The 2012 Green Party of Canada Convention will be held August 17th-19th in Sidney BC. It will be interesting to see what sort of turn they will get to the convention now there the party has an MP and has been getting more media coverage. I contrast this with the general weakness of the Green Party in Canada, it is no longer nearly as strong an organization on the ground as it was in 2006.
What I find most interesting about the convention is that former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion is willing to come to the event as a guest speaker. He is still an MP in Ottawa and should be working on rebuilding the Liberal party. Being the guest speaker at the convention of a party with whom you compete for the same votes with is odd behaviour at best. I can not imagine this is going to go down well with the powers that by in the Liberal party because is a defacto endorsement of Elizabeth May and the Greens. Any increased strength and credibility of the Greens will harm the Liberals. though the NDP and Conservatives are not going to cry about that.
One of the stranger things Dion did as leader was to cut a personal deal with Elizabeth May to not run a candidate against her in 2008. His relationship with the Greens is an odd one for someone with his political experience and background. Could be considering a change in party? I do not think so, but I think he has decided he is done with politics and will retire sometime soon.
The Greens have also managed to get Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay - Superior North, to come and speak as well. Hyer was elected as a New Democrat in 2008. He has been an independent since April 23rd because of his differences with the NDP on the gun registry issue.
I have to wonder if the convention will effectively be a 'date' between the Greens and Bruce Hyer to see if they are compatible enough for him to join the Greens. He was the MP that tabled the Climate Change Accountability Act in 2009, which was his first private member bill. Maybe he is really a green at heart?
I really have to wonder if the guest speakers are MPs willing to consider changing to the Green Party.
Convention 2012 Details:
The convention will be held at the Mary Windspear Centre in Sidney. This is a decent sized facility but not huge. Anything more than 600 people will effectively over crowd the facility for a political party convention - yes in theory you can cram more people in the building, but not if you expect to run an effective convention.
By not having the convention in a hotel the Greens miss out on people being able to stay at the same place the convention is happening. The benefit of all the delegates being in the same hotel as the convention is that there more informal opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other, the all important social capital.
The registration cost is $299 for a member and $1000 for an observer. Actually quite cheap for a three convention.