Elizabeth May seeks to blow past political pack with platform roll out

Green platform pledges universal pharmacare, elimination of tuition fees for post-secondary, more

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attends the launch of her party’s election platform in Toronto on Monday September 16, 2019. he Liberals and the Greens each unveiled signature elements of their policy plans Monday as leaders taking part in the federal election campaign fanned out across the country. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Green Leader Elizabeth May pushed past the political pack Monday by introducing a wide-ranging set of new policy promises while her rivals were recycling or expanding on old ideas.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer re-introduced tax credits from the Harper government era, and Justin Trudeau pledged funds for more child-care spaces despite only days ago suggesting that was something provinces alone need to tackle.

May said politics-as-usual is leading the country down a path Canada simply cannot survive.

It is time for the kind of big ideas that Canada hasn’t seen since the 1950s, and ones that take into account climate change’s being the major crisis of our time, she said.

“I believe that what Canadians really want is peace, order and green government,” May said in Toronto.

The Green platform, in addition to aggressive targets for emissions reductions and environmental measures such as a ban on hydraulic fracking, also pledges universal pharmacare, the elimination of tuition fees for post-secondary education, a closer relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the elimination of poverty via a guaranteed livable income.

The cost of it all will be released in the coming days, but the benefits will be worth the price, May promised.

“It is a good deal to save all of humanity in the next five years,” she said.

READ MORE: Absent Trudeau is main target in leaders’ first election debate

New Democrats sought to take some of the wind out of May’s sails by announcing they’d poached Eric Ferland, the former leader of the Green party in Quebec, as a candidate in the very same Montreal-area riding whose incumbent is Pierre Nantel — a former NDP MP running for re-election as a Green.

The Greens and the NDP have appeared locked in a battle for third place since well before the start of the campaign.

But both NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and May insisted Monday they’re not running against each other.

“Our focus is on replacing the Trudeau government,” said Singh, in Quebec.

May said while she thinks she’s best qualified to be prime minister, she also suggested she’s got her eye on a different prize: electing enough Green MPs to have a role in a potential minority government.

Under the Liberal-led minority government of Lester B. Pearson, Canadians got universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, even a national flag, May pointed out.

“This is, for me, a model of how Parliament should work but we have not had anything equally bold in more than 50 years,” she said.

“So here we are, saying it’s time.”

READ MORE: Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

One of the places the Greens are hoping to elect a candidate is the Ontario riding of Guelph, which sent a Green to the Ontario legislature in the last provincial election. May headed there after her platform launch on Monday.

Trudeau was campaigning nearby, in the southwestern Ontario cities of Waterloo, London and Windsor.

It was in Waterloo that Trudeau promised $535 million per year to create more before- and after-school child-care spaces and cut fees for parents — a program that would require getting the provinces onside, a detail that didn’t stop him from demonizing the conservative governments running several of them.

Trudeau is wading into waters that earlier this month he said he would avoid: he told the Toronto Star that provinces were best placed to figure out what child-care services were needed in their jurisdictions and how to deliver them.

He reframed the issue Monday, arguing the funds were about families and blaming conservatives for promising help but cutting services.

“I always think that’s a role for the federal government, to make sure that we are investing families and supporting them,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau took questions from reporters for the first time since Friday. Conservatives had jumped on Trudeau’s apparent avoidance of the media by pointing out that their former leader, Stephen Harper, had been lambasted when he took only five questions a day in campaigns past.

But it was again Scheer who drew comparisons to Harper.

At an event in B.C., he promised to bring back two tax credits that had been marquee policies under Harper’s Conservative government, measures that allowed Canadian families to claim credits for expenses related to their families’ fitness- or sports-related activities and for arts and educational expenses.

It was the latest reboot of a past Harper policy; last week, Scheer promised to bring back a tax credit for transit passes. All three had been axed by the Liberals.

“I can assure you that throughout the rest of this campaign we will be proposing new ideas to leave more money in the pockets of Canadians,” he said.

After a couple of days of campaigning in rival-held ridings, Scheer was off to the friendlier territory of Calgary later Monday, a stop sure to provide an energy boost to a tour dogged by questions about potentially controversial candidates.

Also receiving a boost of energy Monday was Maxime Bernier. He’s been told his year-old People’s Party of Canada will be given a spot at the officially sanctioned leaders debates in October, after making the case his party does have a reasonable chance at winning multiple seats.

“That was the right decision,” Bernier said.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Ex-B.C. cop who lost leg in collision is running against Elizabeth May

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford man wins $1 million in Lotto 6/49 draw

Kenneth Giffen wins prize after deciding to stop in Agassiz gas station after fishing trip

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Missing Richmond man last seen in Chilliwack

Shawn Johnson last seen on June 30 on Main Street

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Eagle Landing

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Chilliwack

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read