With only two days before the Canadians went to the polls, federal Green Party leader Annie Paul was in Victoria, BC for an 11th-hour blitz.
It was the first time in the campaign that Paul visited the political beach of the Greens on Vancouver Island, and was one of only a handful of visits outside Toronto.
Paul said he hoped to move to British Columbia soon, but plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Green leader said he hoped his presence would brighten the fortunes of his candidates in the field, but he was confident the Green issues would resonate with British Columbians.
“There’s definitely a strong presence here, always fighting for the climate, always fighting for the environment, and people have that engagement, they trust the Greens for that reputation, and then, ( That’s why we need to send more Greens to Ottawa,” said Paul.
The road to Confederate success for the Greens has long run through BC and Vancouver Island in particular.
Former leader Elizabeth May won the party’s first federal seat in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in 2011.
But the party has faced tough challenges in the 2021 election campaign. While the Greens garnered 8.2 percent of the vote in 2015, held one seat, and won 12.5 percent of the vote in 2019, winning three seats — two in B.C. — they are currently polling at just six percent.
Paul acknowledged that overly public party infiltration was partly to blame for the current state of the Greens.
Adding to the 2021 challenge: Former B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, one of B.C.’s most famous Greens, has publicly supported the Liberals and their climate plan.
“I can’t speak for Mr. Weaver. I haven’t had a chance to speak to him since his decision. I said I respect him but I respectfully disagree with him on this,” he told the Liberal Climate Plan “Smoke and mirror” and saying “snake oil”.
“Even if we do every single thing, we will not reach our destination of reducing greenhouse gases as soon as we need to.”
In addition to May’s seat, the Greens are locked in a tight race to protect their other B.C. ride of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Conservative Tamara Cronis and New Democrat Lisa Marie Barone both believe they can beat Paul Manley. The Conservatives finished second in riding in 2019, but the region has traditionally been the NDP leaning.
In a sign of how competitive the parties believe the ride is, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh halted a campaign in the area in late August, and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole visited in July.
Elsewhere during the campaign on Saturday, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau touted the importance of vaccination as a key to a secure future, while Singh criticized Trudeau for strict adherence to paid sick leave and vaccination certificates. failed to work.
Meanwhile, O’Toole insisted his party was running a safe campaign, but would not say how many of his candidates are fully immunized against the virus.
With files from the Canadian Press