Green Party of Saskatchewan
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|Active provincial party|
|Headquarters||Box 31027, RPO Broadway|
|Seats in Legislature|
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It was founded in 1998 as the New Green Alliance (NGA) by environmental and social justice activists frustrated by the social democratic Saskatchewan New Democratic Party's move to the right under Roy Romanow. Unlike many Green parties in Canada, the NGA was decidedly left wing, favouring, for example, progressive taxation, workers' rights and the elimination of poverty. NGA supporters believed that the Green Party of Canada and Green Party of Ontario were essentially eco-capitalist parties because they favour regressive consumption taxes and oppose taxes on incomes and corporations. The NGA also opposed privatization of Crown corporations. As a Green party, the NGA supported ecological agriculture, balanced ecological forestry and forest use, and promote a soft energy path. The NGA was committed to peace and non-violence, and in contrast to the Green Party of Canada, took a strong stance against the U.S. war in Iraq.
The NGA ran candidates in Saskatchewan elections, but was unable to win any seats in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. In the 2003 election, the NGA nominated 27 candidates who received only 2,504 votes (about 0.5% of the vote), compared to 189,000 for the NDP. This was a decline from the 1999 election, when the party received 5% of the vote in the 16 ridings where it ran candidates.
The Green Party failed to win any seats in the provincial election of 2007.
At the party's 2005 convention, its members voted to change the party name to the Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) because "Green Party" is more recognized by voters and because the "Alliance" part of the old name could cause confusion. The party is not affiliated with the Green Party of Canada but shares common values and Global Principals.
In the 2011 provincial election, the Green Party of Saskatchewan fielded its first Full Slate of 58 candidates under the Leadership of Victor Lau. Not winning any seats, but having almost 1/2 of the candidates Female; it was a historic moment for the GPS. This cemented the Green Party of Saskatchewan as the Third Party.
The GPS nominated 61 candidates (30 of whom are women) in anticipation of the 2016 provincial election. This completion occurred on August 27, 2014.
New Green Alliance
The New Green Alliance was the original name of the Green Party of Saskatchewan. In the year 1999 the NGA had been recognized as an official party. A convention was set for March to adopt the constitution and a platform for the 1999 election. Premier Roy Romanow declared that the NGA was "40 years out of date". The press commonly described the NGA as an attempt to revive the old CCF. Given the dwindling support for the NDP reflected in all the public opinion polls, the formation of a new party on the left could not be ignored.
In early March a conference was held in Saskatoon, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Coalition for Social Justice: "The Saskatchewan NDP in Power: A Critical Appraisal". Around 150 political activists attended. There was widespread criticism of the Romanow government, and three political options were identified. First there were those who felt that the left should continue to operate within the NDP. This had the weakest support at the conference. The second thrust was to continue to work in popular groups like the SCSJ and the Council of Canadians, which was expanding in Saskatchewan. The third position was to join the New Green Alliance. The conference revealed that many on the left, despite their dismay over the political direction of the NDP, were still not willing to join a new political party.
The second convention of the NGA was held in Saskatoon near the end of March. The constitution was approved in principle. But the primary focus of the convention was the forthcoming election. As required under the constitution, the party platform was adopted at the convention.
The early election caught the NGA by surprise. In all, the party only was able to field 16 candidates. Another eight nominations were in sight but failed to get the necessary support to complete the required formal paperwork by the cut-off date. The NGA were all but shut out by the mainstream media during the general election. The CBC refused to allow Neil Sinclair, the leader of the NGA, to participate in the television debates, and refused to let party members in the studio during the debate. On election night television stations did not put the NGA on their boards recording votes in the ridings. The NGA did relatively well. Where they ran candidates, they received on average five percent of the votes.
Change in party name
The Green Party of Saskatchewan has often been described as much more left than the federal party. The GPS during the 2003 provincial election with new leader Ben Webster focused on issues such as raise the minimum wage back up to the highest in Canada (as in the 1970s), increase social assistance rates to the Basic Needs Level which have been frozen since 1982, and of course the environment. However, even though the party ran more candidates in the 2003 election, the support fell to nearly 0.5%.
The Green Party of Saskatchewan had three new leaders between the 2003 and 2007 elections. Neal Anderson, Victor Lau, and John Kern stepped up and stepped down from the GPS leadership in just two years. John Kern was forced to resign due to personal circumstances. Victor Lau later became a candidate in the 2007 Saskatchewan election.
The Green Party of Saskatchewan ran a much stronger campaign during the 2007 provincial election running a virtual full slate with 48 out of 58 ridings with Green candidates. The GPS were able to capture 2.0% of the vote with candidates receiving anywhere between 1.23% to 6.24% of the vote. The highest was in the riding of Cumberland where the Green candidate placed ahead of the Liberal candidate. During the campaign, the GPS was led by Sandra Finley who ran in the riding of Saskatoon Nutana capturing 4.1% of the vote. Only three candidates were able to achieve a higher result.
In April 2008, the Green Party of Saskatchewan elected a new executive including deputy leader Tory McGregor and president Kelly Patrick. A by-election in Cumberland was called for June 25, 2008. The party announced that deputy leader Tory McGregor was nominated as the candidate and placed third behind the Saskatchewan Party.
2011 to present
On September 6, 2011, the day after Labour Day (and the unofficial kickoff for the 2011 provincial election campaign, Green Party Leader Larissa Shasko resigned to join the campaign of Regina South NDP candidate Yens Pedersen. Deputy Leader Victor Lau was elevated to become Party Leader, a decision that was reinforced by party members at a special leadership convention held on September 25, 2011. With little time to prepare, Victor and his team ran a full slate of 58 candidates, 43% of which were women. Although no Green Party MLAs were elected, the party emerged from the election as the third largest party in the province, after the Saskatchewan Party and the New Democratic Party.
Since the 2011 election, the party has begun an effort to organize on a constituency by constituency basis across the province. In March 2015, the party was rebranded as the Saskatchewan Green Party and adopted a new logo that includes a red lion.
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- Neil Sinclair (1999–2002)
- Ben Webster (2004–2005)
- Neal Anderson (2005–2006)
- Victor Lau (2006)
- John Kern (2006)
- Sandra Finley (2006–2008)
- Amber Jones (2008–2009)
- Larissa Shasko (2009–2011)
- Victor Lau (2011–2016)
- Shawn Setyo (2016–present)
- Cairns, John (August 1, 2016). "Green Party leader in Battlefords to see spill impact". The Battlefords News-Optimist.
- "Saskatchewan Green Party leader resigns". CBC News. September 6, 2011.