VICTORIA — The Green party was hoping for a big breakthrough Monday night, but looked like it would have to settle for a small victory.
The Greens led by Elizabeth May won three seats in the federal election, adding one seat from the 2015 vote.
Jenica Atwin’s win in Fredericton gives the party members of Parliament on both coasts and marked the first time the party has elected an MP outside of B.C.
May was re-elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands and Paul Manly was also re-elected in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, where he won a byelection earlier this year.
Green supporters gathered in Victoria hoping to cheer more but settled for small bursts of celebration following the three victories.
“We have got a big job to do to break in across the country,” said Adam Olsen, a Green member of the B.C. legislature. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Olsen is one of the three Green MLAs elected in 2017 when the party reached a deal to support the province’s minority NDP government.
“I’d like to see more Green seats, but we have to take what we can get,” he said.
The Greens called their campaign “Mission: Possible,” promising science-based policies to fight climate change and urging voters to consider the future when making their choices.
May called the election a climate referendum.
The Greens promised to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The party also pledged to plant 10 billion trees over the next 30 years to reduce carbon and recover vast areas of land devastated by wildfires across Canada.
At a campaign stop in Quebec earlier this month, May said the Greens will stand up with Quebecers against the construction of any fossil fuel pipeline in the province. She said the promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent involves implementing a transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources that include wind, solar and hydro electric.
May said she expected the thousands of oil, coal and gas workers would find work in Canada’s emerging clean-energy sectors.
May was the first Green MP elected in Canada in 2011. She was re-elected in 2015, but remained the lone Green MP in the House of Commons, gaining a reputation for an effective debater with an unmatched work ethic and a politician known for speaking from her heart on environmental issues.
But despite May’s individual success, the long-awaited Green breakthrough has yet to arrive.
When May voted Monday, she said she was thinking about Canada’s children.
She said she had spent part of her election day sending messages of thanks to young children from across Canada who wished her luck.
May said many of the children say they are too young to vote but were trying to convince their parents and grandparents to vote Green.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2019.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press