'I'm rooting for more Green MPs': Elizabeth May's closing argument
Published Thursday, October 15, 2015 10:55PM EDT
CTV News invited all party leaders to make their closing arguments before voters head to the polls on Oct. 19.
CTV News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme sat down with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May on Thursday, following interviews with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper declined.
Here's a transcript of the interview with May:
Lisa LaFlamme: So there's three days of campaigning left. You have two seats in the House. Realistically, what are your expectations for election night?
Elizabeth May: More seats. I mean, when this campaign began, I had, and I still have, the hope to see 12 to 15 Greens elected. And for the sake of a functional, healthy, co-operative Parliament, I'm rooting for more Green MPs.
LaFlamme: I know you've got double digits in some of the ridings, particularly in British Columbia. But you must have seen that full-page ad in the Globe and Mail the other day, basically saying the Green Party doesn't stand a chance of winning in so many of these ridings, and asking you not to be a political spoiler and allow Stephen Harper back into office. What was your reaction to that?
May: Well, you know, I'm always baffled by the fact that this catches on. My daughter says it has "truthiness" but if people go and look, they'll see that when Greens have done our best in an electoral result, we've kept Conservatives to a minority. And when we were pretty much wiped out in the last election by being kept out of all the debates, that was when Stephen Harper got a majority. So if -- and one can assume Stephen Harper is, if nothing else, a master political strategist -- if Greens doing well help the Conservative Party, I really think Mr. Harper would have been helping me be in debates instead of keeping me out.
So we don't actually play that role. And the reason is, we appeal to people who otherwise might not vote at all. We appeal to Conservatives who just can’t see themselves voting for the corruption and the scandals and the contempt of parliamentary institutions. And of course, we also appeal to people in other parties who are disappointed in their own leadership. But we are not doing anything that would assist Stephen Harper, particularly on Vancouver Island where there’s not a prayer for a Conservative winning a seat, for heaven’s sake. Vote for your strongest candidate.
LaFlamme: On the issue then of strategic voting, you support it then if you're saying, "vote for your strongest candidate."
May: Well, I don't because I think it's a form of voter suppression. I think the words "vote strategically" translates in the human brain to: "Oh I can’t vote for what I want." And that's discouraging. So I think the reality of it is that if we can encourage every single Canadian to vote, and that includes the 40 per cent of us who did not vote in the last election, that more than outstrips any dubious benefits of this "voting strategic" thing.
LaFlamme: But I have to ask you then about the fact that you have ballot placeholders in Quebec. Seventy-eight candidates, some of them have never been to Quebec -- no profile, no photograph. Doesn't that diminish the process in your view?
May: No, because we're not making any bones about it. I mean, after all, the great success that the NDP experienced in Quebec in the last election was a lot of people who never stepped foot in their ridings. But the point is you want your platform and your policies to be represented on all those ballots.
LaFlamme: But what about your own daughter who is running? Has she even been to that riding?
LaFlamme: You say that so unapologetically.
May: Well, why would I apologize? So there's no insult intended. The important thing is that Green Party policy is derived from our membership and our membership wanted to make sure that we have the opportunity for Canadians everywhere to vote Green.
LaFlamme: What do you want though? Obviously, we've been looking at a tight three-way race here. A minority government appears to be possible, but who knows what's going to happen on election night. We know how you feel about the Conservative government, but who would you prefer to work with -- the Liberals or the NDP?
May: Either Mr. Mulcair or Mr. Trudeau are someone I can work with. And with more Green MPs, the better to have the leverage to say, "No tankers on our coastlines, thank you very much." We're going to defend our coastline, we want the repeal of Bill C-51, but we will work co-operatively and respectfully to restore fundamental principles like the supremacy of Parliament.
LaFlamme: And what happens then after election night if you don't get the 12 seats you're hoping for? Do you look within? Do you look at the leadership of your party?
May: The members will decide. We have a leadership review after every election. It's not a big deal for me to be leader of the Green Party. It is a big deal for me to represent the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands. I love being a parliamentarian. I love it but I don't like politics. And I hate elections.