‘A catastrophic night’: Green Party forges ahead after voter support plummets

'A catastrophic night': Green Party forges ahead after voter support plummets

The Green Party of Canada won its first seat in Ontario on Monday night with Mike Morrice taking Kitchener Centre.

The party’s former leader, Elizabeth May, managed to retain her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

But the good news for the Greens on election night would end there.

“That pleasant surprise in Kitchener Centre was really the only bright light in a rather dismal night for the Green Party of Canada, you know it was a catastrophic night actually politically,” said University of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince.

After months of internal conflict, the party’s own leader Annamie Paul finished a distant fourth in Toronto Centre.

“We need to repair these divisions we need to ensure whatever wounds were created during this election are not permanent,” Paul said on Monday after the election results had come in.

And things on Vancouver Island, usually a bright spot of Green support, didn’t go much better.

In the Victoria riding in 2019, the Green Party candidate finished a close second with 30 per cent of the popular vote. On Monday night the party dropped to fourth place with only 11.5 per cent of the vote.

In Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke the Greens plummeted from second place with 26 per cent of the vote last election to just 9 per cent and fourth place in 2021.

“A lot of our membership and volunteers felt very discouraged by the national scene and the publicity I think was based on a lot of false rumours but it did discourage a lot of our members,” said former leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP-elect Elizabeth May.

MORE: Vancouver Island stays orange with a splash of green, Nanaimo-Ladysmith too close to call

Low voter turnout across the country may have contributed to the collapse.

“I think in one sense [Green voters] didn’t show up at all, I think some maybe drifted off to other parties and we’re just going to have to dissect where they went because some of them could have gone to the Conservatives lo and behold,” said Prince.

But the Greens aren’t preparing to throw in the towel just yet.

“The Green party’s not going away, we’re here to stay,” Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke Green Candidate Harley Gordon told a crowd of supporters Monday night.

May herself says while she has no intentions of running for leader again, she also has no plans of retiring any time soon, instead of hoping to resurrect the party she helped build from its worst election in 20 years, and continue the fight against climate change.

The Greens plummeted in the riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke on Monday. Going from second place with 26 per cent of the vote last election to just 9 per cent and fourth place in 2021.

The story wasn’t much better in the Victoria riding. The Green’s captured 30 per cent of the vote in 2019 but only managed to grab 11.5 per cent of the votes in the 2021 federal election.

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April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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