SIDNEY — With more than 80 per cent of polls reporting on Oct. 19, Elizabeth May has stormed to a big win in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
The incumbent MP and Green Party leader, held on to her seat in the House of Commons as the Liberal Party swept the Conservatives out of power, winning a majority government in Ottawa.
May was the first leader to call Liberal leader — and new Prime Minister — Justin Trudeau, and expressed her joy that Harper is not PM anymore.
“I asked Justin when can I see [him], we need to talk about the climate treaty … in Paris.”
May earned nearly 55 per cent of the total votes cast in Saanich-Gulf Islands (Elections Canada results as of the PNR’s press time, unofficial). She was followed by Robert Boyd and the Conservative Party with close to 20 per cent. The Liberals’ Tim Kane finished third with close to 17 per cent of the vote. The NDP’s Alicia Cormier was fourth with nine per cent.
“When the election was called I was going to be in the national English language TV debate,” May continued. “Unfortunately between Harper and (NDP leader Thomas) Mulcair it was cancelled. That was a key part of our campaign strategy. When I was in the national televised debates in 2008 that’s when our popular vote soared.”
Nationally, the Green Party was only able to garner 3.3 per cent of the popular vote this election.
In comparison, the Liberals received almost 40 per cent of the vote, the Conservatives, 32 per cent. All vote totals are unofficial at this time.
“In this context with great candidates, if we had had an English language national television debate we would have seen news coverage all campaign on four parties,” May said. “Instead we kept seeing three parties. That takes a toll on great campaigns. That and people saying even if you love the Green party you can’t vote green, it takes it’s toll.”
Conservative candidate Robert Boyd addressed a crowd of voters in a quick speech in Cordova Bay.
“I want everyone here tonight to reflect on the decade of accomplishment that Conservative government has brought this country and the things that this country now focusses on rather than the things in the past that we focussed on,” he said.
He added that voters are always right and it seemed that they were looking for change.
“Nothing shocks me in politics anymore. I’ve seen quite a lot in the last decade. I’m very proud of our record though, I’m very proud of the last decade that Prime Minister Harper has been leading our country.”
With the Liberals winning a majority government, Boyd said the Conservatives will continue to serve as the official opposition in the new parliament and provide an alternative so that at the next general election, they can once again meet the country.
“I’ve had the best time of my life meeting with people in our community, reconnecting with old friends … being able to talk to people about the issues that matter most to them.”
Kane said the Liberals saw great gains in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
“We had expected more,” he said, but we are very happy with (close to) 17 per cent of the vote. We were at six per cent in 2011.”
Kane said his party’s majority was unexpected, but welcome.
“Over the last week or so, the polls were trending well and into majority territory. We knew we were in at least minority territory.”
He said while he didn’t win here, he’s still breathing a sigh of relief that Canada now has a prime minister “who will speak to the diversity of Canada and to welcome others — including the Conservatives, who Justin said are our neighbours.”
Kane added he was not surprised May won the riding, noting she is popular here. While he said May worked hard, her work now, as the lone Green MP in Ottawa, is cut out for her.
May added strategic voting was the single main factor [working against Green], particularly in B.C.
“I had people in my own riding I had to talk out of voting for another party because they somehow thought that voting for me would help Harper.
“I sympathize with where their fear was coming from. NDP fed it hard on Vancouver Island that you had to vote NDP to stop Harper and you can see that the NDP was not the party to stop Harper.
“I know there’s a huge base of voters in B.C. that wanted to vote Green and told me they couldn’t, but they all said, next time, once Harper’s gone, next time.”
— with files from the PNR and Saanich News
Cormier, NDP upbeat despite election finish
1SIDNEY — A fourth-place finish in Saanich-Gulf Islands is not the result NDP candidate Alicia Cormier had expected, yet her campaign office in Sidney was still in a good mood, seeing a wholesale change of government in Canada.
“This was a general desire to change the government,” said Cormier. “That was the main issue. It was not the result we had hoped for, but obviously the Liberal campaign worked.”
In Saanich-Gulf Islands, unofficial election results put Cormier into fourth place after incumbent MP Elizabeth May (re-elected), the Conservative candidate Robert Boyd and Liberal Time Kane.
“My hat is off to (May),” Cormier continued. “She really does have a lot of local support.”
She did, however, stick with her campaign message that to see any real environmental policy change in Canada, people need to elect a national party with a chance to form government.
“I’m really proud of Tom’s (Mulcair) leadership.”
Cormier said she’s proud of her campaign volunteers and of the momentum the party gained during the election. She said having her picture taken with teen NDP supporters on the Salt Spring Island ferry on the weekend was a highlight.
She said she now plans to resume her duties as a municipal councillor in the District of Central Saanich, and continue to work for the NDP.
“I think there’s a future for the NDP here,” she said.
— Steven Heywood