Greg Malone’s MP bid with the Green Party goes well beyond politics
“I swore I’d never run again,” the legendary Greg Malone jests as he eases into a reclining chair in The Herald’s boardroom.
And who could blame him? It’s been 19 years since the CODCO luminary ran for the NDPs in the St. John’s West by-election in 2000, losing by a heartbreakingly slim margin of 356 votes to PC candidate Loyola Hearn.
Comfort & clarity
But time adds comfort and clarity, and a change in political tides, and waves much more natural have mended Malone’s wounds, leading him to run in the upcoming federal election for the Green Party in the Avalon district.
But why now, at 70, has the beloved actor, comedian, best-selling author, humanitarian and prospective politician returned to an arena he has evaded for nearly two decades?
“Why am I running this time? I wouldn’t be running this time unless I knew and felt in my heart and soul that it’s a crisis and the planet is in an existential crisis,” Malone says sincerely.
“I mean this. We waited too long and here we are up against it. The state of pollution, the climate crisis, you feel what we’re feeling now and you look at the pictures of the Bahamas. You see the heat waves every year, the Arctic is actually melting. This is not anything natural. This is a hyper event. It’s not an act of God, it’s an act of man and we can fix it.”
Malone’s return goes well past politics, he shares. “I just feel that all of us need to get involved in this if it’s going to work,” he continues. “It’s like World War II or World War III. This is our World War and this is our big effort.”
‘A better course’
Beyond petty politics, scathing social media posts and click bait articles, Malone’s political bid with the Greens addresses big picture, long-standing concerns that go well beyond our province.
“I looked around and said ‘what can I do at 70 years old?’ Because I really feel for the young people so much. To check out and leave the whole mess to them, it’s not right. We made the mess and I want to get involved and work with them to chart a better course so that there’s hope in people’s hearts.”
Newly minted as the health critic for the Greens, Malone addresses the well documented health woes of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
“I’m the health critic for The Green Party and I’m very worried about the health of Newfoundlanders,” he admits.
“We have the worst health of anyone on the planet practically. We have the highest rates across the board. This is the success of the advertising of the food business. It’s not a success in health because we spend 50 per cent of our budget here in Newfoundland on health. Fifty per cent of your annual budget. Incredible. Could you afford 50 per cent of your annual income on health care? No one can afford that.”
Big picture and the Green Party, under the watchful eye of dedicated longtime leader Elizabeth May, aim to move away from the boom-and-bust mega projects that have plagued Canada and specifically ‘The Rock’ for decades.
The only alternative
The transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy is one that buoys the Green Party platform, and one that Malone stands behind as the only alternative to stop the countdown to global degeneration. “We go from mega project to mega project, boom and bust. Everyone gears up and suits up to go out to the rigs, to the tar sands and then that fails and everyone comes back and they can’t pay for their trucks, they can’t pay for the houses and there’s just despair.”
We need a sustainable future with steady jobs and that’s what the Green Party is offering, he adds. “That’s their whole plan; an orderly transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. That is the point. It transcends politics.
“I can represent people and I can tell them the truth. And as a Green Party MP I am free to do that. Every other party, every member of their caucus has to vote the way their leader tells them to vote. I am free to vote my conscience on whatever issue comes up before Parliament. Right away you have more freedom, more democracy in Parliament with Green members and voting Green is a vote for electoral reform in and of itself because of that.
“I offer myself up, at my advanced age, to the people of the Avalon. This time you have a choice and it’s a good solid choice. The Liberals nor the Conservatives will move on this file and will do anything meaningful unless they get a good route from someone and that route is going to come from the Green Party because there’s gonna be a lot of Green MPs in Ottawa this time around. I want Newfoundland to have a Green MP at the table with them pushing this agenda forward because that’s the only freedom we’ve got. That’s the only real decision we can make. So I’m asking people to make that decision for themselves, for all of us.”
‘You want a choice?’
Malone concludes by speaking to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians directly.
“I’m in this because I love Newfoundland and I love Newfoundlanders. And if that’s not obvious from what I’ve done with the rest of my life I don’t know what is. But I am begging Newfoundlanders out there. Is there anyone out there who loves the island? Is there anyone out there who loves Newfoundland in a position of authority? It’s astonishing to me. We’ve survived in spite of our governments, not because of them. And I want to change that. So I’m running for the Green Party because I’m saying ‘look, you want a choice?’
“You want to vote out of the corporate box that we’re boxed into with the Liberals and Conservatives all these years? This is a choice, a real, clean, green choice.”