There will be no Green Party candidates on the ballot in either Barrie riding for the upcoming federal election.
BarrieToday has confirmed that neither Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte nor Barrie-Innisfil will have a Green candidate for the Sept. 20 election.
On Friday, the Green Party of Canada announced Sandra Anderson would be their federal candidate for Barrie-Innisfil after Colin Nelthorpe withdrew from the race.
However, a party official told BarrieToday this morning that Anderson was no longer running.
“Regretfully, we couldn't complete the registration procedures in time and Sandra will not be on the ballot for Barrie-Innisfil,” Utkan Oktay said in an email on Tuesday.
The Elections Canada deadline to confirm a candidate was Monday at 2 p.m.
BarrieToday also attempted to contact several Green Party representatives — both at national headquarters and in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte itself — over the past few days to see what was happening with a prospective candidate in that riding as the deadline loomed before finally getting in touch with former candidate Marty Lancaster.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Lancaster said that while he was trying to make Monday's deadline, he was unable to do so.
Lancaster, who also ran federally in 2019 in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, said he takes “full responsibility” for there being no candidate in the city's north-end riding.
“I had been out of the province for the last couple weeks and was so when the election was called. I got back basically the day of the deadline and couldn’t make it happen,” Lancaster said. “All said, though, I dropped the ball. I take full responsibility.
"I said I’d be willing to be the candidate, but when they called the election I was in Whitehorse visiting family. I had all kinds of commitments; I was at a youth camp for a week and just didn't get it all together in time," he added.
Lancaster finished fourth in the 2019 federal election with 7,066 votes (13.1 per cent), up from 2,648 (5.24 per cent) when he also ran in 2015.
After the last federal election, Lancaster said he told Green Party officials he would be willing to step up again if needed.
“I told our party and the local people that I would be willing to put my name in again another time, though (I was) hoping there was a nomination contest and that someone else might come along and we could see who would be the person to run,” said Lancaster.
“I feel really bad that Green Party voters will have no one to vote for in this riding," he said.
Meanwhile, Anderson was named as the Green candidate for Barrie-Innisfil on Friday after it was announced two days prior that Nelthorpe had withdrawn from the race due to other commitments as president of Fierte Simcoe Pride.
At that time, Nelthorpe told BarrieToday: "I thought I could manage both those roles successfully, but I realized the election is taking up too much of my time."
In the 2019 federal election in Barrie-Innisfil, the Green Party's Bonnie North finished fourth with 4,716 votes (8.69 per cent), which was up from her 2015 results of 1,991 (4.04 per cent). In July, it was announced that North would be the Green candidate in Barrie-Innisfil for next year's provincial election.
Ron Fischer, chief executive officer for the Green Party's federal riding association in Barrie-Innisfil, told BarrieToday that having no candidate in the city's south-end riding is "just a one-off."
“We’ll be back next election and there won’t be any issues,” Fischer said Tuesday. “I don’t think you can take anything nationally. This was an administrative hurdle, dealing with our earlier candidate's withdrawal. It was just too tight a timeline to get all the paperwork done and in to Elections Canada.”
Lancaster also spoke to how the local issues — with an absence of candidates on the ballot — could be seen at the national level.
“Across the country, there is a little bit of annoyance at ourselves that we can’t get our crap together and provide a united front, so that has probably lowered our energy, I guess,” Lancaster said. “All the news about MPs and leaders and in-fighting really lowers our energy locally, but there is nothing specific or particular going on locally.”
Lancaster also added he hopes to see others step up.
“I am not done with the Green Party and would consider future efforts, but I have done it a bunch of times and am hoping someone else comes along to do it better,” he said.