I’ve always had trouble with partisanship. In 2006, I was labelled a ‘promiscuous endorser‘ by NOW magazine for endorsing Adam Vaughn, Helen Kennedy and Desmond Cole – who were all running against each other. I thought each one of them would each make a fantastic City Councillor.
In my teenage years I was a young Liberal. In my twenties I was a New Democrat. For most of my thirties I’ve been multipartisan, or as I prefer to call it, ‘transpartisan': transcending the notion of politics as a team sport and working towards less polarisation and more collaboration.
The prefix ‘trans’ is often used to describe a bridge between two places, or something that unites many things together (ie: the Trans-Canada Highway).
And so it is, on November 27th my highway will be taking an exit at the “Third Annual Evening with Mike and Friends“. Mike who, you ask? Mike Schreiner. Mike Schreiner WHO, you ask? Mike Schreiner – the leader of the Ontario Green Party, and you’re not to blame if you have never heard of him. Mike is an articulate and inspiring leader, but he suffers under the weight of a political system that discriminates against new voices:
a) Despite receiving around 8% of the total vote, and local election results as high as 33%, the Ontario Green Party has never won a seat. If we used a Proportional Representation model, the Greens would have a whole bunch of seats – and you’d know who Mike is.
b) Despite the fact that over 350,000 Ontarians have voted Green, Mike has never been invited to participate in a Leader Debate. If he had been, you’d know who Mike is.
c) The mainstream media tend to ignore the Greens, even though the party has clearly proven their ability to connect with voters. If the media reported on the Greens, you’d know who Mike is.
Well, I know who Mike is. And I’m really proud to be hosting his fundraiser next week.
Over the last few years, I’ve spoken loudly for Mike’s right to be included in the leadership debates. I think democracy works best when new voices are welcomed into the mix and when voters are truly informed about their choices. I’m also a big fan of Mike, because he has been a loud voice for the electoral reform movement, both supporting proportional representation and also supporting the local RaBIT campaign for municipal voting reform in Toronto.
If you care about Ontario Politics, then you should know about all four major parties, and you should be following all four leaders. You can connect with Mike on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for the Green Party’s newsletter.
And if you want to really get to know Mike, then join us on Tuesday! Tickets are $50 (but not really – a portion of the ticket price will be eligible for a generous tax receipt).
Hope to see you there!! Politics is way more fun, when you start to get to know the people involved. Know your leaders.