Green Party leader Elizabeth May stopped into Campbell River Thursday morning to rally the party faithful as the federal election campaign rolled into its final weekend.
The North Island-Powell River (NIPR) visit is one of seven Vancouver Island stops she will be making over the next three days.
“Four days to go, we’re in the home stretch here,” NIPR Green candidate Mark deBruijn said when introducing May to a gathering of supporters in the lobby of the Tidemark Theatre, the local performing arts centre. The rally was originally scheduled for outside in Campbell River’s Spirit Square but less-than-ideal weather prompted a move indoors across the street.
“We’re starting what will be a tour through all seven Vancouver Island ridings before Saturday morning,” May told the crowd. “We’re going to get to all the places where the Greens are running strong, where we can elect Greens and where we will elect Greens in a Green wave to send more MPs to Ottawa who are committed to always putting principle ahead of power, putting hope and love and commitment ahead of short term partisan advantage.”
The last eight years in Ottawa in parliament have been a real struggle, May said.
“Because the culture of the place is so dispiriting,” she said. “And nothing will fix Parliament like a lot of beautiful new green MPs like Mark joining me there.”
May said the Green Party has been staying on the high road with a positive campaign. She mocked the media, pundits and her critics who dismissed the Green Party platform as being a Mission Impossible.
“What I’ve heard from so many journalists, critics and pundits is, ‘Well their plan’s awfully ambitious,’” May said. “And their strongest criticism of our plan is ‘It won’t be easy.’ It’s necessary and nothing worthwhile has ever been easy.
“Imagine if they’d said – not that I’m comparing myself to him – but what if they had said to Martin Luther King, ‘Boy, that’s ambitious.’ And, ‘It won’t be easy.’ Or, you know, to Nelson Mandela: ‘That’s ambitious. You’re going to end Apartheid? That won’t be easy.’
“Nothing worth doing in this world has ever been easy if it was worth doing. We have a status quo economy, we have a status quo culture that is prepared to celebrate greed over human well being, is prepared to say the billionaire class has a right to all the money they get because they’re the giant pooh-bahs of economic growth and nothing should get in their way and if climate change is a real issue, well, we’ll deal with it later. So our message is (youth climate activist) Greta’s (Thunberg) message which is there is no later, there’s only now and now is when Canadians have a referendum on climate and a chance to actually exercise our democratic right as citizens and vote for what we want.”
That list of what Canadians want, May said, includes universal, single-payer pharmacare; a universal early-learning child care plan; dental care; free post-secondary education and no student debt.
“We’re not just ambitious about climate change, we’re ambitious about social justice,” May said. “We’re very ambitious about the need to redress 150 years of colonialism and oppression and actually face the requirements for truth, justice and reconciliation.”
She disagreed that the fossil fuel industry is an engine of growth in the country, describing it, instead, as a sector calling us to join in a “funereal march to our own demise.”
And voters can restore the health of Mother Earth through such things as restoring wild salmon by removing “those horrific, toxic fish pens out of our waters,” she said.
‘We stand for life on this planet. It’s not too late,” May said.