Federal Green party leader Elizabeth May takes Saanich-Gulf Islands

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May celebrates her party winning three seats at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May celebrates her party winning three seats at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May is all smiles at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. May cruised to re-election in her Saanich - Gulf Islands riding. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May is all smiles at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. May cruised to re-election in her Saanich - Gulf Islands riding. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Conservative candidate David Busch waits for election results in Sidney. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)Conservative candidate David Busch waits for election results in Sidney. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May arrives at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. May cruised to victory in her riding of Saanich - Gulf Islands Monday night. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May arrives at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. May cruised to victory in her riding of Saanich - Gulf Islands Monday night. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Supporters of the Green Party of Canada cheer at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Supporters of the Green Party of Canada cheer at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Green MLA Sonia Furstenau and Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May share a moment as results come in at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Green MLA Sonia Furstenau and Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May share a moment as results come in at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)
Two young Green supporters cry in the aftermath of the election at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)Two young Green supporters cry in the aftermath of the election at the Green Party of Canada’s election night party at the Crystal Gardens in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who will return as the member of parliament for Saanich Gulf-Islands, welcomed the addition of at least one new MP to the party’s federal caucus but acknowledged the Greens might not end up holding the balance of power.

“We are very pleased with the results right now,” she said.

But current results would allow the Liberals to govern as a minority government with support from either the New Democrats or the Bloc Quebecois, leaving the Greens out in the political cold, despite their best performance in a national election.

“I think the Canadian public will judge for themselves, who actually stands on principles,” she said, adding the Liberals and New Democrats might not be able to come to terms because of what she called their “ancestral hatreds” for each other.

“I have bemoaned it in the past,” she said. “So we will see when all the numbers are all in and where the alliances are formed.”

May also suggested that her party might have done better on Vancouver Island had it not been for hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending by New Democrats on what she called “concentrated campaigns of disinformation” aimed only at Vancouver Island seats.

“They spent money on radio ads, multiple flyers in the mailboxes, including my own,” she said. “I don’t know what impact that will have on what were far and away strong leads that we had going into the writ period in multiple seats. I will reserve judgement on how well we do Vancouver Island. I just know that we faced obstacles we thought we would never face.”

Liberal candidate Ryan Windsor is disappointed about not being elected in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding but said he’ll continue to work for the community. For now, he will return to his position as mayor of Central Saanich and plans to run as a Liberal again in the next election.

Windsor is pleased about the current results showing a potential Liberal minority government.

“I think we had a real opportunity here in Saanich-Gulf Islands and I think in the future we’ll have a real opportunity to elect someone in government who will bring about real change for Canadians,” Windsor said.

Despite May’s re-election, he said “the Greens will be sitting on the sidelines.”

Conservative candidate David Busch was also patiently waiting for results in the Saanich–Gulf Islands riding. His supporters filled the Army, Navy & Airforce Unit 302 building in Sidney. A live band played while Busch made the rounds, talking with volunteers and supporters. Busch said he was feeling disappointed shortly after polls closed.

“I think the election went well, obviously I’m disappointed by the results but that’s the great thing about democracy at the end of the day,” Busch said. “When one election ends you start preparing for the next one.”

While Busch said campaigning has been exhausting, he didn’t rule out running again in the future. In the meantime, he said he plans on spending time with his family and getting back into his law practice.

“I know very well never say never,” Busch said. “I cannot thank [the volunteers] enough …hopefully, they’re not discouraged and will be out volunteering again whether that’s in two years or four years time.”

Busch said he was impressed candidates in the riding were able to keep it civil during the debates and is hoping sign vandalism can be kept to a minimum in the next election.

Saanich-Gulf Islands New Democrat candidate Sabina Singh said she had a great time campaigning. She noted that she has multiple sclerosis, so she will have to think about whether or not she’ll be running again in the future.

“I want the New Democrats to form the government so I’ll keep working,” Singh said.

Singh’s campaign manager, Sue Stroud, said Singh’s team was feeling very good despite not winning the riding.

“We knew what we were facing,” Stroud said. “But we were trying to make sure we got the NDP message out there in the community so that we can build for the future … that’s the most important thing for us.”

Stroud said the issue of affordable housing seemed to resonate the most with voters in the riding.

Looking at the bigger pictures, May said the Liberals lost their majority through a combination of arrogance, broken promises, and hubris. This said, she also struck a note of regret. “You always hope for more,” she said.

The evening certainly started promising for the Greens when Jenica Atwin beat Liberal incumbent Matt DeCourcey in the riding of Fredericton.

In the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Green candidate Paul Manly defended the riding he picked up for the party during a byelection earlier this year.

RELATED: Spotlight on B.C.: 12 races to watch on Election Day

Wearing a shiny green jacket with a campaign button bearing the face of her husband John Kidder, May appeared in a joyous mood at Crystal Gardens among a throng of supporters.

One of them was Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.

“It [would be] fantastic if we could send Elizbeth back to Ottawa with a caucus,” he said. “It is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the work that needs to be done on climate change.”

While the campaign left much to be desired, it nonetheless established climate change as the ballot question, he said. Olsen also welcomed the prospect of a minority government, with no party holding a majority of seats. A minority government, he said, would give voters value for their money. “One of the worst types of government is a majority government because they feel they don’t need to get back to the people for another four years,” he said. “In a minority government — and I live in a minority every day — we are all making sure that we are paying close attention every single day.”


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich–Gulf Islands

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