Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Green Party Win in BC Foreshadows the Importance of the Environment in the Forthcoming Federal Election

Image Credit: Toronto Star
On Monday May 6th, voters in British Columbia highlighted the growing importance of environmental and climate issues to the Canadian electorate. Green party candidate Paul Manly was elected to the federal parliament in Nanaimo soundly defeating his nearest rival Conservative candidate John Hirst. "People really want to see action on climate change," Manly said.

There are now two Green party members of parliament. The other is party leader Elizabeth May who said Manly's win signals a new era in federal politics, intimating that the environment could be a major factor in forthcoming federal election scheduled for October 21. The Green party almost won the recent provincial election in PEI.

Manly's win follows provincial conservative victories in both Ontario and Alberta. The recent provincial election in PEI saw Progressive Conservative leader Dennis King elected as premiere, however,  unlike the premieres ruling Alberta and Ontario, King is committed to environmental and climate action. This is radically different from Alberta's new premiere Jason Kenney who has vowed to prop up the fossil fuel industry and kill climate action in the province.

PEI's new leadership suggests that conservatism need not be anti-environment and May urged MPs to be more like Prince Edward Islanders. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer seems to have realized that Canadians are prioritizing environmental issues and he is scrambling to put together a climate and environmental platform.

"It's time to step up and do what needs to be done and have a little bit of political courage to deal with climate change properly," Manly said.

Manly wants governments to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. "We moved beyond the horse and buggy and it's time to move beyond the internal combustion engine," Manly said. "Those days should be over. It's time to move forward."

Manly's campaign manager Ilan Goldenblatt says political parties need to wake up to the reality that Canadians want to see environmental action. NDP MP Gord Johns indicated that he thought this vote has national implications. "It sends a message clearly that we've seen a wave come across from Prince Edward Island" Johns said, adding, "people are serious about climate change" .

"How we can change the economy — that we are working in to protect the environment that we need for our health, for our children, for our grandchildren," Manly said. "How we can do a better job of taking care of people who are less fortunate." 

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