May 30, 2015 1:35 am
Updated: May 30, 2015 1:39 am

Elizabeth May kicks off re-election campaign in Saanich—Gulf Islands


WATCH: Elizabeth May discusses her goals in this year’s election on BC1

In 2011, Elizabeth May made history when she became the first Green Party candidate elected in a federal election in Canada, defeating Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn to win the riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands.

This year, she’s once again hoping to be elected in the riding. But this time, she’s planning on bringing fellow Greens with her to Ottawa.

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“We will expect to win quite a lot of seats across the country,” she said when asked of her expectations for the party in the next federal election.

“We’re polling from anywhere from seven to ten per cent nationally. That’s a reasonable projection for how many votes we’re going to get across the country,” she added from Victoria, where she was finishing off a day kicking off her re-election campaign.

“We are drawing supporters from just about everywhere, and the people I most want to get votes from is the people who didn’t vote in the last election. There’s 40 per cent of Canadians who chose to stay home in the last couple of elections, and we need to reengage those voters,” she said.

“Every time a Green Party MP or MLA has won somewhere in Canada, we’ve had extremely high voter turnout. We are clearly appealing to people who wouldn’t have voted at all.”

May believes the party has momentum after the election of a Green MLA in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick in the last year.

“Until I won my seat, the political wisdom was the Greens can’t win anywhere, because the first past the post system, forget about it, it’s a wasted vote,” she said.

“Now, we’ve never had as many donations, we’ve never had as many supporters, and we have fantastic candidates.”

Among those candidates in British Columbia are former CBC host Jo-Ann Roberts in Victoria, SFU professor and Burnaby Mountain protester Lynne Quarmby in Burnaby-North Seymour, and another former CBC personality, meteorologist Claire Martin, in North Vancouver.

While her party is known for their stances on the environment, May believes there are other aspects of the Greens that resonate with voters.

“We’re a party that has sensible economic strategies as well as strong policies for social justice. People know we’re a strong advocate for the environment…[but] a lot of people appreciate that I stand up for democracy in parliament. I never heckle in the House of Commons. I’ve been more transparent than any other MP putting my full expenses online.”

It means May is hoping that the next time she gets significant national attention, it’s for something more positive than her recent outburst at the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner.

“I feel horrible. But it was what it was…Asked by the media to do a comedy sketch, it’s obviously not something I showed have tried. I hope the voters know what they get with me is a hard working parliamentarian,” she said.

The federal election is scheduled for October 19.

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