It started three years ago with a phone call.
“Gord, don’t hang up. Just hear me out. It’s Andrew.”
At the end of the phone line was then-leader Andrew Weaver asking Gord Baird, environmentalist and Highlands councillor, to consider running for the Green Party. Baird politely said thanks – but no thanks.
Fast forward to today.
“This time, I thought there was nobody out there willing to approach the issues that needed to be advanced,” said Baird, the Green candidate for the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding. “I can sit back and be an observer, or I can be a participant.”
In a recent interview, Baird said he’s been non-partisan his entire life, but when Premier John Horgan called a snap election, it drew a moral response.
“This is political shenanigans. If [the election call] was a snap decision, then it was in poor judgment, and if it was a planned decision, it was unethical,” he said.
Baird grew up in a family with three brothers and a sister. He credits his mother for his strong will and social conscience.
The family never belonged to a political party but voted. Politics was often discussed around the dinner table.
Baird, 51, and his wife Anne have two grown children and live on a farm in Highlands.
Gord has a bachelor of arts from Simon Fraser University and is the co-owner of Eco-Sense Living, a diversified business that focuses on integrated, regenerative design systems for water, energy, food, and buildings. His home was called the “World’s Greenest House” for over a decade with the award of Living Building Challenge Petal Recognition.
He is also a second-term councillor on Highlands council.
Baird said he was drawn to the Green Party because many issues need to be dealt with, from housing to climate to health care.
“All these crises are connected, and we must elect people who grasp how connected everything is, and then completely overhaul our approach. Tweaking policy is not going to do it,” he said.
Scott Richardson, president of the Highlands Community Association, has known Baird for more than 15 years.
“Lots of people I talk to are aware there is a climate emergency, some people are doing things about it, but there’s nobody I’ve met who has made a kind of lifestyle change that [Gord and Ann] have made. Gord lives his life with so much integrity.”
The biggest question circulating in the provincial campaign is whether anybody can beat Horgan on his home turf of Langford-Juan de Fuca. Horgan won the last election by more than 6,600 votes.
Baird said after only a few days of campaigning, he’d changed his view on whether he could win. That change of heart came from talking to voters and getting a clearer grasp of the issues.
“All bets are off. John is intelligent, smooth, and he’s folksy, but so am I,” he said.