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MONTREAL, MONTREAL, DECEMBER 8, 2005– Green Party of Canada leader Jim Harris visited James Lyng High School in St. Henri recently, enlightening more than 100 Secondary IV and V students about his platform.

Mr. Harris has been an active member of the Green Party for over 17 years. Since 1990, he has run as a candidate in municipal, provincial, and federal elections in his ongoing efforts to raise environmental awareness. He was elected leader of the Green Party of Canada in 2003 and led the party through its most successful election ever, winning nearly 600,000 votes - almost six times the results for 2000.

Politically, Mr. Green’s shift to ecological conservative was motivated by the need to create a positive future for future generations. In the short time that he has been leader, the Green Party has gone from relative obscurity to becoming a major player on the political landscape. The staggering success of the 2004 election campaign marked a significant point in the party’s evolution.

"The Green Party is concerned about education," said Mr. Harris. "Education is the fuel of the future because we have a knowledge based economy."

Mr. Harris told the students that last year the federal government issued $1.4 billion of subsidies to oil and gas companies at a time when they are making record profits. "Yet there are 1.1 million children living below the poverty line," he stated. "They are the ones that need our help – not the oil and gas industry."

Mr. Harris said that 25 percent of his candidates are aged 25 or younger "so we are bringing different issues to the table."

In an animated question and answer period, students wanted to know how they could make a difference in relation to the Green Party agenda. He urged them to convince coffee houses like Second Cup not to use so many Styrofoam cups and instead offer reduced prices for customers who bring their own travel coffee mugs. Grocery stores, he says, should yes less plastic bags and encourage customers to bring their own sacks. And by using compact fluorescent light bulbs in the house, 75 percent less energy can be used and $270 saved over the lifetime of what a regular bulb would cost. Using public transit instead of an automobile was another one of his recommendations. "Convince your parents," he said. "I convinced mine to compost. You all can really make a difference."

Born and raised in Toronto, Mr. Harris began his schooling in French, attending Lakefield College (the very school Prince Andrew attended on his Canadian exchange) and Queen’s University, where he studied English and political science. He worked for the Financial Post, where he co-authored The 100 Best Companies to work for in Canada (a national best seller). His second book, The Learning Paradox, was nominated for the National Business Book Award in Canada, and is ranked as one of the top ten business books in all of North America. Following the recent success of Blindsided, he is writing a new book aptly named Going Green.

James Lyng Principal Wayne Commeford presented Mr. Harris with an official school sweatshirt.

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213