New Brunswick

Elizabeth May pitches electoral co-operation for next election

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is offering to co-operate with the NDP and the Liberals when it comes to running candidates in the next federal election.

Green Party leader says neither the NDP nor the Liberals have replied to her offer

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is offering to co-operate with the NDP and the Liberals when it comes to running candidates in the next federal election. 

The Green Party of Canada concluded its national convention in Fredericton over the weekend and one of the party's policies is electoral reform. 

May said she's hearing from Canadians who want to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

She says some of these Canadians are telling her that they want to back the candidate who has the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate — whether that means voting Green, Liberal or NDP.

May said it would be better if parties with similar interests could work out a deal before voters go to the polls. 

“We'd be prepared to talk to anyone about any form of electoral co-operation that would give Canadians a Parliament that would reflect the way they really voted,” she said.

The electoral co-operation could mean parties would agree not to compete against each other in certain ridings.

May says her offer to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is only good for the next federal election. So far, May said neither the Liberals nor the NDP have responded to her offer for future electoral co-operation.

For the co-operation to move forward, May said the parties would also have to support electoral reform.

The Greens want to Canada to replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with a form of proportional representation.

May said the existing electoral system allowed the Conservatives to form a majority government in 2011 with less than 40 per cent of the vote.

Past electoral co-operation

Electoral co-operation is not a new subject for May.

In the 2008 federal election, the Green Party leader ran in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova against long-time Conservative MP Peter MacKay. Even though the Liberals decided not to run a candidate against May in the riding, she still lost the election.

May was elected in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in the 2011 federal election, defeating Conservative MP Gary Lunn. The Liberals did run a candidate in that race, but the candidate finished in last place.

Trevor Parsons was one of several callers to CBC’s Maritime Connection on Sunday, who said he plans to vote strategically in 2015.

"People have to decide, I'm going to vote for the person most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate and that's the only way we're going to save this democracy,” Parson said.

While some voters may be ready to vote strategically, one New Brunswick political observer said it is doubtful the larger parties would agree to any form of electoral co-operation.

J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, said it’s not in the best interests of larger political parties to agree to any form of co-operation.

“I think it's a very difficult thing to do. And this is a cynical view, but why would you change the rules of the game that you keep winning,” he said.


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