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President of the Green Party, No More.

Come Saturday afternoon, I’ll no longer be the president of the Green Party of Saskatchewan.  I’ve occupied the role for the last four years, since I was placed into the position by the board as the interim president in the Autumn of 2008, and was then elected and reelected by the party membership.  It may not sound like a long time, but it feels like it.  And come Saturday I’ll be stepping down not just from that particular role, but from the board in general.

I do have to admit, the decision has come with some mixed emotions…  and it really wasn’t much of a decision really.  The party has a requirement that members not serve on the board any longer than three years.  I stayed on longer as there was no-one to fill the role except for myself.  This year though, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to serve with Vicki Strelioff who was elected as my VP.  And after working with her all this past year, and seeing how wonderfully she has handled herself through what proved to be a rather difficult year for the board, I have EVERY confidence in her ability to serve the membership as party chair.

I now have to decide if I do my one last duty, or if I step aside and allow Vicki to chair our AGM.  It would seem an obvious decision.  I attend the AGM, and chair one final meeting.  The only reason it is a choice at all, and not just a given, is I know how difficult I will find it.

There is no glory in being the president of a political party.  You hold all the responsibility, for everything that happens within the party, yet hardly anyone even knows your name.  The leader – the figurehead – gets the all the prestige (and in some instances, without nearly the work).  But if something ever goes wrong, that shifts very quickly.  The president is the scapegoat, the one who’s head hits the chopping block in any scandal.  However, if you’ve done your job well?  Life continues on normally, no-one even realizing you are there – navigating the rough water, keeping an even keel.  Ensuring your ship and her crew are safe and at ease.  …it’s not a perfect metaphor, but it works.  😉

The GPS has been such a huge part of my daily life for the last half decade…  There is some relief at no longer having to shoulder the burden, but there is also a very large sense of loss.  I know myself, and know how prone to tears I can be.  I’m not sure I’d make it through that final meeting without coming apart – and that’s hardly befitting the chair of the board.  I don’t know.  I very honestly am not sure what I want to do.

At first it didn’t even enter into my mind that attending was a choice.  It’s part of the job description.  I call and chair all the meetings…  but the closer this meeting gets, the more I’m finding I’m dreading it.  I feel kind of silly over the whole thing, but part of me knows I’ll have to say good bye, and if I avoid the meeting, I can avoid doing so.

I guess we’ll see.  I don’t have long now, and one way or another I need to make the choice.  It really is the end of an era for me, and to be honest I’m torn over how I feel.  Relief and sadness…  they make for odd bedfellows.

Saskatoon Meewasin, MY riding.

This is my third election.  And I’ve had ties to each riding I’ve ran in…  but this is the first time I’ve had the honour of running in my home riding.  Saskatoon Meewasin is my riding.  So when I was asked to take part in a bit of a photographic essay, sharing sights from within the riding, it was an easy task.  Four of the five images were taken within a three block radius of my home.  The other is in Meewasin Park – where I spend a lot of time working.  So, have a peek into MY Meewasin:  http://www.leaderpost.com/news/5661216/story.html

Tobi-Dawne Smith for Saskatoon-Meewasin

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her daughter, Lily-Ann, experiencing the joy of finding a baby snake out in the green of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her Daughter Lily-Ann

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Tobi-Dawne Smith is proud to be running in her home riding, a riding that boasts incredible diversity. As a member of a multi-racial family, she believes in the strength found in an open sharing of cultural and religious traditions. An open and honest dialogue is the best way to bridge gaps and bring understanding. The candor found in a quiet moment of respect is something all people should seek.

The search for authenticity isn’t something that ends when Smith, a professional photographer, puts down her lens. It’s a part of everything she does. Whether she’s busy in her most important role as mother to an incredible four year old, helping families create a legacy through photography, or cultivating initiatives to create safe spaces for at-risk youth.

Ms. Smith spent the last eight months working with Camp fYrefly, which celebrated it’s third year in Saskatchewan with it’s retreat this August. Camp fYrefly is a life changing program designed to help foster leadership skills and resiliency in gender variant and sexual minority youth, youth who are at the greatest risk of bullying and suicide. Now that Camp has been wrapped up, she has accepted a role on the Board for Breaking the Silence – an annual conference in support of the LGBTT2QIA community at the University of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne’s role as a mother has strengthened her resolve to be socially responsible and to help build a better future for her daughter, and all the children of Saskatchewan. She recognizes that our children depend on her to fight against inequality, and to help create with them a more genuine safe future for our province. TD also realizes the only political party within which she can truly achieve these goals is the Green Party of Saskatchewan.

The Green Party’s six guiding principles: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.  Guiding principles we should all strive to uphold.

7 Questions for our GPS Leadership Candidates

Yesterday evening I put together a list of seven questions for each of the Green Party of Saskatchewan leadership candidates.  They were emailed to each candidate, and as they reply, I will be posting their answers here at TD365.  Hopefully this will help us all get to know these gentlemen a little better.  If their responses generate more questions for you, please feel free to post a reply on the blog.  I encourage active open discussion, it is the only road to democracy.

Green Party of Saskatchewan Leadership Election

The candidates for party leader are:

  • Larry Waldinger (nominated by Tobi-Dawne Smith, Robert Forsyth, Penny Swartz, Vicki Strelioff), 
  • Brendan Cross (nominated by Penny Swartz, Vicki Strelioff, Robert Forsyth, Tobi-Dawne Smith), and
  • Victor Lau (nominated by Owen Swiderski, Mike Wright, David Orban).

The candidates for deputy leader are: 

  • Amber Jones (nominated by Tobi-Dawne Smith, Vicki Strelioff, Robert Forsyth, Penny Swartz), 
  • Owen Swiderski (nominated by Victor Lau, Mike Wright, Amelia Swiderski), and 
  • Mark Bigland-Pritchard (nominated by Amber Jones, Vicki Strelioff, Robert Forsyth, Penny Swartz).

For those who are available, the Special Leadership Meeting and Election will be held in Regina, this Sunday, at the Glencairn Neighbourhood Recreation Center (2626 Dewdney Avenue East) from 9-5.  The election itself will be occurring after lunch at 1:00.

If you are not able to attend the meeting, we still want to hear from you!  Your voice, your vote, matters!  The Green Party of Saskatchewan is a true grassroots party, run by it’s membership.  A ballot is available for download here:  http://saskgreen.ca/GPS/docs/2011/Special_Election_Ballot_Sep25.pdf  …along with the instructions for casting a distance vote.   If you have trouble with the download, or have questions or concerns about the voting procedure, please feel welcome to email Amber Jones at secretary@saskgreen.ca

For more information on the meeting and the candidates visit http://saskgreen.ca/leadership-race-be-decided-sunday-september-25th and http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=281009695261132

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