Notes from the Campaign Trail: Talking climate change and the battle for third place
Elizabeth May speaks with reporters at a news conference Monday August 22, 2016.
George Hoff, CP24.com
Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 1:00PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2019 12:02PM EDT
In the coming election campaign political guessers are putting all their money on a two race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The two parties have the money, the organizations and the political experience to blow the other four parties away. As an early predictor, I have been wrong many times but it does seem like a very safe bet. So, it will probably be politics as usual on October 22.
But there is a sense that the ground could shift in the fight for third place. It has been another difficult week for the NDP. The political prognosticators are way less confident with their third party predictions. There are three contenders — the Bloc Quebecois might recover in Quebec and pick up enough seats to place third. The NDP will need to fight hard to save seats and stay in the game. The campaign will determine if the Green Party can be the surprise of the night and break out to leap over the other two.
Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, dropped by CP24 for an interview this afternoon. It will be May’s fourth national campaign. Asked if she’s looking forward to it her face lit up and she told me, “I can’t wait!” May said there is an urgent need for action. “I feel more panicked on the need to act now…we think Canadians want to see real change,” she said.
Tim Grant is the Green Party candidate in University-Rosedale. Grant concedes Chrystia Freeland, the Liberal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has a lock on the riding. Grant has run three times provincially for the Greens. His goal is to come in second on Oct. 21 and knock the NDP and Conservatives down a notch. Grant says his office is getting calls from five or six people a day looking to volunteer on his campaign. As he door knocks he says he senses a new, stronger interest in the Green Party. Grant says “this election is quite different…coming in second would be a big victory.”
The Green Party broke through in the Prince Edward Island provincial election becoming the Official Opposition earlier this year. In New Brunswick the party elected three members in the last provincial election. Now the Green Party is hoping to get another boost next week in Manitoba. The Greens placed a close second in the Winnipeg riding of Wolesley to the NDP in the 2016 provincial election. The Green candidate, David Nickarz, is back for another run and the NDP is running a new candidate. A win here would give the Green Party another first in another province and keep the momentum going.
The website The Conversation published an article by two university professors analyzing the level of support for climate action in Canada. What the study found is that a majority in every riding across the country believe the climate is changing. The authors conclude that “the path to a majority government – or even a minority government – goes through many ridings where Canadians are worried about climate change and want the government to take aggressive action.”
Despite the findings of that survey there is one party seeking your vote that is downplaying the need for action on climate change. That is Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. A donation appeal from Bernier today starts, “climate alarmists keep telling us that the world is on fire. Literally.” And the donation appeal ends, “the only party pushing back against this nonsense is the People’s Party.” How Canadians respond to that pitch will be interesting to watch over the next weeks.