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Can the Greens win a seat this year?

“There are about a half dozen ridings around the province where the Greens have a real chance of winning,” Vancouver-False Creek candidate Damien Kettlewell told The Tyee last week.

Kettlewell figured he’ll need the support of 38 per cent of the new urban riding’s vote in order to become the first Green MLA.

No Canadian Green has ever won that high a share. In 2005, Kettlewell won 15 per cent of the vote in Vancouver-Point Grey, finishing behind Premier Gordon Campbell and NDP candidate Mel Lehan (who face off again this year). Green Party Leader Adriane Carr won 26 per cent of Powell River-Sunshine Coast that year. Kettlewell said a provincial Green leader in Ontario has won 33 per cent.

“We’re the underdogs. The odds are against us,” Kettlewell said while seated on the patio of the Vancouver pub from which he will run tomorrow's get-out-the-vote effort.

“We need to turn out between 6,000 and 7,000 voters” to win the riding in which he expects roughly 18,000 to vote," he said. “We spent the last few days going through thousands of names on Canada 411, and we’ve identified 7,600 people, with phone numbers, in the riding."

Vancouver-False Creek is one of seven ridings that Green Leader Jane Sterk highlighted during the second leaders’ debate. Cowichan Valley, Peace River North, Penticton, Vernon-Monashee, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, and Sterk’s own riding of Esquimalt-Royal Roads were the others.

The party plans to shift resources to some of those ridings on election day.

"We’re likely going to receive support from Langara, Point Grey, Fairview and Quilchena Greens," Kettlewell said.

Those volunteers will bolster a False Creek team that includes 21 volunteers and 3 paid staff working tomorrow.

"We have 10 building captains downtown," he said.

The NDP will turn out 15 to 20 per cent of the vote, Kettlewell believes, even though the party is running a last-minute replacement candidate.

Kettlewell is focused on converting voters from B.C. Liberals candidate Mary McNeil. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell is led to make a campaign stop in the Yaletown riding at noon today.

“We’re focused on this as a two-way race. People have the choice of a Liberal or a Green candidate in the new riding of Vancouver-False Creek. Who will they choose?”

Monte Paulsen reports for The Tyee.

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