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Same Seat, New Environment for Greens' Elizabeth May

Lone leader cheers the 'post-Harper era,' but fails to make breakthrough.

By Andrew MacLeod 20 Oct 2015 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative bureau chief in Victoria and the author of A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, April 2015). Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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Green leader Elizabeth May: 'Welcome to the first night of the post-Harper era!'

Green Party leader Elizabeth May said she is thrilled to be re-elected to a Parliament that will be led by a new Prime Minister, although her party failed to make the breakthrough she'd hoped.

May told a cheering crowd at the Victoria Conference Centre, "Welcome to the first night of the post-Harper era!"

While the crowd applauded the victory of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party and the defeat of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, it looked however like May would be the sole Green making the trip to Ottawa.

Earlier in the campaign May had said she hoped to win as many as a dozen seats, which would have given the Greens official party status. The party was particularly hopeful to win in Victoria, where it had almost won a 2012 byelection, and elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

As polls closed in British Columbia, Green officials said they expected the party had prevailed in as many as three seats.

But as results came in, it was clear former CBC broadcaster Jo-Ann Roberts lost to the NDP's Murray Rankin and that Greens had failed to win any seats other than May's in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

"It's wonderful. It's very gratifying," May told reporters when asked about her re-election. "I think I've been effective in Parliament. With a new environment I'll continue to be effective in Parliament."

'We have learned in our loss': Roberts

Later, Roberts told the Victoria crowd, "Yes, we all wanted to win, but we have learned in our loss." She thanked her team and said they conducted the campaign with integrity.

May attributed her party's failure to add more seats to the lack of a national televised English language debate. "It made our campaign much harder," she said. "As soon as the English language debate was put into question, we stopped having any major coverage."

The Greens did much better in 2008 and 2011 when May was included in national televised debates, she said. "It's about full, free and fair elections and opportunities to participate."

The CBC's Arthur Black hit a similar theme critical of the media, telling the crowd, "The Globe and Mail came out half heartedly for four more years of the same old shit."

BC Green interim leader Adam Olsen added Greens were negatively impacted by a "fear" factor as people were scared to re-elect the Conservatives.

May said she cares more about the country than she does about the fortunes of her own party. She said she was upset four years ago when Harper won, and is glad now to see him defeated. She had hoped for a minority government, she said, but took heart in the fact Trudeau promised this would be the last election using a first past the post voting system.

Asked how confident she is that Trudeau's party will implement a proportional representation system of voting, May said, "I'm not entirely confident. I'd be more confident in a minority parliament where they needed our vote."

May noted that she has a good relationship with Trudeau and that she appreciated he pushed to include her in the debates. "I have no reason to doubt him," she said.

May earlier told the crowd that NDP leader Tom Mulcair called to congratulate her on her re-election and she called Trudeau to congratulate him on his win. She also asked when they could have their first meeting on the upcoming climate conference in Paris, she said.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, Election 2015

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