By Roy L Hales
There is only one safe seat on Vancouver Island right now. It belongs to the leader of the Green Party, who is 43% ahead of her closest challenger in 338Canada’s voter projections. Why Is Elizabeth May so Popular in her own riding?
On The Streets of Ganges
I asked some Ganges residents that question in a recent visit to Salt Spring Island.
Of the half dozen people on the street who agreed to be interviewed:
- Two were tourists, whose answers did not fit my “survey.”
- one had only recently moved to British Columbia and could not vote.
- three people were eligible voters.
A woman who did not give her name said she was not impressed by any of the candidates and did not know who she would vote for.
Why Is Elizabeth May So Popular In Ganges?
Twenty-one year old Amy Villadsen, who works at the Salt Spring Inn, will be voting in her first Federal election this year. She decided to vote for the Green party back when Elizabeth May came to all candidates meeting at her high school.
“There were three parties. One was missing and the other guy who was there wasn’t saying much. Even though she essentially had no competition and no reason to be putting her all into it, [Elizabeth May] was and it meant a lot.”
Joanne Gainer is also voting for Elizabeth May.
“It’s because she does a terrific job. In the debate with the six on t.v., with those six guys, she was the only one that brought up climate change and forming a coalition where all the parties work on one plan. They didn’t pay attention to her. She reports back to us about what she has been doing, what bills she has been supporting and I’ve never had such representation.”
Asked for more detail, Ms Gainer mentioned Elizabeth May holding at least two townhall meetings on Salt Spring every year.
At The Green Party Headquarters
The Green Party headquarters was only two blocks from where I was staying, and I dropped in twice during my stay on Salt Spring.
I asked one of the volunteers I met there, Tom Mitchell, listed some of Elizabeth May’s accomplishments as the local MP:
- she helps anyone who has an immigration problem or a family member abroad.
- “she can remember your name 20 years after she’s met you”
- Elizabeth managed to reverse a federal decision to close the Centre for Plant Health Health in North Saanich, saving 80 jobs and secured $80 million for this facility’s expansion
- She obtained over $9 million for the University of Victoria’s Smart Oceans BC program.
- In 2017, Ms May called on the federal government to reduce taxes on small businesses
- Elizabeth secured funding for local projects like the Galiano Library, restoration of the Saturna Community Centre, clean-up of Ray Creek in Sidney and Keating Cross Road Overpass.
One of the other volunteers at the Green Party Headquarters said she has been at it since Elizabeth first ran for office in Saanich Gulf Islands, in the 2008 election. She was one of thirty people that met the Green leader at a party function. After the meeting, Elizabeth remembered every one of their names and something they had said.
The Greens Could Make A Big Difference
Though recent poll projections suggest the Green Party may end up with a mere four seats, this could give them a strong voice in a heavily divided parliament.