The Potential For A Four Way Race

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1While it is not surprising to find Canada’s three major parties virtually tied, this week’s Nanos poll showed an often overlooked trend. When respondents ranked their “two current local preferences,” the Green party scored 27.7%. They have been consistently receiving 25% to 30% ratings for a year. It is easy to see why Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair do not want Elizabeth May to take part in leadership debates. There is potential for a four way race.

The Most Likely Province for a Breakthrough

Jo-Ann Roberts, the Green Candidate for Victoria, is a veteran journalist, best known as the respected host of the arts and current affairs program All Points West on CBC Radio One in Victoria.
Jo-Ann Roberts, the Green Candidate for Victoria, is a veteran journalist, best known as the host of the arts and current affairs program All Points West on CBC Radio One in Victoria.

The most likely province for the Greens to pick up extra seats is British Columbia.

Though during the last decade the majority of MPs from this province have been Conservatives, the most recent Insights West poll reports that 60% of the respondents agreed with the statement “I would be very upset if the Conservative Party forms the government again in Canada.”

This poll also found that the Greens are currently the second choice on Vancouver Island, where their candidates trail the NDP 32% to 39%. (The Liberals & Conservatives are tied for third place, with 15% each.)

“The Green Party is a virtual dead heat across the island,” says  Julian Morelli, Green party Director of Communications.

Contrary to the impression conveyed by the mainstream media, this is not a one woman party. The  Greens have some very strong candidates.

Some of the better known names on Vancouver Island are: Jo-Ann Roberts, the former host of All Points West on the CBC radio, running in Victoria; Brenda Sayers, who led the  Hupacasath First Nation legal challenge against the Canada China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), candidate for Powell River-North Island; Paul Manly, a veteran film maker whose work includes the documentary “Troubled Water,” in Ladysmith.

Claire Martin, the Green Candidate for North Vancouver, is an award winning meteorologist best known for her role on the CBC program The National
Claire Martin, the Green Candidate for North Vancouver, is an award winning meteorologist best known for her role on the CBC program The National

Two of the better known candidates in Greater Vancouver are: SFU’s award winning biologist Lynne Quarmby, who came to the public’s attention because of her stand against the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline  project on Burnaby Mountain and is now the Green candidate for Burnaby North -Seymour; Claire Martin, an award winning meteorologist best known from the CBC’s The National, who is running in North Vancouver.

One of the Green’s problems is that they are still perceived as a one issue party. British Columbians are aware of their stand on the need for Climate Action and opposition to both the Northern Gateway and proposed Kinder Morgan pipelines. Consequently, Elizabeth May was the overwhelming favourite when respondents picked who they thought was best suited to look after the nation’s environment (43%, with Thomas Mulcair’s 15% coming in second).

The Greens Are Making Headway

The Green Party’s positions on other matters are less known and will remain less known if the front leading parties have their way. Elizabeth May has been left out of the leadership debates in every election except 2008 and, aside from the MacLeans Leadership debate, this tactic is continuing in 2015.

Graph drawn up from Data on Insights West by Roy L Hales
Graph drawn up from Data on Insights West by Roy L Hales

Morelli says the Greens are  making headway. They are probably more effective using social media than any of the other parties and Elizabeth May’s performance during the MacLeans debate created a lot of twitter buzz.

When Insights West asked British Columbians to give their approval ratings for the party leaders, the  three front runners are Thomas Mulcair (55%), Elizabeth May (52%) and Justin Trudeau (51%).

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party 2006 to Present, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada 1989-2006, Senior Policy Advisor to the federal Minister of the Environment 1986-1988
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party 2006 to Present, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada 1989-2006, Senior Policy Advisor to the federal Minister of the Environment 1986-1988

Elizabeth May led the pack when BC respondents were asked if their opinions of the leaders has “improved, stayed the same, or worsened” during this election. She has gained 11%. Mulcair and Trudeau have also moved up, 7% and 1% , respectively. The big loser is Stephen Harper, whose approval dropped 45%.

“Reporters are starting to pay more attention to May because she actually studies the legislation,” said Morelli.

His prediction for 2015 is, “Canada is going to have a minority government and Greens will play a central role in co-operating with all the parties for the best legislation. That’s one of the messages we are working on now, working for Canadians and not your political party.”

3 thoughts on “The Potential For A Four Way Race”

  1. Canadians will wake up and see the greens have a great leader in Elizabeth and are about much more than only the environment. I pray it’s before she leaves politics.

  2. Please update your chart’s labels to reflect the official CPC party since the federal PCs no longer exist and have not for over 10 years.

  3. If “60% of the respondents agreed with the statement “I would be very upset if the Conservative Party forms the government again in Canada.”” then the thing to do is to start calling across riding borders and party lines.

    If every progressive voter in these Green target ridings votes Green but loudly asks Green sympathizers in north coastal BC and other Con v. NDP ridings where Greens have no chance, to vote NDP, either one for one vote pairing/swapping or just en masse with whole groups of people going to polls to co-vote at once… that more scattered NDP vote and more focused Green vote could have the effect of swinging a DOZEN (12) OR MORE ridings against Harper.

    If Harper MPs are evicted from all of coastal BC and a few other regions like PEI and Nova Scotia and remain locked out in Newfoundland, that makes it impossible for him to maintain any pretense of a “mandate” even if he finishes with more seats than the NDP. And it means Greens may hold balance of power, not Liberals, which puts Vancouver Island and lower mainland BC into the driver’s seat for the entire country.

    So it’s quite foolish not to communicate and co-vote this time.

    http://covote.ca if you need further help, but you can do it by posting on facebook “hey I’m in Victoria voting Green, and I’d like to find anyone who usually votes Green up in north coast BC or the Prairies to vote NDP to knock out two Harper MPs.”

    No need for apps, media campaigns, services, even facebook.

    Use Twitter. Grab a megaphone and yell across to an adjoining riding. Do whatever. But don’t ask a party for permission or for co-operation, while doing nothing yourself to coordinate or cooperate! Peer to peer is the way we do everything now, right?

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