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May urges climate protesters to get out and vote Green

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and candidate Pierre Nantel speak to reporters during a federal election campaign stop in Longueuil, Que., Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May and candidate Pierre Nantel speak to reporters during a federal election campaign stop in Longueuil, Que., Tuesday, October 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Green Leader Elizabeth May supports activists who are blocking bridges to spur efforts against climate change, but she says people should get out and vote if they want real action.

During an election-campaign stop Tuesday in Longueuil, Que., on Montreal’s South Shore, May said she backs the movement known as Extinction Rebellion, whose participants shut down Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Protesters block Jacques Cartier Bridge
Protesters block Jacques Cartier Bridge

May said she generally supports actions of non-violent civil disobedience, noting she was arrested protesting the planned Trans Mountain Pipeline project in British Columbia. “So the anger from our youth and anger from Extinction Rebellion is something I totally understand.”

But May quickly added that voting Green in the coming federal election is the most effective way to ensure Canada confronts the climate emergency by seriously curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.

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“What’s the most significant, meaningful thing you can do to get climate action? Right now we’re having a referendum on climate in this country, that’s what the election is about,” she said.

“The much more effective way to get climate action is to make sure that everyone you know votes. Particularly young people _ get out and vote.”

Leaders’ Debate: May calls Trudeau’s climate targets ‘a commitment to failure’
Leaders’ Debate: May calls Trudeau’s climate targets ‘a commitment to failure’

The Greens advocate phasing out bitumen production between 2030 and 2035, and object to approval of any new pipeline, coal-mining project, or oil or gas drilling.

Campaigning with candidate Pierre Nantel, who defected from the NDP earlier this year, May said the Greens will oppose construction of a fossil-fuel pipeline anywhere in Quebec.

In the English-language leaders’ debate Monday, May chided Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for pushing ahead with the Trans Mountain project and not doing enough to reduce emissions.

In a statement Tuesday, she said it’s shocking that Trudeau “refuses to be clearer with Quebecers” on whether he will push a pipeline project in their backyard.

READ MORE: Canada election: Promises Trudeau, Scheer, Singh, May and Blanchet have made

Last June, Nantel tabled a parliamentary motion affirming the Quebec government’s right to refuse any pipeline project following a unanimous motion in the provincial legislature claiming that right.

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The Greens say he is committed to tabling it again as a bill to ensure that Quebec, and the 11 Indigenous nations in the province, have a veto on pipelines.

“It’s time to unite on the climate crisis,” Nantel said Tuesday.