For Immediate Release
(BARRIE) – A powerful keynote speech and several surprise guest speakers were highlights of a pre-election visit to Barrie by federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May on Friday evening. The event also included a VIP reception and an engaging question-and-answer session with the audience.
Long-time broadcaster Ralph Benmergui, of JAZZ.FM 91’s “Benmergui in the Morning”, was there to introduce Ms. May. Benmergui recently became Senior Advisor to the Green Party and told attendees how he came to support the Greens after decades of official non-partisanship while working at the CBC. “My family had all been NDP supporters. But over the last year, in a series of conversations about why young people weren’t supporting the NDP, I came to learn about the Greens and their new vision for Canada,” Benmergui related. “I offered my experience and skill with media and Elizabeth was very happy to have me come on board.”
Another surprise guest was Vicki Monague, Anishnawbe leader of the Site 41 blockade and vigil, who updated attendees on recent developments and activity at the proposed dump. Monague thanked Elizabeth May and the Greens for their consistent support and promised, in turn, to support them in the upcoming election with volunteer hours, fundraising, and a sign. May and Monague celebrated the one-year moratorium with a hug and expressed hope that Simcoe County Council will vote next week to permanently close the dump site.
May’s keynote speech focused on a Green economy, and how it is better not just for the environment but for health, communities, and stable jobs. “Economists have a tendency to dismiss such factors as resource limits, pollution, or even human survival as “externalities” and leave them out of their calculations,” May explained. “In the short term this may seem to generate more profit, but over time leads to destruction of the very basis of human life and economy – the air, water, soil and biosphere we all depend upon for life itself. Green economics is real economics – it doesn’t ignore critical factors or sweep them under the rug as externalities,” she added.
Barrie Green Party candidate Erich Jacoby-Hawkins was recognized for his role in the party’s Shadow Cabinet, where he holds the Ecological Fiscal Reform portfolio. “If we have an election this month, we’ll be going forward with much of the same team who brought us our best-ever Green vote in Barrie just last fall. Along with the new supporters who’ve joined us since then, we are ready to provide Barrie voters with an even stronger alternative to the negativity of old-line parties.”
Over 100 people attended the event and close to $10,000 was raised. A special donation of $750 was accepted by Patricia Copeland of the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children.
Peter V. Tretter, CEO