The House

Midweek podcast: 'Green Wave' and going without Greyhound

On The House midweek podcast, Chris catches up with newly-minted New Brunswick Green MLA Megan Mitton after she wins her seat by 11 votes. Is a 'Green Wave' sweeping provincial politics? Polls analyst Eric Grenier offers his quick takes on the election limbo, too. Then, the CBC's Jeff Walters joins Chris from the roads and bus stops of Northern Ontario as he explores the impact of Greyhound's closures.
Listen to the full episode36:13
Who's New Brunswick's next premier? Brian Gallant or Blaine Higgs? (CANADIAN PRESS)

There was one specific moment during the New Brunswick campaign when Megan Mitton had a sense the tide was turning.

"I was canvassing in a rural area, and I spoke with an older gentleman, a farmer, and he said he wanted to take a lawn sign. And he wasn't traditionally a Green voter," the new Green Party MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar tells Chris Hall in The House's midweek podcast.

"I got back in the car and said, OK, things are turning."

Mitton is one of three Green Party MLAs elected Monday to the province's legislature, where the Greens and another third party, the People's Alliance, will hold the balance of power after the election left the Liberals and Conservatives in political deadlock.

Megan Mitton, the Green Party candidate in Memramcook-Tantramar, won the riding by 11 votes. (Tori Weldon/CBC News)

It's an opportunity Mitton said the Greens are more than ready for. 

"We can bring a different way of doing politics, that is respectful, more honest and transparent," she said. "We can hold government accountable."

Is there a deal to be struck between the Greens and one of the two main parties? For now, Mitton is staying mum.

"At this point, a lot is up in the air and it is a bit too early to tell what's going to happen," she said. 

"There is overlap on different issues, and I think we can find common ground [with both parties]."

Mitton admitted the Green Party in British Columbia — which struck a deal with the province's NDP to help them form a minority government in June — is an example for her own caucus of three to keep in mind. 

"I think that's a good example to look to," she said.

But don't expect any hasty decisions on which party to back just yet. 

"The fact is, [the B.C. Greens] did take their time to make sure they made good decisions," Mitton said. 

Getting by without Greyhound

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

It's the end of line for Greyhound in northern Ontario and Western Canada. 

On Oct. 31, all transit services west of Sudbury will be cut for the beleaguered bus company, which has been running an operating deficit since 2004. 

So what does that mean for the travellers and remote communities relying on Greyhound? The CBC's Jeff Walters decided to find out, making his way from Sudbury to Thunder Bay, Ont. in a new series called "Getting By Without Greyhound."

"People keep saying, 'someone has to do something,' but the trick is, who is that someone and what is that something?" Walters said. 

For the mayor of White River, population 800 — and a key stop in the northern Ontario line — the province's politicians need to get involved. 

"I think some provincial leaders should be mandated to come to these communities and talk to the mayors' groups so we can put together a business plan, something that makes sense," said Angelo Bazzoni. 

The safety concerns that a lack of reliable transport options presents is another big concern, especially in White River where it can get as cold as – 58 Celsius overnight. 

"You don't want anyone walking out in the middle of the night, in the winter," Walters said. "And there are no streetlights on the highway here, so even just crossing the highway, it's pitch black out."

Walters' hope for the series is that it raises awareness around the reality of what happens after Greyhound pulls out. 

"It seems like people who aren't directly on the bus route, people who have their own vehicles, their own transportation, aren't really aware of the issues. People are concerned, but no one really knows where to begin."

You can follow Walters' Greyhound journey over on his Twitter account, and read more about the series at CBC Thunder Bay.


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