The Green Party’s Elizabeth May will once again be the face of her party in Ottawa after an election where the party was hoping for so much more.
The party could return to the House of Commons with one fewer seat, with The additional blow of its leader, Annamie Paul, having to failed to win a seat. After not running a full slate of candidates, the party also garnered fewer votes overall (2.2 per cent) than in 2019 when it won 3.45 per cent.
And while the Greens picked up their first ever federal seat in Ontario, they could end up losing their other Vancouver Island riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith where Paul Manly finds himself behind in a tight race that is still undecided.
“There will be a lot of discussion about leadership issues,” said May, when asked about the drop. The party will review its campaign and leadership, said May in acknowledging “some serious problems” heading into the election. She said some of the media coverage was exaggerated with some of it just not true. That created the impression of chaos, she added.
“We will continue to rebuild and do much better,” she said.
Paul admitted she was disappointed to lose her bid for a seat but celebrated the re-election of May and a gain by Green candidate Mike Morrice in Kitchener Centre, where the Liberal incumbent, Raj Saini, was dumped by his party mid-campaign over sexual harassment allegations that he denies.
She did not mention whether she’ll try to carry on as leader.
The question remains though: what is the long-term direction of the party in the face of dropping support and growing support for the People’s Party of Canada. Diametrically opposed to the Greens, the PPC now exists as a party with five per cent of the popular vote, albeit without any parliamentary seats.
“The public in this country wants climate action, there is no doubt about that,” May said. “They also want Greens to be part of this discussion. So I’m not discouraged.”
May also took comfort from the overall outcome, which sees the Liberals return to government but without a majority.
May said she is glad what she called “Justin Trudeau’s gamble” did not pay off.
“A minority parliament is better news than a false majority,” she said earlier in speaking to reporters. May also struck a note of defiance by telling reporters that the Greens are not dead yet, adding that they are more needed now than ever before.
As for her personal result, she’s says she’s grateful.
“I’m overwhelmed again,” she said. “I never take anything for granted to be re-elected in 2021 after being re-elected in 2019, and 2015,” she said. “The whole experience to have so many people put trust in me is really humbling and I’m very grateful.”
May had earlier met with the crowd and other candidates, while watching results on the television at the campaign office of candidate Nick Loughton. The crowd — which peaked at 60 — grew more cheerful as the evening went along and results from Saanich Gulf-Islands arrived.
With 125 of 236 polls reporting May, the incumbent MP, has 38 per cent of the vote (8,232) followed by Conservative David Busch with 20 per cent (4,380 votes) and the NDP’s Sabina Singh (4,327), Liberal Sherri Moore-Arbour (3,832votes), People’s Party of Canada candidate David Hilderman (803), and Dock Currie with Communist Party of Canada (57).
Nationally, the Liberals are ahead in 156 seats and are projected to form a minority government when the final votes are tallied. Heading into the election call, the Liberals had 155 seats in Parliament, followed by the Conservatives with 119, Bloc Quebecois with 32, NDP with 24 and Greens with two. There were five independent MPs and one vacant seat. A total of 170 seats are needed for a majority.
Officials will begin counting mail-in ballots on Tuesday.
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