Election signs popped up at the corner of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue shortly after the dropping of the writ, marking the start of Canada’s 43rd election campaign. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Greens look to expand on Vancouver Island

Elizabeth May predicts likely more Greens elected in region that sent party’s first two MPs to Ottawa

Can Canada’s Green Party stronghold get even greener?

Elizabeth May thinks so.

The Saanich-Gulf Islands Member of Parliament and federal Green Party leader predicts a successful campaign for her party, as it looks to expand on its two Vancouver Island-based seats during Canada’s 43rd federal election.

“We’re likely to see more Greens elected in the area,” said May in an email after kicking off her party’s campaign with an event in downtown Victoria.

“I feel good about my record, but know I could have done so much more with additional Greens elected,” she said.

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May, who first became Canada’s first Green MP in 2011, got her first teammate on Parliament Hill in May when Paul Manly scored a convincing victory in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection.

Five and a half months later, the incumbent he will be facing an identical field of opposing candidates: John Hirst of the Conservative Party, Bob Chamberlin of the NDP, Michelle Corfield of the Liberal Party, Jennifer Clarke of the People’s Party of Canada and Brian Marlatt of the Progressive Canadian Party.

Manly said somewhere around 1,100-1,200 Green Party lawn signs will start going up today.

“I’ve got a large team of volunteers who have been out canvassing and phone canvassing and all kinds of other stuff while I’ve been busy working as the MP, because I still have all of those duties and functions to perform,” he said.

May, who spent part of Wednesday travelling to Toronto, where the first national leaders debate will be hosted Thursday, is running for a third term.

Current predictions give the Greens just under four seats, plus or minus three seats, hardly a wave, as some had previously predicted. This said, the environment will likely play an important role in the upcoming election.

Sabina Singh, who is running for the federal New Democrats against May, said she is excited the campaign has started in promising to make the environment a key point of her campaign.

“I don’t think there is any party in the world that cannot afford to be green,” she said.

Singh, in other words, might be trying to out-green the very face of the federal Green party. Singh, though, points out that she would be part of a larger team under federal leader Jagmeet Singh. Her party will also raise socio-economic issues, she said.

— with a file from Greg Sakaki


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