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Green Party Leadership Race Contender: Andrew West

We sent each of the candidates this 23-question questionnaire.
Rebecca Zisser/Handout

1. Full name:
Andrew Charles West

2. Date of birth:
Jan. 16, 1975

3. Marital status? Children?

4. Would you describe yourself as religious? If so, what religion/denomination do you subscribe to?
I’m not religious but I do practice Buddhism as a philosophy.

5. Why do you think you’re best placed to be the next Green Party leader?
I’ve spent years listening to voters about their thoughts on the Green Party and why they vote the way they do. I created a vision based on what I learned. My vision for the Green Party is to be a moderate, big-tent party. The party would benefit from having a leader who aspires to grow our base rather than limit ourselves to ideologies.

I relate more to average Canadians; the ones who work all day and then take care of their children, the ones who look after their aging parents, the ones who have serious health issues and face them head on, and the ones who go back to school and/or start a small business to give themselves and their families better lives. I’ve been through/done all of these (although no kids, yet). My journey makes me highly relatable to the average Canadian voter.

6. What top two problems do you believe the party current faces? And how do you plan to try to overcome them?
We need to do a better job of branding ourselves. The Green Party doesn’t need major changes; it needs to show Canadians everything we have to offer. For example, many still believe the Green Party is a one-issue party. That’s not the case. We need to be talking more about issues such as fiscal responsibility and advancing human rights around the world. Within the party itself we have too many members who are satisfied with merely serving as a voice of reason and believe we will never govern. We should compete harder for political office where we will be much more effective in bringing positive changes to society.

7. Why do you think the party failed to win more seats in the last election?
The party placed too much focus on the leader and only a select few select ridings instead of running a truly national campaign. We failed to highlight the hundreds of amazing Green candidates who were worth voting for.

8. What would be your policy priorities if you become the leader?
Additionally, I would put a greater focus on our international peacekeeping presence as a means to protect human rights and to support fair elections around the world.

“I would prioritize the environment, fiscal responsibility and electoral and Senate reform.”

9. What public policy issue do you feel is undercovered and deserving of more political and public attention?
Electoral and Senate reform. This is, in fact, the most important of all issues. With a fairer voting system — and the more equitable government that would result — we would see better laws created for all parts of society, including the environment.

10. What makes you happy?

11. Tea or coffee? Beer or wine?
Tea is the only beverage of the four that I drink.

12. Favourite thing to do?

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My next one.

14. What is an invaluable lesson you’ve learned during this leadership campaign or your time in politics?
Although I already knew it, politics emphasized how important listening to others is.

15. What is your most marked characteristic?
I am empathetic and perceptive of others’ feelings. This quality is lacking in many politicians.

16. What is your greatest fear?
This question isn’t relevant to my qualifications as a politician.

17. What is your greatest extravagance?
This question isn’t relevant to my qualifications as a politician.

18. Who is a politician from another political party that you respect?
I respect Michael Chong for being a progressive within the Conservative party, and for at times voting against the party but in keeping with his personal principles.

19. Which living person do you most admire?
Lizzie Velasquez. She’s an American woman with a rare congenital disease that prevents her from gaining weight. Despite the vicious bullying she experienced as a teenager, she has become a motivational speaker and author of children’s books. She helps people through her personal stories and advice.

20. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? In others?
I prefer to look for the positives in myself and others.

21. What is your greatest regret?
I have no regrets.

22. On what occasions do you lie?
I tell the truth.

23. Which superpower do you wish you had?
Being able to fly would be fun.

Click on the profile pictures to read their answers.

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