would consider running again.

He credits the fact that he spoke his mind at all-candidates meetings and on the doorstep as the reason for his success because people believed “I was the one that would fight for them.”

And both candidates credited the hard work of volunteers who worked the phones Monday to get the vote out for besting their previous vote count.

Watts also suggested the Green Party could learn from the bigger parties about how to organize but lacks the funding to compete head to head. For the Green Party to win, he said, politicians must be working for the “long game.”

Nickason said the Green Party will continue its positive message, which people want, and promote policies on a “responsible transition towards a carbon-free Canada,” but, like Watts, said the Greens can’t expect to hit a “home run” right away.

“We have to continue to hit singles, and one day if the big parties don’t adapt and start dealing with these issues, we will break thorough. Hopefully, it’s not too late.”