Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May helped raise $22,300 in campaign pledges Tuesday evening for provincial Green candidate Megan Mitton during a rally in downtown Sackville that attracted about 200 people.
May conducted what she called a “Dutch auction” starting at a pledge of $3,000 and gradually working her way down to $100 before leading the crowd “in a big rousing cheer” to send a message to Liberal candidate Bernie LeBlanc whose campaign office is just down the street.
“I feel there are a lot more people here tonight than I know a lot of us expected to see,” May said before asking people to put up their hands if this was the first time they had attended a Green Party event.
The crowd broke into cheers and applause when a number of hands went up.
“That’s what I thought,” May shouted. “It’s pretty clear that New Brunswick is the next place where we see Green breakthroughs,” she said, adding, “[Provincial leader] David Coon will not be going back to the legislature alone.”
May’s two-day visit to the area this week highlighted the Green strategy of focusing on a small number of New Brunswick ridings, including Memramcook-Tantramar, where Megan Mitton is running for a second time.
In 2014, Mitton finished third, well behind the Liberals and PCs, but Greens are hoping this time, her higher profile as a Sackville town councillor will help attract more support.
They’re also hoping that the increasing frequency of extreme weather linked to climate change will lead more voters to abandon the traditional parties.
During her speech on Tuesday, Elizabeth May referred to the 500 wildfires burning in British Columbia where she lives.
She said when she visited her family this summer in Cape Breton, it took three days before she could breathe normally again.
“I’ve never before heard weather forecasts that were ‘it’s going to be hot and smoky…air quality warnings remain in effect, it will be hot and smoky,'” she said.
“I sense this from people all over the place, they’re recognizing that climate change isn’t something out there and in the future,” she added, “but it actually has made a difference in how people feel about their current existence, their children’s existence, their grandchildren.”
The crowd applauded as May concluded, “We are, as Greens, all about making sure that our generation ensures that our children and grandchildren have a future, that’s all we are about.”
On Wednesday, May joined Mitton on Main Street near the Sackville hospital as provincial leader David Coon outlined Green plans for health-care reform.
It was another high-profile event in Memramcook-Tantramar where Coon has been a frequent visitor.
“There’s many ridings I’m spending time in, but obviously we did very well, Megan Mitton did very well in the last provincial election,” Coon said, “and so, I have no doubt that she will be the next M-L-A for Memramcook-Tantramar.”