Elizabeth May willing to mediate coalition to topple Stephen Harper

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says that if Stephen Harper wins a minority government, she is prepared to call the Governor General and ask that she be given time to mediate a coalition with the opposition parties and ensure the Conservatives don't take power.

May says she would call Governor General to give opposition time to form coalition

Elizabeth May Interview with Peter Mansbridge

7 years ago
Duration 24:39
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May sits down with Peter Mansbridge for an exclusive interview.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says that if Stephen Harper wins a minority government, she is prepared to call the Governor General and ask that she be given time to mediate a coalition with the opposition parties and ensure the Conservatives don't take power.

"Well, I disagree with the term 'win' in terms of minority," said May, who sat down with CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge for the last in a series of four interviews with the party leaders. "The opposition parties have a choice."

May said she doesn't like it when opposition parties "skip that step" when they could go to the Governor General to try to form a government.

The opposition parties, in a minority government situation, can approach the Governor General and say they would like the opportunity to form government, even if none of those parties individually have won the most seats. Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have all said that in a minority situation, the party that wins the most seats gets the first chance at governing. 

But May doesn't agree.

"When I went to the election night party May 2nd, 2011, and I didn't at that point have any expectations of winning more than my own seat, I had the phone number for Rideau Hall with me so that I could put in that call that night if it was a minority Parliament," May said. "

May said that she didn't want to see the Conservatives form a minority government "simply because the NDP and the Liberals were paralyzed by their hyper-partisan dislike for each other."

Willing to be matchmaker

If that's the case again come Oct. 19, May said, she's willing to be a mediator or matchmaker between the NDP and Liberals to get them to work together.

Mansbridge asked May what credibility she would need to have the Governor General take her call. She said constitutionally he would have to.

"In our system of government, the Governor General would take my call. Any member of Parliament who wants time, as the leader of a party, to talk about presenting to our head of state, Her Majesty, through the Governor General a more durable, productive Parliament."

However, May said the Green Party would not be part of any coalition and would remain an opposition party that's able to hold the government to account."

But she does have a list of demands if she held the balance of power.

"Short list — get rid of first past the post. Bring in proportional representation, repeal Bill C-51, reduce the powers of the Prime Minister's Office, because they are illegitimate and unhealthy, and real climate action beginning the day after the election. We have to get to work to prepare for the deadline negotiations that will take place in Paris."

The Green Party currently has three members who were MPs in the last Parliament. While May said her dream is to get a total of 30 seats in the election, she believes her party will more likely net 12 to 15. 

May laid out her party's platform this week, saying she wants to eliminate university and college tuition fees, expand Canada's rail and urban transit systems and halt the use of fossil fuels by mid-century.

May said she supports keeping the child-care benefit subsidy and making no changes to GST, but would scrap the Tories' income-splitting plan, keeping it only for retired seniors on their pensions.

She said the tax-free savings account limit should drop back down to $5,500, having been raised to $10,000 in the last budget. And the corporate tax rate, currently at 15 per cent, should be raised to 19 per cent, she said, the same as it was in 2009.

May agreed that on those points, she shares similar views with the NDP and Liberals. But she said issues like electoral reform and restoring parliamentary democracy are far more important. 

"If we can rescue democracy from politics in this country, that's far more meaningful than whether there's a deficit here or there or the tax rate is 19 or 18 per cent."


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