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Election 2019: West Coast is key as Greens hope for breakthrough year

Last Updated Oct 16, 2019 at 9:56 am MDT

FILE: Green party leader Elizabeth May makes her way from Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Green Party of Canada has its sights set on winning every one of the seven seats on Vancouver Island

For the first time, Elizabeth May hopes her track record will show voters what Green representation can do for a riding

The Green Party of Canada will need 12 to achieve official party status federally

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – You know the old saying: “It ain’t easy being green.”

That’s been the case for Canada’s Green Party and it’s been a lonely existence. However,┬áthis year, the Greens are hoping there will be a breakthrough — and the west coast is key.

The goal is ambitious: the party has its sights set on winning every one of the seven seats on Vancouver Island.

Leader Elizabeth May says the situation now is so different from winning Saanich-Gulf Islands the first time in 2011.

“It was very clear, even if elected, I wasn’t going to lead my party to form government. This time around, who knows, that’s possible. But not likely, but possible. But in 2011 anyone who voted Green knew that, if successful, they were going to be electing a member of parliament who would be sitting alone.”

For the first time this year, May isn’t sitting alone thanks to Paul Manly’s surprise win in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by-election for the previously-NDP-held seat.

It’s a win they expect to repeat.

May’s hoping her track record will show voters what Green representation can do for a riding.

“I brought more money in the riding, more project to the riding, more support for Saanich-Gulf Islands, a higher profile for Saanich-Gulf Islands, than we’d had before.”

The ideal scenario for the federal Greens would be similar to getting the political unicorn we have in B.C.: a minority government where another party’s few seats are needed to pass legislation, which in turn, gives them the balance of power.

That is possible, but having that once-in-a-lifetime situation happen again is unlikely.

Looking at the numbers, with our first past the post system, even if the party sees a significant increase in votes from 2015, it likely won’t be enough to translate into a slew of Green seats.

The Greens will need 12 to achieve official party status, federally.

There have been unforced errors in the campaign so far, like standing by a separatist-supporting candidate in Quebec. May maintains that stance doesn’t contradict the Greens platform, and highlights her belief that party doesn’t supersede individuals.

That platform is, for some voters, what gets in the way: one ultimately based on the single issue of the environment.

But that focus on the environment will likely be where the party can hold sway in the House of Commons — what ever MPs they do send to Ottawa pressing that issue on those who do form government and the official opposition.