Ben West says the fact he knows the provincial Greens "inside and out" makes him the right candidate to lead the party. In a wide-ranging interview yesterday on Public Eye Radio, Mr. West - the party's former outreach coordinator - says he's "in regular communication with many of our members. So that puts me in a good position to be able to get the ball rolling, in terms of getting our party where it needs to be. But, beyond that, I'm also a film maker and a relatively experienced communicator - which, I think, puts me in a good place to sort of start talking to people in ways that they're not accustom to, to try to redefine the party and to reach out to some groups that we haven't been as effective as we could be in speaking to like youth, for example."
But isn't that the job of a backroom boy not a party leader? "I think it's the party leader's job to rally the troops and to get everybody moving in the same direction," Mr. West responded. "And I'm going to come forward and really try to push our party in the direction that's necessary. I think it not only takes a push from behind the scenes but it also really takes a push from the leadership itself to get everybody excited about a specific course of action and to really start taking steps toward success."
Mr. West, who turns 30 today, also addressed concerns he might be too young to lead the Greens, stating "youth needs a voice in this province province. And what's really important is speaking clearly and knowing what you're talking about and being a voice of authority. And I think I can provide that voice. So I don't think age is really a factor."
Nor is Mr. West worried about having been a Work Less Party candidate - first provinciailly and then in the Vancouver mayoral race. "When I was running for the Work Less Party I worked harder than anytime I have in my life. I can understand if people think the name is silly. It's silly on purpose. And the party used it to get people's attention. And if people continue to start paying attention to what I have to say because of the role that I played with the Work Less Party, I think that's fine."
Indeed, Mr. West says he he saw "the work I was doing there more as media activism. I made a film for the Work Less Party - Alarm Clocks Kill Dreams. That was actually what first got me involved was doing that work. And I realized that I really had a passion for organized politics while in the midst of debating mayoral candidates and provincial candidates and doing the sort of organizing work that's involved. So...this was kind of a stepping stone for me. I realized that this was something I had a passion for. And I knew that if I was serious about it that the real natural home for me was the Green Party."
Mr. West, who's already raised more than half his campaign budget, says the Greens will be releasing the official list of leadership candidates tomorrow.