Canadian climate concern could carry Greens to breakthrough election

(Reuters News, 16 Sep 2019) If the Green Party emerges from October's vote holding the balance of power, it could hasten the government's move toward renewable energy and reduce support for the oil industry.

With climate change a top concern heading into next month's Canadian election and mainstream candidates offering little inspiration, Green Party leader Elizabeth May could be poised for a breakthrough.

The Greens have toiled in obscurity for almost 30 years, but polls suggest the environmentalist party could emerge from the Oct. 21 election holding the balance of power. This could hasten the government's move toward renewable energy and reduce support for the oil industry, a major exporter and a big employer in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Greens are sitting at around 11% public support, more than triple the 3.4% the party received in the 2015 election when May, an effervescent 65-year-old, was the only legislator to win a seat. Public opinion surveys suggest her party might win up to 10 seats in the House of Commons.

"Nothing is impossible in this election," May told Reuters in a telephone interview. In previous federal elections, the party has started well only to flop as supporters backed other more established parties.

Backing for the Greens has surged after a rash of major floods, tornadoes and forest fires in recent years. Climate change is happening in Canada at twice the global rate, according to a recently released government study. Some surveys say the environment is the top priority among voters.

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Reuters News, 16 Sep 2019: Canadian climate concern could carry Greens to breakthrough election