News / Ottawa

Carleton profile: Green candidate Deborah Coyne

Deborah Coyne, a former Liberal, is running for the Green Party in Carleton.

Green party candidate Deborah Coyne

Torstar News Service

Green party candidate Deborah Coyne

After a long affiliation with the Liberal Party, including a 2013 bid for the leadership, Deborah Coyne is hitting the hustings as a Green Party candidate in the new riding of Carleton.

The constitutional lawyer, professor and author joined the party as a senior advisor to leader Elizabeth May in February.

Her goal now, she said, is to convince Carleton voters that this is the time to “think outside the box” with their vote.

In a written piece explaining her candidacy, Coyne said “the animosity between the NDP and the Liberals is self-defeating and frustrating to the extreme.

“As long as the NDP and Liberals fight each other, valuable energy is diverted away from the critical twin goals – holding the Harper government accountable for diminishing Canada socially, economically and internationally, and providing a coherent alternative to progressive voters.

She said to that end, she said she will “vigorously oppose only the Harper Conservatives and Pierre Poilievre.”

But she also said she thinks people recognize that the Green Party has evolved under May to a party focused not just on the environment, but on a host of long-term issues.

“Parliament is just discredited under this government,” she said an interview. “I think what people are looking for is representatives that aren’t just in it to get re-elected. They’re in it for the long-term.”

So far during her campaign, she has heard concerns about democratic reform, the proposed Energy East pipeline and even the downtown victims of communism memorial, which she called a “waste of money, an ideological legacy project.”

She said most people see the government’s recent child benefit cheques as a ploy. “They can see right through it,” she said.

In general, she accuses the Conservatives of fostering “extreme citizen disengagement” from federal politics by pandering to narrow constituencies and exploiting regional differences.

Coyne is no stranger to running against high-profile incumbent MPs. In 2006, she ran for the Liberals in Toronto-Danforth against then-NDP leader Jack Layton.

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