VICTORIA — Elizabeth May is predicting that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are headed for defeat, just before the polls close in British Columbia.
The Green Party leader said she expected other Greens to be elected and hoped her party would hold some power in Ottawa, especially if it’s a minority government.
“I know we’re going to make a huge difference, and make things better,” she said. “I’m happy.”
May said the Greens decided to target 15 ridings where they had support. Those ridings are in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and B.C.
She said she expected a minority Liberal government, but believed Vancouver Island would deliver Green votes, particularly in Victoria.
“This is always a place that is very committed to environmental values,” said May. “It’s a very committed, engaged community that supports Green values.”
But her party almost lost her vote on Monday when she forgot to bring her proper identification to her Sidney, B.C., polling station.
May said she took a green leather purse to the polls to match her party’s political colour, but her correct identification was in another purse she left in her campaign van.
She said she ran back to the van and rummaged through her second purse to find the identification that matched her current address with her election registration address.
May was then able to vote in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding she won in the 2011 election and is expected to win again.
The leader spent the final days of the campaign riding the Green Party bus the length of Vancouver Island, where the party has visions of capturing up to four of seven available seats, including May’s riding.
Vancouver Island is a traditional hotbed of Green-leaning voters and often votes in blocks against the national tide, also of benefit to the Greens.
Former CBC radio host Jo-Ann Roberts, a first-time candidate, has parlayed her community credibility into a formidable political force. She is challenging incumbent New Democrat MP Murray Rankin, the party’s environment critic, in the Victoria riding.
Roberts’s chances at victory took a leap forward late in the campaign when Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas withdrew on Sept. 30 and apologized for controversial comments she posted to Facebook in the past about the Middle East conflict.
Thomas’s withdrawal came too late for the Liberals to replace her, leaving Roberts as the main contender.
The final weeks of the Victoria race saw the Greens questioning Rankin’s true environmental stock as both May and Roberts said the environmental lawyer worked against Canada on an environmental case for a United States company.
May said she would not have taken the case even if it paid $10 million.
Victoria-area Green candidate Frances Litman, a community small business leader, is expected to mount a strong challenge to NDP incumbent Randall Garrison in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding.
May has been a loud, but lone voice in the House of Commons since her 2011 breakthrough win on Vancouver Island after failed attempts in Atlantic Canada. Ontario’s Bruce Hyer crossed the floor from the New Democrats to join the Greens and expand the caucus to two members, but his Thunder Bay area seat is not a lock.
May started the campaign pledging to erase university and college tuition fees, expand transit and stop the use of fossil fuels by 2050.
But the campaign’s final days saw May’s message lose steam as several high-profile West Coast environmental leaders urged voters to consider strategic voting to ensure defeat of the Conservatives.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press