Local federal Green Party candidate Elizabeth May accused Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau of political opportunism in triggering an unnecessary election during the kick-off for her campaign in Sidney.
She also accused Trudeau of giving voters little time to learn about candidates with just 36 days for the campaign. Finally, she questioned how safe the campaign will be as Canada enters a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Elections have always been about shaking hands and kissing babies,” she said in Beacon Park. “Not this one.”
May, who formerly led the federal Greens, is running as the incumbent Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. David Busch is running for the Conservative Party of Canada, Sabina Singh for the New Democrats, Sherri Moore-Arbour for the federal Liberals, and David Hilderman for the People’s Party of Canada.
Canadians will head to the polls on Sept. 20 after Governor General Mary Simon agreed to a request from Trudeau on Sunday to dissolve Parliament, less than two years after voters confirmed him as prime minister as leader of the largest party in the House of Commons while denying him a majority of seats.
While May questioned the need for an election, she did note the environment will be front and centre during the campaign.
“It must be addressed and no other party in this campaign has anything like a shred of credibility on the climate crisis — not federally, not provincially,” she said. “Only the Greens understand this is climate emergency that requires acting like an emergency.”
According to an opinion poll by the Angus Reid Institute, 45 per cent of surveyed British Columbians say the environment and climate change is a top priority for them.
When asked how Greens can convince Canadians they are best equipped to deal with climate change when they can not keep their own house in order, May said Canadians are not interested in that. “What Canadians care about is the climate emergency,” she said.
The Greens entered the last campaign in 2019 with high hopes of picking up additional seats. But those hopes went unfulfilled (with Greens accusing New Democrats of having played dirty politics during the campaign) and the party has since found itself the subject of several controversies centred on its new leader Annamie Paul. One MP — Jenica Atwin — deepened the turmoil when she crossed the floor to sit with the federal Liberals.
While May later acknowledged that expectations might not be as high for the Greens as they were in 2019, she said the Greens are in a good place to win locally, as well as pick up seats elsewhere on Vancouver Islands.
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