Party hopes to make inroads in province
It’s a long shot, but the Green party is eyeing two Alberta ridings as their best chance at making their electoral breakthrough in Canada.
Candidate Joe Anglin, 52, is running against Tory incumbent Ray Prins for the riding of Lacombe-Ponoka for the Mar. 3 provincial election.
The former U.S. Marine and businessman has been nick-named the "poster boy" of landowner’s rights after leading a battle against the expropriation of property for an Edmonton-to-Calgary power line.
Stopping on the campaign trail yesterday, he admitted his party’s message of interlocking the economy with the environment sometimes falls on deaf ears, but he feels support is growing with polling numbers equal to the New Democrats.
"I’m under no illusions. This is a Tory stronghold," he said of the 37-year-old Tory dynasty.
"I’ve got people who say to me they’ve voted Tory all their life and they don’t even know why."
Edwin Erickson is another strong Green contender, coming in second in Drayton Valley-Calmar in the 2004 provincial election.
Alberta Green Party Leader George Read has been watching both ridings, and believes a win of either seat would ignite the green movement and give them further legitimacy.
"It would change politics in Canada forever," he said. "The political agenda would shift and move. We would no longer see debates like we did last week — where everything but the environment is discussed."
But not everyone thinks a green revolution is right around the corner.
David Taras, a political analyst at the University of Calgary, says the Green party has seemingly been "out-greened" by the Liberals in urban ridings while rural areas are too used to voting Tory.
"There is some support in rural Alberta, but we’re talking about a party on the margins," he said. "The effect that they have is to take away votes from other parties and, in fact, further splinter the opposition."