How to strengthen Canada’s democracy (in just 2 hours)

By Crista Renner

In my family, our brand of politics was established before we could even speak. My parents were Liberals, as were my grandparents before them, so when I turned 18 that’s naturally how I voted too. 

But as the years went on, that reasoning stopped sitting well with me. It just seemed kind of, well, weak. So I started to explore why I was so committed to a single party, and what–if anything–would prompt me to change my mind.

But then the Liberals took care of that issue for me.

Forty-seven percent of consumers say they won’t engage with a brand after a disappointment–and after the 2015 election campaign, that’s precisely what happened to me. I was a huge proponent of Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise of electoral reform. Following his win, I even led some electoral reform town halls where people shared their views on how to create proportional representation.

I passionately believed that increased polarization and minority points of view were jading our voters and harming our system. So when Trudeau ultimately announced that he would be shelving his electoral reform plans, I was deeply disappointed. That disappointment, however, gave me the push I needed to explore politics beyond the Liberal party–and I was immediately drawn to the Green party’s value of “Participatory Democracy”.

Crista Renner (third from right) and the rest of the Guelph Greens Executive Committee at the 2019 AGM.

This value states that all citizens have the right to express their views and directly participate in environmental, economic, social and political decisions–and it’s not simply lip service. You can see it in the Young Greens of Ontario–a wing of the party that offers a voice to a traditionally under-represented cohort of voters. And you’ll definitely experience it if you attend our Guelph Green AGM on December 2–when you’ll actually have an opportunity to voice your opinions, vote for your Executive Board, learn more about volunteering opportunities and shape the way our party moves forward.

This hands-on approach gave me a sense of agency–but it also gave me hope. Hope for the environment. For justice. For our democracy.

Participatory democracy is my reason for “going Green”. If it’s important to you too, I encourage you to spend a couple hours with us on Wednesday, December 2, to exercise your democratic muscle and connect with fellow Greens. It’s the easiest thing you can do to help strengthen the presence of the Green Party  in Guelph and make sure our democracy is alive and well. (P.S. You can register here: https://vote.greenparty.ca/rsvp/eve_9b3c923d1)

Crista Renner is the President of the Guelph Greens Provincial Constituency Association. You can reach her at president@guelphgreens.ca.

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