Montreal

Elizabeth May talks environment, democracy and 'the eye roll' on Daybreak

"If we increase voter turnout, we can stop fussing about this notion of splitting the vote," Elizabeth May tells CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

Green Party leader speaks of need to reduce use of fossil fuels and get people out to vote

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May gestures as she takes part in the French-language debate on Thursday, September 24, 2015, in Montreal. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Fresh off her experience in the French-language leaders debate, Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May stopped in for a chat with CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty at the live broadcast from the West Island YMCA.

The two talked about carbon emissions, democracy, and one particular exchange between May and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. Here are some highlights from Friday's conversation.

On Stephen Harper's 'eye roll'

I didn't see it until I saw it on social media feeds afterwards. The way that our podiums are organized it was hard to have a direct look. But it shows that he has a thin skin about his sell-out of our sovereignty to the People's Republic of China. So he should. I just wish the other leaders would pick up on this issue so that we can actually debate it. 

On the leaders attacking each other during the debate

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, left, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair leave the set after Thursday's debate. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
The problem is because of our first-past-the-post voting system, the duking it out for seats process means that the other parties spend a lot of time attacking each other. And we need to find ways to give Canadians good government. I have this dream of a parliament that's respectful. I've never heckled. I know it will make things better and we can actually work together. I think it's a waste of time to have Trudeau and Mulcair at each other all the time, but until we change our voting system, that's the nature of their strategy.

On climate change and the Conservatives

Unless you want to take credit for the fact that the global economy crashed in 2008, that's what brought down Canada's emissions. Ever since our economy began to recover, they've been climbing. They're climbing right back up to where they were in 2005. By 2020, they'll be virtually identical to what they were in 2005. There hasn't been any regulation coming out of the federal government for reducing emissions.

On reducing our dependence on oil

Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May discussed the environment and democracy with host Mike Finnerty during a live broadcast of CBC Daybreak at the West Island YMCA. (Sara Dubreuil/CBC)
We absolutely have to leave most of what's left in Alberta's oil sands in the ground. By mid-century we have to transition off most of our dependence on fossil fuels, and it's doable. And that's why countries like Germany, France and the U.K. are prepared to do it.

On vote splitting

If young people voted it would completely change our political system. First Nations people, all the people that Stephen Harper has created more barriers for them to vote as a result of the so-called Fair Elections Act, we need to reach out to people and get them to the polls. If we increase voter turnout, we can stop fussing about this notion of splitting the vote. The reality is if we grow the vote, if you get more people to vote...because our problem in Canada isn't vote splitting, it's vote abandoning.

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