Drums, roaring cheers, and music filled the room as Elizabeth May joined the rally to kick off the local campaign of local candidate Steve Dyck Monday night.
The rally was held at Dyck's campaign office on Gordon St.
May pushed for climate change, an end to party politics, commitment to social justice and a better world for the future generation.
Wearing a colourful pin that represents the United Nations’s 17 Sustainable Goals, May said those goals underpin her entire platform calling an end to poverty, hunger, fighting for women's rights in Canada and the world, fighting the climate crisis, ending ocean pollution and getting rid of single-use plastic among many others.
“Getting rid of the bottled water industry isn't exactly one of the goals but it fits,” said May referencing the long feud Guelph residents have with Nestle Waters that hit home with the audience.
In an interview with GuelphToday, May said everything about Guelph stands out.
Known to be the agriculture city that is passionate about the environment, with strong action at the municipal level, and the first community in Canada to take steps on solid waste, May said Guelph’s values really align with the Green Party.
As her party pushes for strong support at the municipal level to empower them much more than they currently are, she said Guelph is an example for the rest of Canada because of the community’s awareness as a whole.
“I mean that's why it won the Smart Cities Initiative,” said May.
“There have been a lot of big campaigns here against the extraction of water here. The Nestlé campaign suggests a lot of awareness and it aligns with our values for local food climate action protecting water and justice and fairness.”
May said because of Guelph’s values, the 2008 federal campaign was launched here.
“And you know we were right. I mean the first Ontario riding to elect a Green, electing Mike Schreiner was here,” said May about Schreiner’s historic win becoming the first-ever Green Party of Canada MPP.
“I've always felt that Guelph was our Green base,” said May.
“Guelph is an example to the country.”
Dyck said Guelph’s values align with the Green Party’s in a huge way.
“Thirty thousand people voted for Mike Schreiner, 6,000 people voted for the liberals in the last election. Those are the numbers. 30 versus six,” said Dyck.
“When we go to a door, they say yeah I voted for Mike. That's what they say at the door. I can't imagine what it's like for another party to go to a door.”
The best finish for a Green Party candidate locally in nine federal elections has been third. In 2015 they finished fourth locally.
Dyck said it all comes down to integrity.
“People are tired of people digging up dirt and being nasty. They just want honest answers that work for people,” said Dyck.
“They are concerned about corporations running our prime minister's office and they want to have politics work for people. All people. Indigenous people, people in poverty and people are willing to pay taxes if they feel the government is actually doing good things with them.”