Federal Green Party interim leader Amita Kuttner spoke on Vancouver Island Tuesday as part of what is billed as the Reconnection Tour with party members.
“The whole point of this tour, as it is named, is to reconnect in more than one way — Greens connecting with their community, Greens connecting with each other, the party reconnecting with its members and re-solidifying ourselves and our work going into the future,” said Kuttner in an interview with Black Press Media before the Sidney appearance. “I have been doing visioning exercises, thinking about what we want in the future.”
The tour itself has been making stops across Vancouver Island. Kuttner stopped Wednesday evening in Victoria, followed by stops in View Royal (April 21), Duncan (April 22), Nanaimo (April 23), Courtenay (April 24), Powell River (April 25) and Campbell River (April 26).
Kuttner, who ran against former Green Party leader Annamie Paul for the leadership in 2020, became interim leader in November 2021 following an appointment by the party’s federal council. This appointment made Kuttner a historic figure as the youngest, first trans person and first person of East Asian descent to lead a federal political party.
As an interim leader for six months, Kuttner won’t be able to run for the leadership itself – a contest unfolding against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“The root causes of pretty much every crisis are the same things,” said Kuttner. “It’s always important that we talk about the driving forces of the crises and colonialism and resource extraction are also behind the war in Ukraine.”
The experience of a changing climate is spread out over a long enough period that the psychological experience is not the same, said Kuttner. “Because of that, the communication is harder … anything that shows up will always dominate news cycles.”
This said, Kuttner also believes society can pay attention to more than one thing at the same time.
Kuttner’s tenure as interim leader follows a divisive period in the history of the party. Paul’s leadership was subject to several controversies, fundraising suffered, and the party fell behind the People’s Party of Canada — a party questioning the science of climate change — in raw vote numbers during the last federal election. All raising questions about the ability of Greens to prevail in the political marketplace.
Kuttner acknowledged those aspects and expressed understanding of those concerns. “When a party doesn’t appear able to govern itself, how can it be trusted to govern the country?”
Kuttner added the party needs to communicate some core things, putting forward concrete solutions for people’s daily lives. “But before that, and this is the process in which we are right now, is getting our own house in order and showing that we do know how to function ourselves and treat each other well and therefore are worthy to be in government … the process itself is going well, albeit slowly.”
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