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Green Party candidate Paul Manly takes part in a sign waving with supporters near his campaign office before the polls closed in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection in Nanaimo, B.C., on May 6, 2019. Photo by The Canadian Press / Chad Hipolito
The historic election on Monday of a second federal Green Party MP shows that Canadians are taking the issue of climate change seriously and are looking outside traditional parties for solutions, say the leader of the federal Greens and the head of a public opinion institute.
Paul Manly won a resounding victory May 6 in a by-election for the Vancouver Island riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, capturing 37.3 per cent of the vote, 12 points ahead of the closest competition. The riding had been empty since January after former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned in order to run for the BC NDP in a race that she eventually won.
Manly, a documentary filmmaker, and son of former NDP MP and human rights advocate Jim Manly, is only the second candidate to ever win a seat as a federal MP under the Green Party banner, although there have been others who jumped to the party after winning.
His win comes two weeks after provincial Greens in P.E.I. captured over 30 per cent of the vote and secured eight seats. Since 2017, Greens have been elected in provincial caucuses in B.C. and New Brunswick and have elected their first Ontario MPP.
Canada is seeing an electorate that is “sick of the political classes” and is now putting climate change at the top of its priority list, said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute. The Green Party is benefiting from the fact that climate change is now a major issue in the minds of people, she said.
A May 3 poll by the institute showed the Green Party breaking into double digits among decided voters, at 11 per cent, and “environment / pollution” identified as Canadians’ top priority for the country. “The polling is showing that they appear to be having a bit of a moment,” said Kurl of the party. MORE