If recent electoral breakthroughs on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are any indication, a Green wave may be growing as the country heads towards the fall election.
Both the surge to Official Opposition status in Prince Edward Island and the sweeping of Vancouver Island’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding out from under the NDP’s feet appear to have come as the Greens drew voters from other parties on the left of the political spectrum.
But Elizabeth May, the federal Green Party leader, says while she’s sure her party will continue gathering voters from more traditional parties, it’s those who don’t vote at all that she is most focused on attracting to the ballot boxes come October.
“To be honest, the ones I most want to attract are the ones so disgusted by politics that they don’t vote at all,” she said in an interview with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson.
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Last Monday, the Greens made victory when Paul Manly secured a strong win in the byelection fight for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, giving the party its second-ever elected seat in the House of Commons.
The NDP won that seat handily in 2015 but only finished third in last week’s race, with the Liberals limping in fourth place.
That loss marked the second time the party, under Leader Jagmeet Singh, has lost an incumbent seat after the party lost Montreal’s Outremont riding to the Liberals earlier this year.
The Green victory also came on the heels of a historic finish in the PEI provincial elections last month.
Voters dumped the incumbent Liberals for a Progressive Conservative minority with the Greens as opposition, a finish that saw the latter’s wave crest on the backs of the floundering provincial Grits.
In all, there are now 17 Greens elected as both provincial and federal representatives — and May says she expects that number will grow.
“The more that Greens are elected, the more that Greens will be elected,” she predicted.
“As voters get exposed to us and what we do when we get elected … I think what they realize over and over again is that the most sensible answers to tough questions are coming from Green people.”
Whether the party can pull not only votes but ousted members from the Liberals is also a subject of speculation right now.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general who sounded the alarm over alleged attempted political interference by Trudeau and his staff in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, has yet to declare whether she will run for another party in the election.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked her out of caucus after raising those concerns publicly.
Since then, Wilson-Raybould has said she’s spoken with May about the possibility of running for the party but that no decision has been made.
But her attendance at May’s wedding at the end of April revived those questions, as did a tweet she posted last week congratulating Manley for his victory.
May said she isn’t offering anything to try to lure either Wilson-Raybould or former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, who Trudeau also kicked out of caucus after she demanded answers on the allegations of attempted political interference.
“We haven’t offered anything like in terms of a perk,” she said.
“Joining the Green Party is hard work and all I can offer them is the chance to stand on their own two feet and I will never tell them what to do.”