The Greens have chosen their candidate for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country.
Former Whistler mayor Ken Melamed won the Green Party of Canada nomination last week, defeating Gibsons educator and author Michael Maser.
More than 60 party members voted at nomination meetings on Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Sechelt and Aug. 7 in Squamish. Party officials named Melamed the winner on Friday morning, Aug. 8.
After nine years on Whistler council, Melamed served two terms as mayor, from 2005 to 2011, but was defeated in his third attempt, finishing second in a field of six candidates.
Speaking in the Seaside Centre in Sechelt on Aug. 6, Melamed said his experience hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games gave him unique qualifications to serve as MP.
“I was privileged during those Games,” he said, “to be an international ambassador for Canada, working closely with First Nations, provincial, federal leaders, international leaders, in fact, and it was a privilege to serve our country for this intensive period of planning and preparation for hosting a global event.”
Melamed, a former stonework contractor and ski patroller, was first elected to council as “the token environmentalist,” he said. He cast the sole vote in 2002 against hosting the Games, as he felt “the deal wasn’t good,” and he said one reason he was elected mayor three years later was to ensure the community’s interests were protected in the lead-up to the event.
Asked what he would do to challenge incumbent Conservative MP John Weston, Melamed said: “It’s going to be easy to attack Mr. Weston in the nicest way possible. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just ineffective and he represents a party that has done tremendous damage to Canada.”
He added that he was more worried about Liberal candidate Pam Goldsmith-Jones, “because she is a former mayor and doesn’t have a record to attack.”
He said his strategy in next year’s federal election will be to get disengaged voters out to the polls and try to replicate Green leader Elizabeth May’s achievement of 75 per cent voter turnout in her riding of Saanich - Gulf Islands.
“This is going to be an upset,” he said.
Melamed was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1954 and his family moved to Montreal when he was 13. He has lived in Whistler since 1976.
© Coast Reporter