They’re busting out the big guns.
The Green Party is throwing its weight behind Nelson-Creston candidate Kim Charlesworth, first sending MLA Andrew Weaver to the Kootenays a few weeks ago and then packing the Rod and Gun Club on Friday evening for an appearance from federal leader Elizabeth May.
“Trust has to be earned, and I think Elizabeth May and Andrew Weaver have acted in ways that earned people’s trust, working across party lines for the betterment of other people,” Charlesworth told the crowd.
“They have shown us politics can be different. I want to be like them when I grow up.”
Charlesworth was in a dancing mood during the event, rocking out to local performer Jan Van Gold’s electric guitar stylings before introducing herself as a long-time May admirer. They first met while studying law at Dalhousie University. Together they aim to get four Green MLAs elected in the upcoming provincial election — a feat that would give them official party status for the first time.
And May thinks Charlesworth will be one of the four.
“When you say to Kim ‘I’m going to trust you, I want to hear from you, I want to know what you’re doing’ and she says she will, you can take that to the bank,” May said.
“You can accomplish anything if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
May described the bitter partisan politics she’s experienced during her time in government, and expressed dissatisfaction with the current system. In her opinion, it’s only the Greens who are willing to work across party lines, and to demonstrate this she said, “Weaver has put forward more legislation than the entire NDP caucus.”
“And that’s because he doesn’t have to wait for the party brass. We’re seeing the change that can happen with even one extraordinary Green, and that’s the only real opposition I’ve seen in that legislature.”
Charlesworth echoed May’s concerns about the current state of politics, telling the crowd she’s committed to putting forward environmental initiatives whenever possible and opposing “crazy schemes that don’t make economic sense” such as the pipeline projects endorsed by Premier Christy Clark.
“When you find green technology and encourage a climate of innovation, people get excited. This isn’t about shutting things down, it’s about creating something new.”
After May’s speech, members of the audience were given the opportunity to quiz the politicians on such topics as rural life, health care and education. One person asked whether they stand behind the Leap Manifesto, and May assured them it’s in line with all of their parties’ policies.
“If it wasn’t called a manifesto, nobody would think it’s controversial,” she said, going on to criticize Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s environmental record.
“Our commitment to climate is now so far gone. People should stop swooning over Justin Trudeau — he’s a disaster for the planet.”
And she believes people are ready for something different. To characterize the Green surge she sees happening across the country, May quoted her mother, who was known for malaprops: “It’s going to spread like wild flowers.”