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article imageGPC leader Elizabeth May: Canadian PM better care about democracy Special

By Andrew Moran     Mar 3, 2012 in Politics
Toronto - Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May visited Toronto Friday in support of her shadow government climate change critic and Toronto-Danforth candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu. May discussed her candidate, the robocall scandal and the prime minister.
Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu
Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu will be running in the Toronto-Danforth by-election. Focusing on the environment and important green issues, Mugnatto-Hamu will be facing 10 other candidates in this year’s race.
This isn’t Mugnatto-Hamu’s first experience in politics. The human rights proponent ran in last year’s federal election in Toronto-Danforth. Although she had to face the likes of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and the Liberal Party’s Andrew Lang, Mugnatto-Hamu gained a little more than six percent of the vote and the necessary experience in federal politics to run effective campaigns in the future.
“It’s a real honour to run for the Green Party in Toronto-Danforth,” stated Mugnatto-Hamu. “I’ve been walking around and there [are] two things I tell people that there are two reasons to vote Green in this election: Green Party is the only party that really thinks of the economy in the long-term.”
She told the crowd that your children need voices in parliament to advocate for a cleaner environment and to “obey the science.” Right now, she believes there are no other parties doing this and if elected, Mugnatto-Hamu would be “encouraged to speak out as clearly as I can.”
Toronto-Danforth Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu (right) at full town hall crowd next to...
Toronto-Danforth Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu (right) at full town hall crowd next to Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May & Georges Laraque
On Friday night, Green Party leader Elizabeth May spoke at a town hall meeting in the heart of Toronto-Danforth in support of her Green candidate. Speaking in front of a packed crowd, May, who was able to incite quite a number of laughs throughout her speech and answers, provided in-depth responses to some of the key issues of the day.
“Any by-election gives you a really different opportunity to make a really substantial statement by doing something really different,” said May. “I used to say that in London North Centre that no other MP was able to do something different. Now I’m in the House of Commons, and I’m telling you, it’s worse than I thought.”
Alongside May was Green Party deputy leader and former NHL star Georges Laraque, who assumed office in the summer of 2010. A Montreal native, Laraque touched upon his vegan lifestyle and how important this year’s election is not just for the Greens but also for the rest of Canada.
He explained that when he joined the Green Party it was because of the party’s animal policy. Laraque is a well-known vegan and he respected the party’s stance on veganism, vegetarianism, the environment and animals.
Toronto-Danforth Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu speaks to full town hall crowd among Gr...
Toronto-Danforth Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu speaks to full town hall crowd among Green Party leaders Elizabeth May and Georges Laraque.
Question & Answer Period
Carbon Tax
The crowd had a chance to speak with May and hear her thoughts on some of the pressing issues currently transpiring in Canada’s political sphere. May, who serves as an MP in Saanich–Gulf Islands, brought about heavy criticism of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the present state of the House of Commons and the paucity of environmental matters being discussed in Ottawa.
When asked about the Green Party’s stance on a carbon tax and cap and trade, May responded that her party does not advocate cap and trade, which is a policy that is being promoted by the NDP and the Liberals. May did note, though, that her party does support a carbon tax.
“We do not favour cap and trade other than a potentially limited fashion on top of a carbon tax,” explained May. “We need to have a price for carbon that is economy wide. A cap and trade system is quite prone to fraud, quite likely to be gamed and it’s not an approach we favour.”
Mugnatto-Hamu interjected and said that the current Green Party policy is that the carbon tax would be distributed evenly and most adult Canadians would receive $1,000 annually. “Probably over 80 percent of Canadians would benefit.”
Green Party Deputy leader Georges Laraque.
Green Party Deputy leader Georges Laraque.
Robocall Scandal
The robocall scandal has been plastered all over Canadian media. It is suspected that the Conservative Party purposely misled voters to attend different polling stations to vote in last year’s federal election. More than 31,000 complaints have been submitted to Elections Canada since last week’s announcement by Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.
“This is an election fraud scandal,” stated May. “We need to remember this is an election fraud scandal because the conservatives are twisting it around every day in the House of Commons, including today during Question Period when Harper was meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel down the hall.”
May explained that she researched similar experiences in 2008 in Saanich–Gulf Islands. May alleged that there was a significant interference in the vote through automated dial throughout the riding. She believes it was plausible that it re-elected the Conservative candidate Gary Lunn.
“The NDP candidate, whose name was on the ballot, had to withdraw and it was too late to take the name off the ballot” said May. “On the night before the vote, thousands of calls were made in the riding to NDP supporters to say, ‘Get out and vote NDP.’ Remember, there was no candidate for real, you could’ve had a majority of votes for the NDP and you would have not elected anybody because the candidate has withdrawn.”
She added that a week before the election, the NDP went from one percent in the polls to nearly six percent a week later.
In the end, May believes “this was the pilot project for robocalls.”
97-year-old Merilyn Andrews speaks to the town hall crowd in support of Elizabeth May s Green Party.
97-year-old Merilyn Andrews speaks to the town hall crowd in support of Elizabeth May's Green Party.
To vote or not to vote Toronto-Danforth NDP
According to a Forum Research poll, the NDP is expected to win the election with a wide margin. The poll found that Scott could take 61 percent of the vote, while Liberal candidate Grant Gordon would place second with 19 percent.
The Conservative candidate Andrew Keyes polled in third with 14 percent. The Green candidate rounded out the survey and polled at four percent. Two percent of respondents said they would vote “other.”
A member of the audience asked why Toronto-Danforth residents should not vote for Craig Scott and the NDP. May, who cited her respect for Layton and his work throughout his career, said if you vote Green you will have your voice heard, it will change agenda for the other parties and it will make the future NDP leader greener.
“If we do really well on Mar. 19 in Toronto-Danforth by electing Adriana, it will be the shock, the kick in the pants that the NDP establishment needs big time to give a damn about our future and not just play politics in a very predictable way,” stated May, which received a tremendous applause.
May is campaigning for Mugnatto-Hamu throughout the riding this weekend. The Green leader will be holding a press conference Saturday afternoon regarding the robocall scandal. Please check back at Digital Journal for the latest updates.
More about torontodanforth byelection, Elizabeth may, green party of canada, adriana mugnattohamu, robocall
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