May issues grades on Trudeau government, plans to stay on as leader in 2019
OTTAWA – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government is in need of a mid-mandate course correction as broken promises continue to pile up, warning that unfulfilled commitments will fuel cynicism and "hurt democracy in a very fundamental way."
May issued a report card on the government’s performance two years in, comparing their promises to their record so far, and in her eyes, the results are mixed. The government got failing marks on democratic reform and transportation, low grades on the environment and agriculture, and an incomplete in the Indigenous file. The highest mark was on immigration, which May gave a B+.
"My advice is: get serious. You can’t expect Canadians who had hope that you were going to keep your promises to have any faith in any promises you ever make again, if you claim climate leadership and then don’t deliver it… if you say you’re going to act for Indigenous peoples and Cindy Blackstock is still standing there with the order from the Human Rights Tribunal that says Indigenous children receive so much less than non-Indigenous children… these promises matter to Canadians," May told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
May is placing some of the blame on the bureaucracy. She said certain departments are showing signs of not yet emerging from the culture of the previous Conservative government, citing Transport Canada’s work on restoring navigable waters protections as the Liberals promised. She also said Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as Finance Canada, have a ways to go to deliver on the government’s progressive promises.
One of the biggest broken promises that May said she is still shocked by is the pledge that 2015 would be the last first-past-the-post federal election. After spending thousands on consultations and hearings, in February the Liberals announced they’d no longer be pursuing it, citing an inability to reach a consensus.
But May said there is still time, if the government wants to pursue electoral reform under a new timeframe.
A vocal critic of heckling in the House of Commons, May said there is still too much reading of notes and "bad high school drama" during question period and debates. She credits the Liberals for trying to improve the tone, but said the behaviour of the other opposition parties remains "appalling."
May said, now’s the time for Trudeau to revisit what’s left to be done on each minister’s mandate letter and reevaluate how to get it done.
"This is your last chance, his last chance, to deliver on these promises. You’ve got two years until the next election."
May plans to lead into 2019
It’s becoming increasingly likely May will face off against the other federal party leaders, as leader of the Green Party in the 2019 election. May is currently the only member of the Green Party with a seat in the House of Commons. She is planning on running again in her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding, but said, if another Green Party MP is elected to Parliament before the next general election, and they are interested in leading the party, she’d be open to stepping aside.
"It may be that a generational change would be in the interest of the Green Party, if such a person and a strong candidate were available. Otherwise, I’m very happy to run in 2019 as leader of the Green Party."
May said it’s a priority for the leader of the Greens to have a seat in the House of Commons.
The Green Party report card on the Liberal government:
Environmental law: D
Foreign Policy: C
Indigenous Peoples: Incomplete
Public Safety: B-