Cablegate: Green Party Makes History with First Mp
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TAGS: PGOV PREL SENV PINR CA
SUBJECT: GREEN PARTY MAKES HISTORY WITH FIRST MP
1. The Green Party landed its first Member of Parliament on August
30. Sitting Independent MP Blair Wilson formally joined the party
and said he will run under the Green banner in a Canadian federal
election that local analysts expect to be called within days.
Wilson's recruitment marks a first for the Green movement in North
America and underlines the rise of climate change and the
environment as mainstream electoral issues. His switch bolsters
Green Party leader Elizabeth May's demands to be included in
nationally televised leaders' debates during the likely coming
federal election campaign.
A FIRST IN NORTH AMERICA
2. Blair Wilson is the first sitting Green Party member of any
federal legislature in North America. Greens leader May hailed his
recruitment as historic. She said that having a federal MP means
the party can no longer be described as fringe. Green ideas and
policies are now in the mainstream of public debate, she said.
Climate change and the environment will be significant issues in the
federal election, according to polling data and local analysts.
Greens leader May used Wilson's ascension to bolster her demands to
participate in the nationally televised leaders' debates during the
likely coming election campaign. Television network executives
decide who is included in the debates. In 1993, Reform Party leader
Preston Manning won a spot in the leader's debates on the basis of
his party's one sitting MP in the House of Commons.
3. Born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 18, 1963,
Blair Wilson is a former businessman, chartered accountant,
real-estate developer and self-styled entrepreneur. Wilson won
election to the House of Commons in January 2006 as a Liberal M.P.
in the British Columbia riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea
to Sky Country. He left the Liberal caucus in October 2007 over
allegations he improperly reported election expenses. Elections
Canada subsequently cleared him of any serious wrongdoing, but the
Liberal Party refused Wilson's request to rejoin the Party as
recently as July. Wilson has also been dogged by legal difficulties
stemming from a string of troubled businesses and real estate deals
in Canada and abroad, including allegations of financial
4. Comment: Wilson's recruitment marks a first for the
environmental movement in Canada. However, local political and
media analysts say he is unlikely to win re-election in a federal
election that many expect to be to be called within days. His sole
contribution to his new party may be to provide the pretext for
Elizabeth May to win a coveted slot in the leaders' elections
debates and attendant publicity.