Thursday, February 12, 2015

Still a Green at heart, but not on the ballot

An old joke begins “The second-happiest day of a man’s life is when he buys a boat,” begging the question “What’s the happiest day?” The answer: the day he sells his boat!
Lucky for me, Marty said "Yes"

I felt like that on Sunday, when local Green Party members chose another to be our 2015 federal election candidate. Happy to have owned the boat, but very happy to pass it to the next owner.

In fact, I was only on the ballot in case the other person dropped out, and to offer our members a democratic choice in the unlikely chance they felt he wasn’t suitable. Luckily they agreed when I said he was the best choice and recommended choosing him, and now I am the proud former Green Party candidate for Barrie. My greatest pride is having been part of the local Green growth over the past decade, to the point where we were able to field two potential nominees for each of the two new Barrie ridings last week – four potential candidates where for so long, we only had one!
A debate, an interview, a few signs...
When I started with the Green Party back in aught-three, all that was expected of the candidate was to attend a debate, do a newspaper interview, put up a few dozen signs and perhaps answer some emails. (I think we had email way back then). Seeing it done by our 2003 provincial parachute candidate, I offered myself for the upcoming federal vote, to feature a local candidate. How hard could it be?
I've stood on the hands of giants
But I had underestimated the groundswell of Green support. By initiating the process half a year ahead, we managed to start something that snowballed by voting day. What started as three people meeting at Tim’s grew into a campaign involving dozens of volunteers, hundreds of signs, and thousands of votes. Since that humble beginning, a core of dedicated Greens managed to raise Barrie from the prior below-average Green vote to a consistent return, federally and provincially, of about 50% higher than the Green Party average each time, 6 elections in a row, even coming ahead of the NDP in 2007 and breaking the double-digit barrier in 2008. Among full slates, Barrie has managed to consistently reach the top 10% of Green campaigns.
Also, since that time, local Greens have worked with me to keep the Green Party very active between elections, including many events and activities featured in my columns. It has been great to see these efforts take fruit, and I have been honoured to serve as needed, but it has also been a huge commitment of time and emotion.
This is no way resembles the events
at the nomination meeting - really!
Now is the time for me to step back from the limelight, to re-engage with friends and family and my own business and leisure pursuits, without the constant taskmaster of partisan responsibility or being the public face of something larger than me.
I thank the many who have supported me over the years, with thousands of dollars, thousands of volunteer hours, and over twenty thousand votes; I could not have done any of that without their dedicated help. And I thank my family, most of all, for having shared me and given up so much of my time, what should have been their time, over the past 12 years. I trust they will enjoy my return as much as I will.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Green choices best for the party"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a volunteer with the Green Party of Canada.


  1. Erich, we also owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done at the national level. Thanks for your countless contributions to policy, process and people!

  2. Thanks, Jim. For now I'll still be helping the party nationally via Shadow Cabinet, and I'm already helping our two new local candidates hit the ground running, and will likely be involved right through to voting day.

  3. Erich, you epitomize the humanity of being Green. It's a pleasure to know you and always a pleasure to work with you.