Where has the Green party been?

After a BC election brought the environmental fourth party sharply back into focus, Nova Scotia leader Thomas Trappenberg wants voters to know: “We can win.”

click to enlarge Thomas Trappenberg has a plan for the Green party.
Thomas Trappenberg has a plan for the Green party.

With his voice travelling over five thousand kilometres to play on speakerphone, Thomas Trappenberg is not where you would expect the leader of Nova Scotia’s Green Party to be during a provincial election—he’s in Anchorage, Alaska.

“I wish we had more time,” Trappenberg says, with a rueful laugh. “I was already up here [in Alaska] for a science conference when the election was called.”

While he may be thousands of kilometres away, his fiery personality and harsh views on the current political landscape cast Trappenberg apart from the stereotypical Green—that of the grandfatherly recycling warrior or matronly hippie.

Born in Germany, Trappenberg hearkens a lot of his party’s platform ideals back to successes delivered in Europe, starting with an overhaul of the electoral system.

“You have an 18th-century electoral system being used for 21st-century politics,” he says. “It needs to be modernized, but those in power will never change it because it keeps them in power.”

Trappenberg stepped in as the Greens leader last summer when interim leader Brynn Nheiley conceded to the public the party was on the cusp of de-registering due to inactive membership. This critical moment allowed Trappenberg to reinvigorate the party—platform to promises—and attempt to usher in a new era for the Greens in Nova Scotia.

“The wonderful thing about the Green Party is that it is neither left nor right, but is a party that is all about the solutions,” says Trappenberg.

After the Green Party of British Columbia won three seats in a surprise election twist earlier this month, leader Andrew Weaver referred to the success as “the first Green-elected caucus in North America.” Trappenberg aims to capitalize on his compatriots’ advancement and use the BC example to show the Nova Scotians that their success could be next.

“People say to me all the time, ‘I would vote for you, just not this time, and it is always, ‘I like your platform, just not this time,’” he says. “Well I am saying now is the time. Strategic voting does...not...work.”

After the almost-demise of the party last year, Trappenberg feels his party is ready to redefine success in Nova Scotian politics. With an overhauled campaign platform, the Greens and Trappenberg are pulling no punches. They’re serious, and demand to be taken seriously, as the next contenders for Nova Scotia’ leadership.

The Green platform
-A living wage for workers, and guaranteed living income to eliminate poverty.
-Proactive wellness for healthcare, while enhancing sexual health services, developing multi-level longterm care facilities and bringing dental care into the provincial healthcare system.
-A Local Food Security Act setting targets for the production and consumption of food.
-Ending all oil and gas exploration, including banning fracking, and using renewable energy to power (where possible) existing buildings.
-Electoral reform measures including fixed-date elections and no whipped votes.

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