Rise of the Greens? Elizabeth May reacts to the Green Party's byelection win
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 8:45PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 7, 2019 8:53PM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Green Party’s victory in Monday’s federal byelection shows that Canadians are “preoccupied” with climate change -- but Green Party Leader Elizabeth May wants voters to know that her platform is about more than the environment.
“We’ve always had a comprehensive platform…we’ve always pressed for pharmacare, we’ve pressed for social justice, for guaranteed minimum income -- actually ending poverty,” May told CTV’s Power Play host Don Martin on Tuesday. “We have a more comprehensive foreign policy online that people can find more than any of the other parties.”
“I don’t know that they even know their own foreign policy to hear some of the other leaders talk,” she continued.
Green Party candidate Paul Manly received 37.4 per cent of the vote in the B.C. Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection on Monday -- a far lead over second-place Conservative candidate John Hirst, who got about 25 per cent.
“Paul Manly’s campaign was terrific,” said May. “He’s a wonderful candidate.”
May also wanted to be clear that while her party platform is comprehensive, Manly’s win does show that “the voters of Nanaimo-Ladysmith are very concerned about the climate crisis” among other issues such as housing, local representation and fracking.
B.C. is a prominent area for the Green Party, with John Kidder, May’s husband, getting ready to run in his riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser-Canyon – but May was quick to point out the results from the provincial election in P.E.I, where the Green Party is now the Official Opposition.
Professor of political science at Simon Fraser University Stewart Prest told CTV News Channel Tuesday that this result is indicative of “voters saying we need something else instead.”
Prest said that normally when voters are unhappy with the major parties, the “protest vote” usually goes to the NDP.
“Voters are clearly looking for nuanced ways to express their opinions,” Prest said. “These big tent parties are not coming through and providing answers to questions -- like issues of social justice, issues of environmental action.”
“Voters are clearly signalling there’s something wanting.”
May told reporters on Parliament Hill that this momentum can translate to wins at the federal level.
“Anything is possible in the next federal election,” she said. “If we can as a smaller party get our message out and let Canadians know we want to go to work for them.”