Day 17 of the Campaign

(OTTAWA) - Even knocking on doors in my own riding, questions about Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright and the trial keep popping up on the doorstep. Many people have asked me if there is an easy place to go to get the key information. Here we go!

On December 21, 2008, Stephen Harper made an unprecedented 18 Senate appointments in one day. The list included three senators who did not live where the constitution required they live. Patrick Brazeau did not live in Quebec, Mike Duffy was not resident of PEI – as constitutionally required, and Pamela Wallin did not live in her province of birth, Saskatchewan.

It was likely this mix up would come to grief.  The on-going saga of Mike Duffy is really about rules not followed, corners cut and the corrupting influence of Harper’s office.

Look how Harper’s story has changed. First Stephen Harper said Mike Duffy had paid the money back. Then CTV news learned the $90,000 used by Duffy to pay back his expenses came from the private funds of Harper’s Chief of Staff. He initially defended Wright. Then on May 19, 2013, Harper released this statement: “It is with great regret that I have accepted the resignation of Nigel Wright as my Chief of Staff. I accept that Nigel believed he was acting in the public interest, but I understand the decision he has taken to resign. I want to thank Nigel for his tremendous contribution to our Government over the past two and a half years.”

The story wouldn’t die. By October, Harper changed his story.  Suddenly Wright was not the noble servant acting in what he thought was the public interest. The tone of voice when Harper referred to Wright in Parliament changed to the way one speaks of someone caught cheating and fired for cause. On October 29, 2013, Harper said this in Question Period:  “On our side there is one person responsible for this deception and that person is Mr. Wright. It is Mr. Wright by his own admission...Mr. Duffy took $90,000 of expense money he did not actually incur. He was told to pay it back. He committed to paying it back. He said publicly he had paid it back....That turned out … to be a story told by Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright.  As a consequence, Mr. Wright no longer works on the public payroll...”

So then it was one person in his office who knew – the disgraced former chief of staff Nigel Wright, well and firmly thrown under the bus. No one else knew.

But the Duffy trial had brought to light strings of emails and previous statements to the RCMP that implicate numerous people in the Prime Minister’s office, including his former legal counsel Benjamin Perrin and his current chief of staff Ray Novak.

Last week, on August 14, 2015, Harper had changed the story once again. Who knew what Duffy and Wright had done? One person or two? Five or ten?  Now Harper says the “vast majority” of his staff thought Duffy had used his own money to repay the debt. (“that is what the majority of our staff also believed was the case.”)

Since Harper made it appear he fired Wright (which he hadn’t) the media question, also raised by other party leaders is “will you fire Novak?”

We don’t know if Novak lied to his boss.  If so, strange his boss keeps him on.  Far more likely Novak is, like Nigel Wright and others before him, a loyal soldier prepared to be sacrificed to protect the leader from his own actions.

The person who should be fired is Stephen Harper.

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Day 16 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

We took a strong stand today against the failed misguided economic strategies of Stephen Harper. We took a strong stand for safe and unpolluted coasts and rivers, for clean energy and green jobs, for communities full of life and opportunity.

 We are the only party that does not skirt the big questions, like “Why would we want a pipeline taking bitumen overseas for refining?” And, “Who benefits from tankers on our coasts?”

Keeping our natural legacy safe for future generations is a real imperative. At the same time, Greens are seeking good governance. I spoke to people at the doorstep today about their hopes for Canada. Many citizens want a government that works, one that works together. To achieve the vision we’ve set out on energy, climate, and the economy, the Greens see a need to operate with other levels of government, notably with First Nations. We see a need to create a forward-thinking strategy that integrates energy security, transition to renewable energy, and rewarding work for all. Let the other parties fight over which pipeline they would allow to ship raw bitumen out - long-term thinking be damned. 

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Day 15 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - A striking headline caught my attention today: “The Closing of the Canadian Mind.” It’s a piece in the New York Times written by Stephen Marche. Among many chilling sentences, you can read, “Mr. Harper seems to think that his job is to prevent democracy.”

As a Green, I am facing an election where many pundits and even some Greens look at the Liberals or the NDP as our “adversary.” We have become so hog-tied to voter intention polls and wedge issues, we have abandoned all hope for a better vision, a more honest, diverse, and deliberative parliament.

What is my aim in the federal election? I want to restore democracy. It may sound grandiose. I don’t think it will magically happen overnight. I just know that it will take work, and I think that work should start now. Being closed-minded is not who we are as Canadians, and we will reject Stephen Harper’s Canada. 

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Day 14 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - What a Red Letter Day for Greens!

We started with a press conference in Daniel Green’s campaign headquarters – featuring both Green Deputy Leaders – Daniel Green and Bruce Hyer – as well as Jici Lauzon gathered to announce our third incumbent, the former NDP MP for Laval, José Núñez Melo.   

Despite a heat warning for Montreal, we headed out for Pride Parade, where Greens including Georges Laraque and our youngest candidate – Casandra Poitras – joined our march. This incredible young woman will turn 18 on election day.  Earlier this week Casandra spent the day going from radio station to radio station, from newspaper to newspaper. She made the case for youth to support the Green Party. 

I marched and danced, hugged people and stopped for selfies for the whole march. Thank goodness my daughter was there to keep me hydrated, handing me her metal water bottle whenever we had a pause.

So that makes my fourth big city pride parade this summer ­ ­̶  Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and now Montreal – my favourite is yet to come! Salt Spring Island Pride on September 12.  Join us!  

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Day 13 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - I write this on board the flight to Montreal. Tomorrow is Montreal Pride Parade and we have a big announcement. Meanwhile I spent my morning and early afternoon knocking on doors in the Broadmead neighbourhood of my riding and then visiting constituents at the Peninsula Country Market. 

I noticed today that the Ontario Energy Board has analyzed the Energy East pipeline. Its conclusion matches that of the Green Party – the risks of the pipeline outweigh any potential benefit to Ontario. Marching in Montreal Pride tomorrow I will be with Green candidates who have put everything on the line to stop Energy East. Other than Gilles Duceppe, I am the only national leader to agree with the Ontario Energy Board.

I predict that pipeline politics will play an increasingly large role in this election – driving voters to Green candidates.

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Day 11 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

In this election, Greens are showing that we are not a one-issue party. And we are showing we are not a one-person party.

Green candidates across the country are passionate about our planet, our security, and our democracy. Today, I was moved by the passion of our youngest candidate, Casandra Poitras. She says she believes in the Green Party because we prioritize action on climate change.

 I am so grateful when I hear a young person take action for our future. It is an act of generosity toward my generation.

Why do so many Canadians associate Greens with the environment? Maybe they believe that action on climate is needed, and has been missing. Climate change is the issue of our time, and we are ready, like Casandra Poitras, to take it on.

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Day 12 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - Up with the sun to be sure of a spot on the 7:30 AM ferry from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay and the drive to Nanaimo.

Today the national Green focus was on veterans and the shabby way the Harper Conservatives have treated them.  It was an honour beyond measure to be joined by Capt Trevor Greene, decorated hero of the Afghanistan conflict.  We remember his story. In an effort to display respect for the village elders, Capt Greene removed his helmet. He was brutally assaulted by a man who attacked from behind with an ax. It is a miracle Trevor Greene survived. He is working hard for a full recovery supported by a loving family and beautiful community on Vancouver Island.

Today he endorsed not only our platform on veterans, but our full platform and the Green approach to re-establish Canada’s role in the world.  He condemned Stephen Harper’s disrespect for the role of our peacekeepers and specifically the fact that Canada has refused to assist nine times in missions around the world.  Please click on this link to watch a clip from today’s presser. 

Greens will work to reverse cuts to Veterans Affairs Canada.  We will ensure fairness, respect and service to our veterans. And we will re-engage with our role as peacekeepers.

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Day 10 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - Today was International Youth Day, and what could be more appropriate than meeting with impressive young women from across Canada. Jo-Ann Roberts and I enjoyed a lively conversation at the Lilith 400 Young Leaders’ Program.

Hearing their hopes for their future education was a keen reminder that we need to create better access for post-secondary education without committing our kids to a lifelong debt sentence.

Jo-Ann and I later joined Claire Martin in her riding of North Vancouver. These women are putting themselves on the line because they share my conviction that Greens will make a difference.

AND I had fun talking to News 1130 in Vancouver. 

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Day 9 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - Campaigning in the spectacular West Vancouver- Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding – with events in Lions Bay, West Vancouver and Squamish. Momentum is building for Ken Melamed, Green candidate and former mayor of Whistler. What was supposed to be a small addition to the day  - a coffee party at the home of supporters who offered to billet us – turned into a breakfast at a community hall. Word of mouth and friends told friends, and John and Rose Dudley realized there would be too many people for their home, so we ended up with over 120 people at the hall. 

While campaigning, the confusion around debates swirled. With Mulcair’s new conditions including that he would not be in debates if Harper wasn’t there, nor if all leaders were not invited, I had increasingly expected no further English language debates, as none of them met both criteria. Then late in the day, Mulcair confirmed participating in the Munk Debate, and Munk confirmed it had no intention of inviting two of the five national leaders (Green or Bloc). Within minutes, more news – Trudeau will not participate in Munk unless it invites the Green Party.

Last bit of news for the day, the broadcasters have obtained commitments for the Radio Canada debate in French for all five leaders – in Montreal for September 24.  But so far, the English language CBC and national broadcasters debate remains in limbo.

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Day 8 of the Campaign

Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA) - Lovely to be home in BC, even if I have not yet been able to get to my own place!  We were up before the sun and in the ferry line-up by 5:30 AM to get from Salt Spring to Vancouver. 

We made the rounds to some BC media and then off on the Sea to Sky highway to campaign with Ken Melamed, former Mayor of Whistler and Green candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country.  We did some energetic, waving with volunteers on the highway just below the Totem Hall. The Squamish Nation shared this beautiful space for a well-attended town hall. Over a hundred people stayed hours asking questions about how to get our country back.

Election campaigning isn’t hard when you’re with people who are passionate and real, like Ken.

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