James Beddome, Leader of the Green Party of Manitoba
CTV News Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, August 27, 2019 8:30AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, August 27, 2019 8:41AM CST
James Beddome grew up on a farm in the Little Saskatchewan River Valley with his family near Rapid City, Man., and according to the Green Party, the “pastoral rural setting” inspired his strong appreciation for nature and the environment. He continues to garden today.
His interest in social justice and poverty reduction began developing at an early age. At six years old, Beddome organized a charity craft sale and won an appreciation award from the Salvation Army, along with some media attention.
Beddome moved to Winnipeg in 2001 to pursue undergraduate studies in politics and economics at the University of Manitoba and first became involved with the Green Party shortly afterward.
He was elected leader of the Green Party of Manitoba in 2008, the same year he began law school at the University of Manitoba. As his legal studies were winding down, he took a break from serving as party leader in 2013 before returning in 2014, the same year he was called to the bar.
During the 2016 election, he impressed many during the only televised leaders’ debate, when a political professor gave him credit for having the “best” performance.
He and colleague Seneca Longclaws founded a legal corporation focusing on First Nations and Indigenous legal proceedings in 2017, including work in environmental law and civil litigation.
The Manitoba Greens released an election platform in mid-August.
It includes a carbon tax that would start at $50 per tonne in 2020, rising by $10 each year afterward. The money would go to free transit, a guaranteed basic income and a subsidized bus service for rural and northern areas, among other initiatives.
The Greens have not yet seen a member get elected at the provincial level in Manitoba. In 2019, Beddome is running against NDP Leader Wab Kinew for the seat in Fort Rouge.