Pro-sealing Green candidate joins battle for contested St. John's East

Eddy Kennedy/CBC

Liberal incumbent Nick Whalen has another contender to watch out for in St. John's East.

David Peters, the Green Party's nominee, had an unsuccessful run in 2015 but believes he has a shot at dethroning Whalen this time around.

"I wouldn't be running if I wouldn't take the job," he said.

After winning by more than 500 votes in the last election, Whalen is a strong opponent for Peters in a historically competitive district.

Running on a platform focused on curtailing oil and gas production and fulfilling Canada's obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate, Peters hopes to offer an environmentally sustainable option for voters. He says he supports the commercial seal hunt — at odds with his party — but insists the Green Party takes no issue with his views. 

I'd love to take Nick Whalen's job. - David Peters

"Absolutely not. We're a democratic party."  

He cites the issue of abortion as an example. 

"I can say with absolute confidence that within the membership of the Green Party of Canada, the support for a woman's right to choose is 99.999 per cent. But we are a democratic party," he said. "People are free to dissent, like I do on the issue of the seal hunt."

May recently was criticized for saying she wouldn't stop party members from reopening the abortion debate, and an Ontario candidate had to clarify his position after stating in a 2018 questionnaire that he is pro-life.

Making a serious run for St. John's East

Peters' doesn't mince words when asked his intent: "I'd love to take Nick Whalen's job," he said. 

"We want to bring the Green message to St. John's East and all across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador because we believe that we're on the right side of history."

For Peters, being on the right side of history would involve "sunsetting" the offshore oil industry. In a province reliant on the oil and gas economy, he believes that the Green party can still be a fit.

"It really is, because we signed an obligatory treaty in Paris to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. We can continue growing the oil industry in N.L. but that means we're gonna have to do a lot of other things to meet that obligation. So we've got a comprehensive plan to get us there, which includes continuing the N.L. offshore, but sunsetting it," he said.

"Petroleum's not something we can continue to do.  The other parties just sort of make general statements that, 'yeah, we have to be sustainable, we have to be doing things green,' but they don't have a plan," he said. 

"We have a plan."

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