Green Party Leader Runs in Federal Bi-Election

Monday, October 30, 2006

Written by May Warren

Newly elected Green Party leader Elizabeth May has announced her candidacy in the first federal bi-election since the Conservatives elected a minority government last January. May, the former executive director of the Sierra Club and longtime environmental activist, is running in the riding of London North- Centre. Liberal MP Joe Fontana vacated the seat when he stepped down to run as Mayor of the city.

The Greens, who currently sit at an 11 per cent support level in Ontario, believe the demographics of the riding, as well as May’s high public profile may help to make her the first ever Green Member of Parliament elected in Canada.

“The Conservatives are unpopular right now, having just released the widely criticized Clean Air Act. At a time when Canadians are increasingly calling for action on global warming, the Clean Air Act does nothing for climate change for 44 years ,” argues Guelph Greens’ Communications Chair Carl Griffin, who says he is “very optimistic” about May’s chances.

Griffin adds that May has been receiving positive media attention in everything from the London Free Press to the New York Times, and says that increased funding will help her campaign. “This will be the first time that a Green Party candidate runs a fully funded campaign,” he reports.

May was born in Connecticut and raised in Nova Scotia. She graduated from Dalhousie law School in 1983 and counts Bill Clinton among her friends.
Despite lacking a personal connection with the riding of London North-Centre, Griffin believes May would accurately represent the voters of that constituency.

“Elizabeth is a quick study, and will master the local issues quickly,” he says adding that a federal leader from the riding could only increase its profile.

“Elizabeth plans to be in London for most of the next five weeks. She plans to knock on every door in the riding,” he explains. “This is an opportunity for London to make history by sending the first Green Party representative to Ottawa.”

Griffin argues that even though other parties may include the environment in their platforms, the Green’s environmental polices are the most comprehensive and progressive.

“The Conservative’s Clean Air Act is completely inadequate, with nothing concrete until 2050. The measures are far less than those being taken by jurisdictions such as Republican led California. The Liberals paid lip service to Kyoto, but made no concrete progress,” he reports adding “the Green Party platform goes beyond the limitations of the traditional parties. It puts the environment at the centre of its policies, and goes beyond old style politics.”

Griffin calls May “an exceptional individual and leader” who can change the nature of Canadian politics.“She will raise the tone and reduce the bully-boy behavior we see in the House of Commons. She is focused on real issues of substance and down-to-earth solutions,” he says.

Voters in London North Centre will go to the polls to elect a new Member of Parliament on November 23.

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