Often considered a party on the fringe, the Nova Scotia Green Party is making strides ahead of the provincial election.
The Greens are running 43 candidates this election, the most the party has brought forward since it was founded in 2006.
Although the Greens have never won a provincial seat, the party believes this election will show it is a viable party for the future and a greener and cleaner Nova Scotia.
Lily Barraclough is running in the Halifax Chebucto riding, long held by NDP Leader Gary Burrill, and recognizes she’s a long shot to win the seat but says she wanted to get involved in politics because she’s terrified for her future.
“I can’t sit back and not do something,” said Barraclough.
The 23-year-old says the climate crisis is the biggest threat to not only the province but the entire planet and it’s what motivated her to enter politics.
“As it stands, I don’t think politicians have been representing my generation and those to come properly,” said Barraclough, a graduate student in environmental studies at Dalhousie University who has been involved in several grassroots and non-partisan social and environmental causes before making the jump into politics.
For Barraclough, the Green Party made the most sense.
“There is no other party that, as a young person, I could have joined two years ago and now I’m on the executive as the policy convenor and played a major role in developing the platform and the policies for the party,” she said.
The Greens’ 43 candidates are a jump up from their 32 candidates in 2017, where the party received 11,127 votes, which translated to 2.08 per cent of the popular vote.
In 2013, the Greens only ran 16 candidates.
The party hasn’t been able to secure a seat in the legislature but does think its vision and ideas can influence the next government.
It still has some work to do to gain voters’ trust and prove it is a real contender and viable option in Nova Scotia politics.
“I think there’s a lot of fear about what would happen to the political system if we were to be elected,” said Noah Hollis, a 23-year-old Green candidate running in the Halifax Citadel-Sable Island riding. “I think once one Green is elected, you can really see how the public momentum changes around it, as more Greens get elected after one.”
Kai Trappenberg ran for the Greens in 2017 as an 18-year-old rookie candidate vying for the Timberlea-Prospect riding. He’s now running in Halifax Needham and has seen the party evolve since the last election.
The Greens have witnessed a youth movement, with 32 per cent of its candidates this election under the age of 30.
“You have sort of establishment people and establishment politics, where this used to work 20 years back, and this used to work 40 years back, but things like that in the 21st century don’t work anymore,” said Trappenberg. “We need to start modernizing.”
Youth are coming to the forefront and the Green Party is welcoming them, Trappenberg says, in part because the Greens have a different approach to party politics, which encourages participatory democracy, as they don’t whip their members and hold them to the party line, but rather encourage members to work across the aisle with other parties.
“We think politics should be a lot more collaborative,” said Trappenberg. “Some parties do have great ideas and not recognizing that other parties have good ideas just kind of leads to unnecessary infighting.”
These Green candidates are realistic: they understand the party might not win a seat but want the future generations to see them as a new party that’s not only doing politics differently but can also solve major problems.
“We have a responsibility as young people to be very bold and very progressive,” said Hollis. “Because the people that are younger than us and the generations that will come are going to look at us and say we didn’t do enough.”