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Politics

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May wins re-election in Saanich-Gulf Islands

Praising what she called an "historic" night for her party in the 2019 Federal Election, Green Party Leader Elizabeth may joked that Andrew Scheer owed her "fifty bucks" after she predicted he would not form government.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has safely won her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands for another term, Global News projects, assuring at least one Green MP will remain in Parliament.

May won her third straight victory over a Conservative in the traditionally right-leaning riding, beating David Busch handsomely.

Liberal candidate Ryan Windsor came in third, a disappointing result for the Central Saanich mayor who was tapped by the party in a clear attempt to unseat May. The NDP’s Sabina Singh and People’s Party of Canada candidate Ron Broda came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

“I know in my heart that all Canadians do care about the future, they care about climate change,” May told a boisterous crowd at Green Party headquarters in Victoria.

May’s initial victory in 2011 was one of that election’s most surprising political stories. Prior to May moving across the country for her successful run, the riding was represented by former Conservative minister Gary Lunn for nearly 15 years.

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The work May has put in over the last eight years has made the riding one of the most secure for an incumbent in the country. In 2015, May earned more than 50 per cent of the vote against her Conservative rival Robert Boyd.

May has won considerable support for her climate-first campaign strategy, which she leaned on in this latest election.

READ MORE: Could the youth-led climate movement lead to change at the ballot box in B.C.?

The Green leader also pushed other progressive ideas to separate her party from the similarly left-leaning and environmentally conscious NDP, including universal Pharmacare and electoral reform.

May focused the majority of her energy in B.C. ridings, hoping to increase the Greens’ seat count again after Paul Manly was elected in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection.

She was particularly forceful in her home on Vancouver Island, campaigning heavily with not only Manly but candidates in Victoria and other southern island ridings that have come close to electing Greens before.

In the end, those additional victories were limited to Manly’s re-election. The party’s closest bet, in Victoria, failed to materialize in a win once again. Still, with a historic victory in Fredericton, May was positive about the future.

“We have more than doubled our popular vote, and we tripled our seat count” from 2015, May said to cheers. “We know we can work hard … and we can make a significant contribution in a minority Parliament, and we will.”

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May has said she’s willing to talk to all parties in the event of a minority situation, but describes New Democrat, Conservative and Liberal environmental policies as road maps for failure.

READ MORE: The NDP holds most of Vancouver Island, but Greens and Tories see blood in the water

In particular, she has said any support of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would be a dealbreaker in forming any sort of coalition government.

May also predicted a contentious relationship with the NDP and its leader Jagmeet Singh in Ottawa in the wake of that party’s spread of disinformation about the Greens and its platform throughout the campaign.

“It’s hard not to take it personally. It was an extraordinarily generous thing we did to help [Singh] win his seat,” she said, referring to the Green’s choice not to run a candidate against Singh in his byelection in Burnaby South.

“I got hate mail against me in my mailbox in my own riding. It definitely fell below a low bar that I didn’t think we’d see in politics.”