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Leader Elizabeth May wins Green Party's first Canadian seat

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has won election in the British Columbia riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, becoming the first person from her party ever elected to the Canadian parliament.

"Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics," May told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters gathered in an airplane hangar in Sidney.

"I remain committed, as I've been throughout this campaign, and all of us are, to rejecting the politics of cynicism and fear, to embracing hope, to respect and bringing respect back to the House of Commons," she said.

By 10 p.m. May had over 25,300 votes to Conservative Gary Lunn's 17,700. The NDP's Edith Loring-Kuhanga was a distant third, ahead of Liberal Renee Hetherington.

May said Lunn was gracious during a call after it was clear he had lost and that she plans to seek his help in the future since he knows the riding well.

May vowed to use her time in Ottawa to shake up politics in a parliament where Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has won his first majority.

"I will never shrink from speaking truth to power," said May. "Nor will I embrace the politics of spin. We need hope over fear. We need compassion over competition."

During a scrum with reporters she said she would push for electoral reform to move to a system of proportional representation where parties gain seats depending on their share of the vote. She also took shots at the pundits for saying she had no chance to win and at the media companies who kept her out of the national debate.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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