Voting for a Green candidate in this year’s federal election won’t split the vote and guarantee a Conservative win, Green Party of Canada leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May said when she visited Port Alberni on Saturday.
“I’ll tell you what happens when the Greens have a good chance of winning. People who usually don’t see a reason in voting turn out to vote.”
May was in town to support Green Party candidate Glenn Sollitt of Qualicum Beach, who is running for the MP’s seat in the new riding of Courtenay-Alberni.
When May ran in Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2011, approximately 75 per cent of eligible voters turned out to vote. That’s almost 15 per cent higher than the national voter turnout of 61 per cent.
“A whole lot of people who are usually turned off by politics got excited,” she said.
It’s the 40 per cent of voters who didn’t turn out in 2011 that May is hoping to capture now.
“That’s the largest voting block in the country. We need to reach out to every Canadian voter and say ‘we’ll work for you, we’re not like the others.’
“Right now the Greens are on a roll on Vancouver Island,” May said, citing polling results on the Island as more than 21 per cent in favour of the Green Party.
“What we need to do between now and the election is have people open their minds to the possibility that they can elect an MP that works for them. That’s what the Greens offer—a commitment to real democracy.”
May said that the perception of an anti-logging Green Party shouldn’t turn off a forest industry heavy Alberni Valley.
“We’re really committed to sustainable resource economies and the forest industry’s a really important part of that,” May said. “We need jobs, we need a sustainable economy. How do we re-imagine a forest industry so we can be competitive?”
Key to that, according to May, is stopping raw log exports.
“We want to see value added, we want to see jobs in the forest industry.”