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green party fight

Acrimonious was the word used to describe a turbulent gathering of the B.C. Green Party in Squamish last weekend. It was to be the final convention before the next provincial election and it saw Stuart Parker ousted as leader. Parker, who was working to bolster Whistler support for the Green Party, lost a non-confidence vote and the party’s board of directors was turfed by a strong environmental wing headed by Colleen McCrory, Adriane Carr and Western Canada Wilderness Committee founder Paul George. McCrory is the party’s new chairwoman. Parker spoke at an AWARE meeting last year where he said the Greens had been taken aback by the amount of support from the Whistler area in the last provincial election. He said roughly 2,400 votes went to the Green Party candidate in the West Vancouver-Garibaldi riding. He said that represented five per cent of the votes for the riding but, even more surprising, was the 15 per cent support from voters in the Whistler municipal area. "About 15 per cent of people in the district of Whistler voted Green," said Parker. "That was a striking result — the most dramatic improvement in B.C." Parker said that kind of support is unusual in a riding held by the B.C. Liberals. It was also last year the bitter leadership battle first surfaced between Parker and one of the party’s founding members, the WCWC’s director Adriane Carr. The rivalry erupted at an ugly 1999 party convention in Abbotsford where Carr’s motion for a leadership convention was rejected. At the same gathering Carr’s husband, Paul George was rejected as membership chair and well-known environmentalist Colleen McCrory failed in her bid for party chair. Parker told AWARE the ageing party brass thought he was a young, radical upstart. He said the Green Party has grown because of his push to move beyond its environmental roots and appeal to a broader audience. He said it can’t afford to pander to ageing baby boomers. His comments after his ouster last weekend were that the tactics used to turf him were despicable and that he had been put through a living hell for the last couple of years. McCrory was quoted as saying his comments were just sour grapes.

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