Elizabeth May targets key ridings for Green Party campaign
Green Leader Elizabeth May waves as she makes a campaign stop in Halifax to show support for postal workers and Canada Post, on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 10:07AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 2, 2015 2:30PM EDT
FREDERICTON -- Elizabeth May says her Green Party is concentrating its federal election efforts on a key set of ridings across the country where the party has already made inroads.
The party held just two seats in Parliament when the election was called, but is fielding candidates from coast to coast.
However, while campaigning in New Brunswick on Wednesday, May said the party is emphasizing ridings such as like Fredericton where provincial leader David Coon won a seat in the legislature last year.
"David Coon and his win here in Fredericton has broken through the barrier, just as my win in Saanich-Gulf Islands made a difference. That proved that Greens can be elected in a first-past-the-post system," she said.
"The Green party of Canada hasn't got the resources to run the kinds of campaigns that you seen Mary Lou Babineau running here in every riding across the country.
"We are clearly targeting resources where we see the best opportunity to elect Green MPs," she said.
Don Desserud, a political scientist at the University of Prince Edward Island, said it's smart for the Green party to pick its battles and not spread itself too thin.
"It's an incredibly tough haul to get to the point where you're getting enough votes across the country to see those translate into seats if you're running a national campaign," he said.
However Desserud warns that just because there's local support for provincial candidates like David Coon in New Brunswick and Peter Bevan-Baker in Prince Edward Island, that doesn't necessarily translate into votes federally.
He said a party the size of the Green party needs to look for small victories.
"Even just holding onto Elizabeth May's seat will be seen as progress. If they were able to get 10 seats across the country this would be a major game- changer for that party and for the party's reputation across the country," Desserud said.
May was in Fredericton to campaign and announce her party's strategy for seniors.
A guaranteed livable income and a national pharmacare program are among the highlights of the strategy.
May said the party supports a call from the Canadian Medical Association for programs that let seniors stay in their homes, allow them to remain active and ensure their quality of life.
She said a guaranteed livable income would supplement pensions to ensure no senior lives in poverty.
Other aspects of the Green plan include increasing the Canada Health Transfer to account for the age of a province's population.
"We must make sure that the principles and spirit of the Canada Health Act are respected, that Supreme Court decisions are honoured, that the level of care you receive in New Brunswick not be a lesser level of care than if you are in Toronto," she said.
The plan also includes a national dementia strategy which would increase the number of long-term care beds and improve supports for family members.
May said the party would also begin discussion on the thorny ethical issue of assisted suicide and the right to die with dignity.