Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on May 10, 2019. Photo by Kamara Morozuk
What else does the federal Green party stand for along with its call to put Canada on a “war footing” against climate change?
The Greens have been propelled into prominence because of the potential of their signature issue to be a prime ballot-box question in the Oct. 21 federal election.
What else they stand for is less conspicuous. Their place on the political spectrum is obscured by their slogan: “Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together.”
Elizabeth May, the lawyer and environmentalist who has led the party since 2006, welcomes the scrutiny that has accompanied speculation her two-seat Commons caucus could grow to a handful or more.
In an interview with National Observer, May said this election “feels so different to me” from the last one, in 2015. She told anecdotes of unexpected support, donations and crowds from a pre-campaign tour of 33 communities across Canada.
“I hope for a minority Parliament,” she said, relishing the prospect of securing a strong climate action plan in return for supporting a government short of a 170-seat majority.
Greens won’t compromise
“I’m more than ready for prime time. I don’t have any problem addressing any aspect of my life or my character and I’m very proud of my record” – @ElizabethMay told National Observer in an interview #cdnpoli
May, representing Saanich-Gulf Islands, was the only Green elected in the last election. Paul Manly won Nanaimo-Ladysmith in a byelection last May. Greens also hold seats in legislatures in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and P.E.I.
The centrepiece of the federal Green platform is Mission Possible, a 20-point national action plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, changing land use and industrial-agriculture practices, planting trees, improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings and other actions.
May said the primary conditions for Green support of a minority government are adherence to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change position — that global warming must be held below a 1.5 C increase above pre-industrial levels — and a pledge for a “dramatic transformational commitment” to cut carbon emissions in Canada.
“We will not, even for a first speech from the throne confidence vote, work with any party that isn’t fully committed to going off fossil fuels quickly,” May said.
“That means you can’t be building any pipelines, you can’t be fracking, you have to cancel the LNG (liquid natural gas) plant in Kitimat, you have to actually mean what you say — that we are committed to cutting 60 per cent of greenhouse gases by 2030.”
On non-environmental issues, May cited social justice proposals as a priority for the Greens. She said the proposals make the Greens “more progressive” than the New Democratic Party.
Key proposals are national pharmacare, a guaranteed livable income, free tuition for post-secondary students, elimination of existing student debt and a federal investment in colleges and universities.
They would increase revenues by hiking corporate taxes on large companies, such as banks and internet giants, but not on small or medium-sized businesses. They would cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and halt fossil fuel industry subsidies.
Leaders trade barbs as two New Dems say they talked merger, not going Green.