Gareth Williams: a Liberal who became a Green.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2019



Gareth Williams ran in the 2018 municipal election. He put up a good fight but despite having the incumbent, who was retiring, working with him he was unable to win the seat.

Williams has been an active citizen; served on the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee for six years – as the Chair for the last two years.

He is knowledgeable; works in the IT field at McMaster University where his focus is on the property security side.

Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams after the Burlington Green election event.

Williams was seen as a Liberal – active, to some degree. He has always been an environmentalist. As climate change began to occupy more of the public’s attention Williams began to become disenchanted with what the Liberals were doing.

He was never a fan of Justin Trudeau; he supported Stephane Dion in 2006 when he ran for the Liberal leadership.He was aghast when the federal government bought the Transmountain Pipe line and argues that when they put the pipe in put in the ground it is going to be there for fifty years with the expectation that it will carry oil from Alberta. He doesn’t believe that they will stop transporting oil once Canada doesn’t need it – Williams adroitly points out that the oil leaving Alberta will be going west and exported to the Japanese.

Williams admires Karina Gould – that admiration doesn’t stretch as far as the Prime Minister.

When it became clear that Climate Change was going to be the issue in the federal election Williams decided it was time for him to leave the Liberals and become a full fledged Green.

Williams described himself as a Green Liberal

The decision to make the move did have a timing problem. Williams had planned a vacation to British Columbia with his wife the week the Greens held their nomination meeting. He took part via Skype and won the nomination.

Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams: Is he electable ?

The Greens had just the one seat in the House of Commons, they got a second seat through a by-election and expect to win four, perhaps five more seats in the October 21st election.

The chances of a win for the Greens in Burlington are slim – some would say slim to none.  Williams doesn’t see it that way. He is running to win even though he is not able to take time off work to campaign.

He scurries back to Burlington at the end of each work day to canvas. He does the door to door thing in the evenings and on weekends.

The Green campaign is very very thin on the ground. The “team” consists of four people with very little money for signs or literature.

Williams does have some strong support. Former Mayor Rick Goldring has gone door to door with him and former ward 3 Councillor John Taylor is providing solid support.

During the municipal election we found Williams a little wooden; stiff, slightly awkward with people.

He has grown as a politician since last October. He more than held his own during the Burlington Green debate and gave a stronger closing statement than Cabinet Minister Karina Gould during the Chamber of Commerce Q&A.

The other three candidates who participated read from prepared statements. One had to follow the lines of the page she was reading from with her fingers.  Williams spoke extemporaneously and did very well.

Gareth Williams 2

Gareth Williams: a politician who has grown.

The big, fundamental, over riding question for Williams, and all those who have dedicated themselves is – can we reverse the climate change trajectory ?  Have we reached a tipping point where we are not going to be able to save this planet?

A wise woman once said on a CBC broadcast that this earth has experienced extinctions before – I think she said that there were four – the species that is facing extinction this time is us. Are we intelligent enough to know that we have gone too far and that changes have to be made now?

Gareth Williams wants to be part of a government that ensures we do change and that we do survive.


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3 comments to Gareth Williams: a Liberal who became a Green.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Listen to this then decide who to vote for:

  • Steve

    Has Mr. Williams spoken, one word, about the biggest polluters on the planet, Chian, India, and Indonesia? One word.

    • Andrew Drummond

      In a word Steve, Yes.

      I have been to all the debates and Gareth has commented many times on Canada’s need to be a world leader and how the actions we take both improve Canada and allow us greater advocacy to fix the issues in higher polluting nations.

      There are many ways to criticize the Green Party’s platform (and I obviously am not supporting it), but accusing Gareth of being exclusively Canada-centric is not accurate.