Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May

Next election about democracy, says Green leader

NANAIMO – Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party, called PMO staff "ruthless, cutthroat psychopaths" during town hall forum.

Elizabeth May came to Nanaimo not only to talk about Green Party policy, but also to address broader questions about democracy in Canada.

The leader of the federal Green Party and member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands held a town hall forum Sunday afternoon at the Beban Park Social Centre.

She took questions on a range of topics including oil tankers, health care and veterans’ affairs, but her speech dealt largely with the Conservative government’s Fair Elections Act. May said she agrees with NDP leader Tom Mulcair that opposition parties should make the act the central issue in the next federal election.

May wants to see democratic reform of a different sort. She said she likes Conservative MP Michael Chong’s bill that would reduce the power of party leaders, and she repeated the Green Party’s frustration with the first-past-the-post electoral system.

“[We need] a whole group of public interest measures that revive Canadian democracy and ensure that when Canadians look at the prospect of voting, they do so thinking, ‘I’m going to vote for the change I want. I’m going to vote for what I believe in,'” she said.

May opposes the Fair Elections Act for several reasons, she said. She thinks it will make it more difficult for certain segments of society to prove their identity, she’s concerned about relaxed rules on campaign spending, and she worries about Elections Canada’s reduced role in combatting voting fraud.

May supports, on the other hand, Chong’s Reform Act bill, which would remove the requirement that party leaders sign off on candidates’ nominations, and would give a caucus the ability to initiate a leadership review.

“It would reduce the power of the leader of a political party and in doing so, enhance the power of each member of Parliament to work for their constituents,” May said.

She said party leaders are too powerful right now and pointed to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Under Lester Pearson, the prime minister had an office – it was a couple of stenographers and a file clerk. Now it’s a $10-million-a-year partisan operation filled with ruthless, cutthroat psychopaths … They lose sense of what it’s about, which is a better country, protecting future generations, taking care of each other.”

May said she doubts Prime Minister Stephen Harper will run for re-election in 2015, hinting at Conservative backbench rumblings. A realistic outcome, she said, might be a Liberal minority government in which the Greens hold a balance of power.

She was asked about vote-splitting in Nanaimo, a traditional NDP stronghold, and said the Greens will certainly run a candidate in the new riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

“Vancouver Island is the best place in Canada to elect more Green MPs,” said May.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read