Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks at a town hall event Tuesday night at the Beban Park Social Centre.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks at a town hall event Tuesday night at the Beban Park Social Centre.

Election 2015: Island voters can ‘save democracy,’ say Greens

NANAIMO – Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local Green candidate Paul Manly held a town hall event Tuesday at Beban Park.

Elizabeth May says she feels like singing when she thinks about her party’s prospects in a minority government.

The Green Party leader joined Paul Manly, the local Green candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, at a town hall event that attracted 1,000 people to the Beban Park Social Centre on Tuesday night.

“Oh, happy day,” May sang. “I keep wanting to sing it because we’re so close. Every day that takes us closer to Oct. 19 takes us to the day that Stephen Harper is no longer prime minister of Canada.”

Much of May’s speech in Nanaimo was concerned with democratic reform.

She said other parties “think the job of the prime minister is to be the meanest, biggest bully in the room … the CEO of Canada, Inc.”

She mentioned that the concept of the Prime Minister’s Office is not found in the Constitution.

“It actually undermines the fundamental principles of Westminster parliamentary democracy,” she said, adding that in theory, all MPs are equal, with the prime minister first among equals.

May lamented recent whipped votes by the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP in the House of Commons.

“I have a written guarantee that I will not be told what to say and I will not be told how to vote,” Manly said. “[I] will be representing Nanaimo-Ladysmith in Ottawa, not the other way around.”

May said it’s a waste of talent and brains to elect respected community members to Ottawa and then deny them free vote.

“We need to restore the fundamentals of parliamentary democracy and the good news is, Vancouver Island is about to save Canadian democracy,” she said.

Polls are increasingly pointing to a two-way race on the Island, she said, and more elected members would empower her party in the minority government she’s predicting.

“When none of those other old parties have a majority of seats, the more Green MPs we have, the more we’ll be able to say to them, ‘Oh, you won’t lose that confidence vote – as long as you get rid of first-past-the-post, repeal Bill C-51 and make sure there’s no tankers running bitumen on our coastline,'” said May.

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