Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (right) poses with her communications director, Erin Bremner-Mitchell, and her son, Robson Mitchell, at a campaign birthday party in North Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

May takes campaign detour to Saanich home riding

The campaign team shared cake, talked about climate change with local families

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May stopped in for a campaign birthday party in her home riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands on Saturday afternoon.

Residents, friends, members of the campaign and May all crowded into the gymnasium at the McTavish Academy of Art at noon for speeches, refreshments and birthday cake.

Two members of the party celebrated their birthday at the event: little Robson Mitchell, the son of Erin Bremner-Mitchell, May’s communications director, and the local campaign manager, Michael Strumberger.

READ ALSO: Trudeau, Scheer navigate climate marches that dominate federal campaign

Erin noted that the event was a celebration of the future and that the majority of the attendees were families and children.

May marched in the Montreal student climate strike on Friday and then made her way to B.C. to attend an all candidates event on Saturday morning.

Afterwards, she raced over to the school for the birthday event and then ducked away for a conference call. She’s almost expected to be in two places at once, explained Strumberger.

May’s stress level will go up around Oct. 1 as she feels the pressure increases in the last 20 days. Her concerns about the planet are at the forefront of her messaging and she has big plans for making change. In B.C., forests are her focus.

Protecting old growth forests for their carbon sinking benefits, restoring forests that have had fires and planting as many trees as possible to create fire breaks to protect communities.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s recently announced plan to plant 2-billion trees in 10 years isn’t a bad idea, said May, but it’s “wholly inadequate.”

“We can’t get a new deal from the global atmosphere where we’ll get a few more years of political procrastination,” she explained. “Time’s up. We have to do the things that are required.”

May feels all Canadians need to be encouraged to pitch in and plant trees that will thrive in their climate. She commended Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps for her recent commitment to the United Nations tree planting challenge as May wants to emphasize the importance of planting trees in urban areas.

Strumberger pointed out that the upcoming election is like a referendum on climate action.

READ ALSO: Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

”The Green Party is a vehicle for change,” he said.

May is tired, but happy to be home for a little while before jetting off for more campaigning. She noted that she’s looking forward to little things like doing laundry and cleaning her house.

May also pointed out that she and her husband of five months, John Kidder, are celebrating the one-year anniversary of their first date on Sept. 29.

May wasn’t the only party leader to spend Saturday at local events in her home district. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier was in Quebec, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made a funding announcement on a BC Ferry and then spent the afternoon in Burnaby. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took the day off the campaign trail, and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer met up with old friend Premier Jason Kenney in Edmonton, where he pledged a national energy corridor.

With files from Ashley Wadhwani.


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