Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Spending three years cataloguing all the bees in Saskatchewan helped convince a grandfather that he too can make a difference, so he decided to run for politics.
Hamish Graham, the candidate for the Green Party of Canada in the Prince Albert riding, has a varied past and at one time, a varied political viewpoint.
“I’m a grandfather. I’m a farmer now. I was a contractor,” said Graham.
But it was his work with the University of Saskatchewan developing the haskap industry and then cataloguing all the bees that helped him see the impact one project can have.
“We had a project for three years where we catalogued the bees. No one had ever catalogued all the bees in Saskatchewan before. There was 200 species of bees when we started and there’s now 313,” said Graham.
That data was taken to the Senate and now, as part of an environmental farm plan, you have to have some allowances for bees, he said.
“It showed me that individuals can do things,” Graham said.
His daughter is the leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan along with being his main helper in his orchard and convinced him to put his name in as a candidate.
“I just wanted to be at the very least a place holder so people could put the Green vote somewhere,” he explained.
“I realized about as soon as I could vote Green that I had run out of options. I had actually voted NDP. I actually voted Conservative when they still had progressive in front of their name. But since about 1988 I have voted nothing but Green so I guess it’s time to stand up,” Graham said.
He said if the world could come together enough to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, they can do the same for the planet.
“The existential crisis that the planet is in is at least as important as that,” he stated.
Graham said the Green Party is a party of consensus, which means they will work with anybody to achieve Green goals and it doesn’t matter if the other party is Conservative or NDP.
“If we can step up and say let’s get together and do something, I’m all for it. We don’t have a party whip and we’re not told what to do as Greens.”
Graham is one of six candidates looking to represent the constituency of Prince Albert in Ottawa. He’s up against Estelle Hjertaas (Liberals), incumbent Randy Hoback (Conservatives), Ken MacDougall (NDP), Joseph McCrea (People’s Party of Canada), and Heather Schmitt (Maverick Party).
The federal election is scheduled for Sept. 20.