It isn’t easy being Green when your party doesn’t have resources to put into an election campaign that the other two parties have.
Kelowna-Mission Green candidate Amanda Poon put up a “formidable” campaign, according to the winner, Renee Merrifield, but it didn’t really affect the results.
The Green contender still finished third in Saturday’s provincial election with a similar, but slightly better, percentage of the vote than the party’s 2017 candidate.
Noting that provincial NDP candidate Krystal Smith was virtually invisible in the campaign and yet still picked up 31% of the vote and finished second didn’t give Poon a lot of faith in the system.
“I understand the outcome. I don’t respect our system that produces that outcome,” she said.
Provincially, the Greens won three seats, the same as they’d done in 2017, but they defied predictions they might be wiped off the electoral map.
Poon, an employee at Interior Health, took two weeks of vacation to campaign, but discovered she was on her own.
“The association didn’t give me a penny. The party didn’t give me a penny. I raised donations myself,” she said.
Poon, who spent election day unpacking after a recent move, said trying to buy advertising when your personal credit card is maxed out from moving and the campaign doesn’t have one, is pretty much impossible. Facebook rejected her attempts to advertise. She couldn’t get an explanation why.
She said she was willing to pay, but it’s credit card only for those selling advertising.
“I couldn’t even go to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac because my credit card was maxed out,” she said. “One of the guys that I volunteer with at the shelter, a homeless man, literally bought me some French fries.
“Nobody else is facing those problems. I can’t even go buy something to eat. How am I supposed to go pound the pavement, especially during COVID, and do all this stuff when I’m just tired because I haven’t eaten in three days.”
Poon and her campaign manager built their own campaign website, something she’s sure the NDP and Liberal candidates didn’t have to do either.
“I don’t know that everyone got a chance to know me,” she said.
But still, her scrappy campaign did manage to increase her visibility.
“I’m proud of our campaign. We accomplished a lot in an impossible time frame,” Poon said.
“I am overwhelmed by the support of the volunteers and the response of the community.”
“I’m glad that I did it.”
Would she do it again?
“It’s hard to say. I don’t know that I could afford to.”