Green Order of Danforth

Our outgoing leader, Jim Harris, is one of the members of our EDA (Electoral District Association).  Actually, it is only at this convention that I discovered that we have another former leader in the riding, Chris Lea, who was leader from 1990-1996.

Jim has some superb qualities.  He’s an unparalleled fundraiser and he’s a moving speaker.  He pushed the party to field a candidate in every riding, which led to enormous growth in visibility, in votes, in membership and in party finances.  He has also been very helpful to me personally, responding to my questions and addressing my requests.

I wanted to thank Jim at the convention.  But I also wanted to make it fun.  I remembered Jim’s “Order of Green” award.  He carries these things by the dozens in his pockets.  They are small lapel pins with the Green Party logo.  He hands them out liberally, always with a degree of solemnity that somehow leaves you moved, even though the recipients are legion and it is, after all, just a pin.  He compares it to the Order of Canada.  He calls the recipients his heroes.  He extols their contributions above and beyond the call of duty.  Quite often, he cries when he’s handing these things out.

So I decided to create a Green Order of Danforth in Jim’s honour.  It is a green paper clip.  It is given to anyone who contributes to the EDA above and beyond the call of duty.  If you put up a lawn sign, volunteer, show up at an event or contribute money, you are definitely eligible.  You can collect them and make a necklace.

Jim got the very first one at the awards dinner at the convention.  His wife Lee Anne got the second.  And a funny thing happened to me on stage as I tried to speak in the same serious voice that Jim uses when handing out little bits of metal.  I actually started getting into it.  A wierd part of my brain actually started to take this seriously.  So while there’s definitely an amusing aspect to the Green Order of Danforth paperclip, I think it does serve as an effective token of appreciation.  It isn’t large and cumbersome.  It isn’t something that somebody’s going to have too much of already.  It’s something most people can actually use.  On the last day of the convention, I gave them out to all the delegates of our riding association who were still there, and noticed, with a certain satisfaction, that some were displaying their paperclips attached to their shirt collars.

So, what began as a bit of a joke is probably here to stay.  And your first opportunity to get your Green Order of Danforth will be Monday, at Union Station, 8 pm.  See you there.

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