Deputy leader of the Greens quits

DavidChernushenkoDavid Chernushenko ran gainst current Green leader Elizabeth May for the party leadership last year, and has twice been the party’s candidate in Ottawa Centre. From the Ottawa Citizen:

Chernushenko said he is resigning as a Green candidate so he can resume his participation on the government-appointed national roundtable on the environment, work on a film and possible TV program he is developing about environmental issues and do more work with his eco-sports consulting firm.

“At this point, quite bluntly, this is me looking out for myself and what I want to do with my life right now,” he said. “There was a leadership race, Elizabeth May won, I didn’t. She’s leader right now, and there are so many other ways that I can be promoting the same vision I share with the Green party and many other small-g greens whether they happen to be in the Green party or not.”

Chernushenko is an outstanding candidate, certainly in contention for the Greens’ best coast to coast. He’s worked on Olympics bids and for the UN, runs a successful business, and can talk intelligently and with consistent principles about issues far beyond the Greens’ usual strong points.

I’ve seen him speak several times, met him two or three, and contributed to the Citizen‘s endorsements of his candidacy twice in a row against candidates who are, on paper, pretty extraordinary themselves — including the sainted former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, a high-powered lawyer and prime ministerial confidant (running for the Liberals), and the guy who re-opened Canada’s embassy in Kabul as soon as the Taliban were out of power (running for the Conservatives).

As good as he is, though, and as fine a performer as I expect he’d be in Parliament, Chernushenko would always have been a long shot to get elected in a highly competitive riding, would have been an outsider even if he somehow won, and outsider politics are gruelling, without the rewards of power. I’m prepared to take his explanation for his departure at face value — but it’s still a tremendous loss for the party.

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