Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2, 2011 - Running of a Different Type? The Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

Well, most of you reading this are probably unaware that there are 19 officially registered federal political parties in Canada at this time. One of them is the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada. They were founded in 2005 by people associated with two existing organizations: Animal Alliance of Canada, and Environment Voters, two non-profit organizations, as a way to be involved directly in the political system and make governments adopt policies that protect the environment and animals. Political laws restrict the amount of political advocacy work that third party organizations may undertake during elections, so these two organizations decided to make this move.

Now, is it ethical for a political party to exist who has no clear intention of winning the election, nor any serious thoughts of even winning political seats? Well, look at the Bloc Quebecois. They also have no intention of winning the election. Their main reason for existing is to promote Quebec separation from Canada. Animal rights and taking care of the environment are two things that have always been close to my heart. I was recently in communication with party leader Elizabeth White, and she seems quite keen to the idea of having me run as a candidate for this party in the election.

So, what's in it for me? Well, obviously, as Bill Siksay pointed out during the third reading in the House of Bill C-389, it is a shame that not one openly transsexual or transgendered person has ever been elected into the House. Not that I suspect that I would have even the faintest hope of winning a seat, should I run in the election for this party, but for me, this would be a great chance to demonstrate trans visibility in the election process.

Now, some may question my priorities in terms of running. is this really about animal and environmental issues? or is this a cheap way to attempt to get some media for trans rights? Well, if I wanted to run exclusively for trans rights, I would do so as an independent candidate. For me to run with the endorsement of a sanctioned political party, would not primarily position me as trans candidate, but a human being (who just so happens to be trans) who stands for what the party is trying to accomplish. This is also a great opportunity for at least one political party to show that they are not afraid or ashamed to embrace transpeople, not only into their political party, but to endorse at least one of them as a candidate.

We need more LGBT people to get involved in Canadian politics. Specifically, we need more transpeople to get involved. Running for parliament under any political stripe would likely bring some public attention to me, and hence, to the trans community as a whole. This would be a great opportunity for me to demonstrate to the world that at least some transpeople are quite open and interested in the betterment of our country. I could demonstrate that I am an articulate, well-spoken, and well-educated person, who is capable of forming rational political stances with analytical visioning and explanations and problem-solving suggestions.

From a personal perspective, there are many pros and cons to running in the election; and more pros and cons to running for this party. I have lots to think about over the next week, as the April 11 deadline approaches for the submission of candidacy applications. I am going to be actively seeking feedback from the st. john's animal and environmental rights community, as well as the global trans community, with regards to this potential idea.


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