Green Party leader Annamie Paul visited Victoria on Saturday to try and rally support for local and B.C. candidates in the federal election campaign’s final days.
In a stump speech from Lime Bay Park, Paul said Greens are champions of climate, reconciliation and a just society once elected.
“It’s so important for me to get them over the finish line and to elect more Green MPs,” she said.
Working together and sticking to positive politics were a theme of the Green leader’s speech as she called out the finger-pointing other federal leaders have resorted to with just two days until election day.
“We know that that is not going to get us where we need to go,” Paul said.
While talking about how people in B.C. and across Canada are still recovering from the impacts of wildfires, Paul said “that is a challenge that we solve together.” The thousands of long-term care deaths during the pandemic were avoidable, she added, and Canadians are being ravaged by the overdose crisis.
“We are stronger when we work together, people want to send candidates back to Ottawa that are prepared to collaborate and cooperate across party lines,” Paul said.
Electing Greens to Ottawa is key to addressing the climate emergency, creating a “strong, green, prosperous economy of the future,” remembering the sacrifices and loss of the pandemic, making reconciliation a top priority and justice a reality in Canada, Paul told supporters.
The leader was pressed by reporters on why she chose to come to B.C. at such a late stage in the campaign after putting most of her focus on her riding of Toronto Centre. She also faced questions on her party’s polling numbers being lower than usual in B.C. and why the party came well short of running a full slate of candidates.
Paul said she was disappointed they couldn’t secure candidates from coast to coast, before saying the Greens who are on the ballot represent the most diverse group in the party’s history and that they’re “ready to put their communities first.”
It’s positive to see other parties acknowledge the climate emergency, she said, but Paul called their plans smoke and mirrors and that their emission reduction targets don’t go far enough.
“If what we’re being accused of is being too ambitious, then I say we are ambitious, but we know that it can be done,” she said.
On her platform promise to immediately halt logging in old-growth ecosystems, Paul said she’d work cooperatively with the B.C. NDP. But if that doesn’t work, she said the federal government would have to “explore other options.”
“This is a collective future and there is no one place or one person or one jurisdiction who should be able to compromise that collective future, this is the time where we say we are taking a stand.”
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