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Greens back BC-STV

Green Party candidates sang the praises of BC-STV at a rally in Vancouver this morning, calling it a way to combat voter apathy and discourage strategic voting.

The single transferable voting system allows citizens to rank candidates in order of preference instead of selecting just one.

The party's deputy leader Damian Kettlewell said the current system of "first-past-the post" is a disincentive for people to vote for the candidate they want if that person is unlikely to get elected.

Kettlewell, who is running in the newly-formed Vancouver-False Creek riding, was joined by eight Green Party candidates, including four women. The Greens currently have 62 candidates, and party leader Jane Sterk told The Hook they intend to run candidates in all 85 ridings.

In the 2005, the B.C. Green Party under the leadership of Adrian Carr remained neutral on STV. The shift to vociferous support of the system in this election is a result of the change in leadership, said Kettlewell.

"Jane Sterk is a supporter of STV, that's why," said Kettlewell. "I was a proponent but our leader at the time wanted to stay neutral."

This election will be the eighth for Doug Warkentin, candidate for Vancouver-Kensington.

He said in order to be successful this time around, the party needs to convince voters not to go with strategic voting. In his riding, he said most people would support the Greens "if they felt it was a safe vote to cast."

It could be a tough sell. According to a recent Tyee analysis of "green suburban" voters, votes cast for the Greens in 23 swing ridings would help deliver a victory to the B.C. Liberals.

However, Kettlewell said that in his riding, internal polls have pegged Green support at around 20 to 25 per cent.

"Voters surrounded by water have an intrinsic connection to nature," he said.

Kettlewell acknowledged that campaigning in a neighborhood comprised of condos is difficult, but said, "we have building captains in every building and they're getting the word out. We also launched a bus shelter campaign today, to get the word out to people."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Hook.

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