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Green Party leader on campus

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As a federal election draws closer, more practitioners of the art of politics become increasingly interested in the activity known as campaigning.

Green Party leader Jim Harris came to campus Fri., Oct. 31 to talk to student supporters about the party and the upcoming election.

"[It was] an absolutely fantastic event, with a great turnout," Harris said about his rendezvous, noting with pleasure "people are very concerned."

The party supports a left-wing platform based on four key points.

"The four key tenets are participatory democracy, social responsibility, environmental responsibility and non-violence," explained Alberta's federal Green party President George Read, who was in attendance with Harris.

The party, known for its strong environmental stance and radical ideas about democracy, has gained seats in 30 parliaments around the world, and power in seven nations.

"The Green Party really is the party of the future, for the future," said Harris. "In BC, for instance, 28 per cent of 18- to 34-year-old voters support the Green Party. In the Ontario provincial election, we had more candidates under 30 than any other party that was running. So, really, young people are saying 'we're very much concerned with how the old traditional parties are screwing up our future."

The party sees education as an integral part of the future and supports a platform of more funding for students in all levels of education.

"Green priorities are very different than the priorities of the traditional old-line parties," Harris said, noting more money goes to global militaries than to education and health-care combined.

"Real defence is defence against poverty, defence against ignorance--which is education--defence against disease, defence against environmental destruction," Harris continued. "If we want a defence budget, that is what should be spent on."

Although the Green Party receives support from young people, Harris is concerned that only 24 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds vote. He believes that the lack of young votes is due to cynicism, not apathy.

"As Greens, we really have to get out there and communicate our message to say there is hope, there is another way of working, there is a real alternative and we do have to be involved in the political process," Harris said.

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