Adriane Carr (born 1952) is a Canadian academic, activist and politician with the Green Party in British Columbia and Canada. She was a founding member and the Green Party of British Columbia's first leader from 1983 to 1985, whereafter the party abolished the leadership position until 1993. In 2000, she became the party's leader again, and she is generally credited with helping to bring the party major party status. In the 2005 provincial election, she received in excess of 25% of the vote in her home riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast. She resigned her position in September 2006 to become one of two deputy leaders of the Green Party of Canada now led by her political ally and long time friend Elizabeth May. Although she is now intending to run federally for (Vancouver Centre) she continues to work and support the Green Party of British Columbia.
Carr was born in Vancouver and raised in the Lower Mainland and Kootenays. She earned a Master's degree in geography from UBC, and went on to a career as a geography instructor at Vancouver Community College.
Carr helped to found the Green Party of British Columbia and worked as its leader from 1983 to 1985. She began working professionally for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee in 1987, having co-founded the group in 1980 with her husband, Paul George. In this capacity, she became a fixture of BC's environmental movement, building the small group into BC's largest environmental organization by 1990. From 1992 until 2000, WCWC was led by a four-person committee of paid employees comprising Carr, her husband, activist Joe Foy and the organization's chief financial officer.
Although consistently opposing civil disobedience as an organization, Carr's team was viewed as one of the most principled and least prone to compromise of the province's blue chip environmental organizations. Carr and George were strong in their condemnation of the BC Commission on Resources and Environment, set up by the Harcourt NDP government to seek a negotiated settlement amongst "stakeholders" in highly contentious areas of the province. WCWC led the forces urging an environmentalist boycott of the process, which gained in public credibility as the process moved forward and government manipulation of it became increasingly exposed.
But in the late 1990s, Carr altered the public image of WCWC by brokering, a landmark agreement amongst first nations groups, environmentalists and the MacMillan Bloedel corporation to resolve an extended conflict over logging in Clayoquot Sound.
Carr has been the BC Green Party leader on two separate occasions. She was recognized as the party's leader in the 1983 provincial election, held shortly after the party's founding. Carr ran in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey, and finished last in a field of eight candidates with 1549 votes. She also ran as a Green candidate for the Vancouver School Board in 1984, but after this had little further involvement with the provincial Green Party until the late 1990s. Although she and her husband Paul George returned briefly to active involvement in the late 80s to block a plan by the party's Ecofeminist Caucus to radically restructure the organization.
The Green Party of British Columbia was led from 1993 to 2000 by Stuart Parker (whom Carr endorsed during both of his runs for the party leadership in 1993 and 1997) and its ideological direction was largely guided by former members of the New Democratic Party during this period. Carr emerged as a rival to Parker at the party's 1999 policy convention. The non-confidence motion against him that she sponsored at the party's annual convention six months later was defeated by a substantial margin. But he was defeated in another non-confidence motion in March 2000, thanks largely to the organizing abilities of Carr and her allies to recruit new party members supportive of her leadership bid. This recruitment ultimately paid off when, on September 23, 2000, Carr defeated Andy Shadrack and former municipal councilor Wally du Temple to become party leader for a second time.
After winning the leadership, Carr kept the promises to many of the environmentalists she had recruited for her leadership bid and focused the party more specifically on environmental matters while downplaying the social policy issues that had come to dominate the public statements of the party in Parker's last years. This half-year period before the 2001 general election also saw the party shift to the right, allowing the Greens to enter the election with a strong centrist appeal. (Parker and his supporters had resigned from the party July 31, 2000, accusing the WCWC of attempting to manipulate the party's direction. He later encouraged Green Party supporters to vote NDP in the 2001 provincial election.)
Carr ran in the 2001 election in the riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast, against former Liberal leader and current NDP cabinet minister Gordon Wilson. She was included in the party leaders' debate along with Liberal leader Gordon Campbell and Premier Ujjal Dosanjh. As the NDP was greatly declining in popularity due to a series of the scandals, anti-environmentalist statements and lacklustre campaign, the Greens were increasingly viewed as a progressive alternative for voters. Polling in second place, many believed Carr in turn had a chance to win the seat, and become the first Green Party candidate to sit in a Canadian legislature; instead, after a last minute phone blitz by the NDP to thwart a green win,she finished third with 6316 votes (27%), against 6349 for Wilson (28%) and 9904 for victorious Liberal Harold Long. The Green Party received 12.4% of the provincial vote in this election, a significant increase from its 2% total in the 1996 election. But Carr's courting of a centrist vote paid off with some of the party's strongest results appearing not in NDP seats but in safe Liberal located in wealthy suburbs like West Vancouver and Delta. The party's largest number of votes was received in Saanich-Gulf Islands, one of only 17 constituencies that had been voting Liberal since 1991.
Seeking to maintain that breadth of support across the political spectrum, Carr has built alliances on both sides of BC's right-left divide, reportedly earning the respect of both the BC Nurses' Union and former Social Credit cabinet minister Rafe Mair for her work championing electoral reform since the 2001 election.
In 2004, Carr ran for the Greens in a by-election in Surrey-Panorama Ridge, held following the resignation of Liberal Gulzar Singh Cheema. She finished a distant third with 8.4% of the vote as the NDP recovered to win the riding. This result was a harbinger of the party's decline in popularity in the 2005 general election, where its share of the vote fell to 9%.
Carr was a vocal supporter of MMP a mixed member proportional system where some members are elected from constituencies like they are today and others are selected from party lists to "top up" the legislature to ensure that the percentage of seats equals the percentage of popular vote a party gets (like New Zealand adopted in 1993). In 2002 she became the proponent of an Initiative under BC Recall and Initiave Act to hold a referendum to adopt MMP in BC. Called the Free Your Vote campaign, it brought together a broad coalition of British Columbians and even included the official support of trade unions such as the BC Nurses' in a petition drive under the province's citizen initiative legislation ro institute this system. Despite having condemned this legislation as unworkable after failing to submit sufficient signatures for an anti-grizzly bear hunting initiative by WCWC, Carr threw the energies into this campaign which, although it failed to gather sufficient signatures in all but four ridings, created the largest voting reform organization in the province and increased awareness and support amongst Greens and non-Greens alike. Many credit it with spuring the Liberals to establish a Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform a few months later.
When the Citizens Assembly recommended an alternative Single Transferable Vote system, Carr felt so strongly that this was the wrong system for BC that, despite the party official neutral stance letting Candidates decide whether or not they supported the Citizens Assembly's proposal, she effectively stood for the "No" side in the BC electoral reform referendum, 2005: "STV is even more adversarial than the system we have now. It's not truly proportional. It entrenches big vested parties. It's rock bottom in terms of getting women elected. And it still leaves too many voters frustrated by their votes not counting." - . This was a very major frustration for the majority of GPBC supporters who sought any electoral reform whatsoever. Although others like Nik Loenen, "the father of electoral reform in BC" and a big STV supporter, had urged political parties not to take a stance. He felt in particular that the Green Party endorsement might alienate potential supports in mainstream parties Since that defeat of the BC-STV referundum following a trip to Australia to see how STV worked there, Carr has substantially moderated her views and now plans to support the next government-sponsored referendum on the STV model of proportional representation as does the BC Green Party in the May 2009 general election.
However, opposition to STV may have done Carr lasting damage within her party, given how close the referendum came to passing in 2005. In the convention after the 2005 election the Party gave Adriane over 85% approval in a confidence vote.It also adopted a schedule for regular leadership contests.
In 2005, she was also included in the leaders debate, this time with Gordon Campbell and Carole James of the NDP. She was expected to be strong competition in her riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast, but finished third again with 25% of the vote (a decline of 2%), 14% behind the victorious NDP candidate.
Adriane Carr resigned her position of Leader in September 2006 to become one of two deputy leaders of the Green Party of Canada now led by her political ally and long time friend Elizabeth May. In January 2007, Carr was nominated to run in the federal riding of Vancouver Centre, running against Liberal Party of Canada incumbent Hedy Fry. Carr bought a condominium in the West End and succeeded in getting the party to open up a regional office in BC at 301-207 West Hastings StreetDominion Building within the riding (Feb '07). Her work for the federal party includes being co-chair of the party's shadow cabinet.
Since July 2008 theGreen Party of British Columbia has been sharing office space with Carr and the Green Party of Canada.
|Election||Type||Total votes||% of popular vote||Place|
|Vancouver-Point Grey 1983||Provincial General||1549||3.6% (1.8%)1||8th|
|Vancouver School Board 1984||Municipal General||?||? (?)²||?|
|Powell River-Sunshine Coast 2001||Provincial General||6316||27.0%||3rd|
|Surrey-Panorama Ridge 2004||Provincial Byelection||1053||8.4%||3rd|
|Powell River-Sunshine Coast 2005||Provincial General||6585||25.8%||3rd|
1. Vancouver-Point Grey was a double-member riding; although she received only 1.8% of the total votes cast, approximately 3.6% of local electors voted for Carr.
2. Vancouver's School Board is elected by a city-wide (at-large) vote through which a total of nine positions are filled.