Elizabeth May believes the current political climate is suited for the federal Green party to make gains in the fall election.
The party leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands is confident she won’t remain the lone Green elected once ballots are counted on Oct. 21.
Citing the absence of a polarizing politician like former Conservative leader Stephen Harper, the SNC-Lavalin scandal surrounding the governing Liberals and Max Bernier’s fledgling People’s Party likely to divide the Conservative vote, May said Canadians can have confidence choosing who they want as opposed to voting strategically — an issue she believes hurt the party in the 2015 election.
“This is an election where people can breathe easily knowing that with five parties nationally — and six, including the Bloc Quebecois — we’re very likely to have a minority Parliament, and in that Parliament, the most powerful and effective MPs are the ones that are good at co-operation,” she told KTW.
May visited the city on Monday night, speaking to a packed crowd of supporters at St. Andrews on the Square as part of her national Community Matters tour — an effort to gauge voters’ priorities and concerns in the run-up to the election campaign.
Monday’s forum drew questions such as whether the proportional representation debate was over, enshrining the environment in the Canadian Bill of Rights, how government can support people transitioning out of heavy industries and how to work with First Nations hereditary chiefs.
In response, May said the Greens won’t drop the proportional representation issue and that she would also like to see a federal environmental bill of rights similar to Ontario’s.
May also noted Alberta has the country’s best potential for solar and wind energy and said the Greens would propose a timeline of 2025 to repeal the Indian Act and consult with First Nations as to their preferred government model.
Asked by KTW what she took away from the night, May noted the concerns she heard about large corporations receiving favouritism and deals from governments.
“I think the Green campaign in 2019 may well have a theme about let’s restore, to the citizens of a country, the allegiance of their government,” May said.
Support for the federal Greens has waned in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding in recent elections.
Donovan Cavers, the federal Green candidate in 2008, pulled in eight per cent of the vote, then five per cent in 2011. In 2015, Matt Greenwood garnered 3.5 per cent of the vote.
Asked how the Green Party of Canada can make gains in the Kamloops riding in 2019, May noted the support Green candidates received in the 2017 provincial elections — when Dan Hines and Cavers each received about 20 per cent of the vote — as a sign of progress.
“That’s a big statement of 20 per cent of a popular vote for Greens in Kamloops. We’ll see how we do in the federal election,” she said.
“We’re feeling optimistic about electing Greens in many parts of Canada.”
The two parties share the same name and ideology, but are not directly affiliated.