GUELPH — Live music, food and dancing with a backdrop of Green Party banners in the upstairs Opus Lounge on MacDonnell St. welcomed those coming to attend the campaign launch party of local federal candidate Steve Dyck on Friday evening.
Hayley Kellet, who was one of five who ran for the Green nomination this spring, was the master of ceremonies and helped to facilitate thousands raised for Dyck’s campaign during the event, given in large part by the at least 100 gathered inside the venue.
The candidate himself gave a speech congratulating his party for winning the Official Opposition in Prince Edward Island in April and for Green MP candidate Paul Manly taking the federal by-election in Nanaimo on May 6.
Dyck said Canadians look to Greens for economic solutions and “good policy” and that the party prioritizes “listening to each other”. During the speech, which shot off in several different tangents, Dyck called for environmentally-friendly leadership.
The candidate, president of Guelph Solar, lamented the lack of a “national transportation strategy” and that Canada needs a “low-carbon, high efficiency based economy”, adding that “we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction”.
He recalled a time an engine he helped craft was wasting a lot of fuel, which he said broke his heart, but did not offer much in ways of his plan around how he would bring about the changes for environmental responsibility.
To the cheers of Green members and interested parties inside Opus, Dyck asked if they will join him on the campaign trail to send at least a third Green member of parliament to Ottawa. The response was in his favour.
Guelph has already elected a Green Party politician. Mike Schreiner, the city’s member of provincial parliament, was at Opus in support. Also present as a special guest was MP candidate Ralph Martin, who is running in the Conservative stronghold of Halton Hills.
Once Kellett started making the calls for money from those in the second floor room, started off with $1,600 from a person not in attendance, but then two others gave the same amount. By 8 p.m., over $5,000 was raised for the federal campaign.
The donations table had a thermometer behind it with $10,000 listed as the goal. It is unclear as of now if the objective was reached, but the party has been reached out to to request results. Last federal campaign, the Green Party’s Gord Miller spent $226,402 but came fourth place.
With the win of Schreiner last year, the Greens are looking to maximize on the momentum that brought him to Queen’s Park to send Dyck to Parliament Hill.
Also in attendance was 2018 Ward 1 municipal candidate Charlene Downey, who said that she had not made up her mind yet on whether she would be supporting the Greens but came to find out more. Downey said she is looking forward to seeing how campaigns go.
A reporter from The Guelph Post found a headcount revealed over at least 100 attendees at the meeting’s height. The Green Party later released attendance to be at 110 and money raised was “just short of $10,000”.
Reporting by Eli Ridder.