With just two days to go before Canadians go to the polls, federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul was in Victoria, B.C., for an Eleventh-hour blitz.
It was the primary time within the campaign that Paul visited the Greens’ political beachhead of Vancouver Island, and certainly one of only a handful of trips outside of Toronto.
Paul said she’d hoped to go to British Columbia sooner, but plans had been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Green leader said she hoped her presence would buoy her candidates’ fortunes within the region, but that she had confidence Green issues would resonate with British Columbians.
“There’s actually a powerful presence here, all the time fighting for the climate, all the time fighting for the environment, and folks have that association of their minds, they count on Greens for that fame, and again, (it) is why we want to send more Greens to Ottawa,” Paul said.
The trail to federal success for the Greens has long term through B.C. and Vancouver Island particularly.
Former leader Elizabeth May won the party’s first federal seat in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2011.
However the party has faced stiff headwinds within the 2021 campaign. While the Greens pulled 8.2 per cent of the vote in 2015, capturing a single seat, and 12.5 per cent of the vote in 2019, winning three seats — two in B.C. — they’re currently polling at just six per cent.
Paul acknowledged that highly public party infighting was partly guilty for the Greens’ current situation.
Adding to the 2021 challenge: certainly one of B.C.’s best-known Greens, former B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, has publicly backed the Liberals and their climate plan.
“I can’t speak for Mr. Weaver. I haven’t had the chance to talk with him since his decision. I said that I respect him but I respectfully disagree with him on this,” she said, calling the Liberal climate plan “smoke and mirrors” and “snake oil.”
“Even when we were to do each thing, we’d not get to our destination of reducing greenhouse gasses as quickly as we want to.”
Along with May’s seat, the Greens are locked in a decent race to defend their other B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Conservative Tamara Kronis and Latest Democrat Lisa Marie Barron each imagine they will unseat Paul Manly. The Conservatives finished second within the riding in 2019, however the region has traditionally leaned NDP.
In an indication of how competitive the parties imagine the riding is, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made a campaign stop in the realm at the tip of August, and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole visited in July.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail Saturday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau touted the importance of getting vaccinated as key to a safer future, while Singh criticized Trudeau for failing to push harder for paid sick leave and proof-of-vaccination certificates.
O’Toole, meanwhile, insisted his party was running a protected campaign but wouldn’t say how a lot of his candidates are fully immunized against the virus.
With files from the Canadian Press