Elizabeth May was astonished to see the red tide rise as high as it did on Monday as the incumbent Saanich-Gulf Islands MP and federal leader of the Green Party won her riding for the second consecutive election.
May will be the lone Green Party representative in a Parliament that by early indications will be made up of a majority of 184 Liberals, 102 Conservatives, 41 New Democrats and 10 from the Bloc Quebecois.
May was the first leader to call new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and expressed her joy that Stephen Harper will no longer be leading the nation.
Early results showed the Green Party leader earned 55 per cent of the vote in Saanich-Gulf Islands, followed by Conservative Robert Boyd (19 per cent), Liberal Tim Kane (17 per cent) and Alicia Cormier of the NDP (nine per cent).
May was disappointed her party failed to gain a second seat, saying her party never recovered from being shut out of the nationally televised English language debate, which led voters to a confused position on strategic voting, the Green party’s ultimate downfall.
“When the election was called I was going to be in the national English language television debate, unfortunately between Harper and [Tom] Mulcair it was cancelled,” May said.
She said her appearance in the 2008 nationally televised debates saw the party’s popularity soar, but the Green Party was excluded from the conversation by the media in this campaign.
“We would have seen news coverage all campaign on all four parties, instead, we kept seeing three parties and that takes a great toll,” May said.
As the campaign grew shorter, May found herself increasingly talking voters out of strategic voting, including Green supporters in her own riding, she added.
“…People saying, ‘even if you love the Green party you can’t vote Green,’ it takes it’s toll.
“I had people in my own riding I had to talk out of voting for another party because they somehow thought that voting for me would help Harper. I know there’s a huge base of voters in B.C. that wanted to vote Green and told me they couldn’t, but they all said, ‘Next time, once Harper’s gone, next time’.”
Randall Garrison picked up 34 per cent of the vote to win Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke for the NDP, followed by Liberal David Merner (28 per cent), Frances Litman of the Greens (21 per cent) and Conservative Shari Lukens (17 per cent).
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” said Garrison. “We’ve done very well on Vancouver Island but I wish we had done better across the country.”
The NDP’s Murray Rankin was re-elected in the Victoria riding with 43 per cent of the vote. He was followed by Jo-Ann Roberts of the Green Party (33 per cent), Conservative John Rizzuti (12 per cent), while Liberal Cheryl Thomas who dropped out of the race still garnered 11 per cent of the vote.
“Victoria has sent Canada a clear message. You voted for change, you rejected the politics of division and fear. You voted for a more inclusive Canada and a fairer Canada. I promise I will fight every day to incorporate those values in what I do,” he said.
“I am so honoured to have served as your member of Parliament over the last three years and I am deeply humbled by the trust you have shown me again tonight. I promise to work every day with every ounce of my energy to continue to merit your support and your trust.”