Green Party Candidate Finishes Close Second in London

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Written by May Warren

Green Party leader Elizabeth May, a longtime environmental activist, has finished second in a federal bi-election in the riding of London North Centre. Although she lost her bid for the seat to Liberal Glen Pearson, her second place finish with 26 per cent of the vote is considered a great victory for the Green Party.

May managed to beat out Conservative Party candidate and former London mayor Dianne Haskett who got 24 per cent and NDP candidate Megan Walker who only managed 14 per cent. Winner Pearson finished with nearly 35 per cent of the vote. The seat was vacated when former Liberal Cabinet Minister Joe Fontana left to run as mayor of the city.

"We are electable. We have a full party. The Green Party really has arrived,” May told CBC news after the results were tallied. “We can be taken seriously as a credible political alternative,” she added.

Back in October, Guelph Green’s Communications Chair Carl Griffin was already optimistic about May’s chances.“ This will be the first time that a Green Party candidate runs a fully funded campaign,” he told The Cannon. “Elizabeth May is an exceptional individual and leader,” he added.

May’s 26 per cent finish is the highest showing ever for a Green candidate in Canada, in the last election the best placing candidate only got around 12 per cent. Also, in the last federal election the Green Party finished at about 5 per cent nationally, polls say that number has now doubled.

May, who was born in Connecticut and raised in the Maritimes, is an environmental lawyer and friend of Bill Clinton. She was elected Green Party leader in August of 2006. She praises the clean nature of the campaign as contributing to her success, and says she’s extremely excited about what this strong showing could mean for the next federal election.

"The other parties better clean up their acts because we will steal a lot more votes from them in the next election,” she told the CBC. May explained that issues like Canada’s role in Afghanistan and the threat of global warming, were issues that resonated with London North Centre voters.

She added that, had the campaign been longer, the Green’s might have taken the victory. “We had the momentum. Effective campaigning, when we had the voters' attention, was an all-too-brief two-week period between when the municipal election race ended on Nov. 13 and the vote on Nov. 27," she explained to the CBC.

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