Skip to content

Elizabeth May looking for Guelph to turn greener

Green Party co-leaders Elizabeth May and Jonathan Pedneault kicked off the Leaders' Tour in Guelph
Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaking at the Leaders' Tour kick-off event in Guelph at Royal City Mission.

Could Guelph get any greener? 

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May thinks it could.

The Green Party’s Leaders’ Tour kicked off at Royal City Mission on Friday. Guelph is the tour’s first city stop and Green Party of Canada co-leaders May and Jonathan Pedneault are trying to drum up momentum for the next election.

There were about 70 people in the audience. Community members had the opportunity to ask the panel of Green Party leaders, MPs, and MPPs questions and voice their opinions. 

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield will not be running in the next federal election so there could be an opportunity for a Green Party candidate to take that place.

Except there isn’t a candidate yet, but May said there are lots of local people interested in the opportunity, she said in an interview with GuelphToday ahead of the event. 

“We're kicking off here because we want to kick off by electing the Green MP,” she said.

Like Kitchener Centre with MP Mike Morrice and newly elected MPP Aislinn Clancy, May said she could see the same thing happen in Guelph. 

“I’ve enjoyed working with Lloyd. Just want to be very clear about that. And I also would love to be able to work with a fellow Green MP,” said Mike Schreiner, Guelph MPP and provincial Green Party leader, in a separate interview.

He gave an example of how he asked Morrice to bring his question to a federal minister and “that kind of collaboration would be fantastic,” when it comes to working with a Green MP in Guelph.

“And I also think we’re in a moment in time right now with the window closing on our ability to address the climate crisis that the more elected Greens there are at all levels of government sends a message that we have to address the climate crisis in a way that makes life easier and more affordable for people,” he said.

Guelph will have Green Party MPP Schreiner and “whoever the Green nominee is for Guelph, there will be a Green MP, because that's the way things are moving,” said May.

“The Mike phenomenon in Kitchener helped elect a fantastic new MPP. So there's a synergy in this area, and a desire, I think, for strong independence, progressive voices in politics. And so of course, Guelph is top of mind for us,” said Pedneault.

Whether there are different parties at different levels of governments it’s about working together to get things done, May said.

“Well it just makes it a whole lot easier to work together, when others can see that the goal isn't a political wedge, but it's actually a community interest. And that's why I'm excited about the possibility of Guelph electing a Green MP is to work alongside that person on our communities shared priorities,” said Morrice.

Shared priorities like housing and transportation. He gave an example about challenges of the GO train between Guelph to Kitchener and Guelph to Toronto.

Issues like the Ontario Disability Support Program, guaranteed income, housing affordability, electoral reform were echoed between politicians and community members during the question and answer session of the event.

Audience member Nadine Lamothe brought the conversation back to the environment with her comment.

“I know that our political system is imperfect. But I vote Green because your job is to keep their feet to the environmental fire. Please keep doing that. Please keep coming up with ideas for housing that will make it greener. Ideas for health care that will make it greener. Please do those things. Because in my view, that's your job,” said Lamothe.

In conversations with May and Schreiner, Morrice said they often bring up how the housing crisis and climate crisis are interconnected.

And how the cost of living is rising “in large part because of the oil and gas companies that are gouging us and how that could be reinvested in home energy retrofits for people to take action on the climate crisis,” he said.

In May’s speech she noted the affordability crisis and questioned why income is taxed and not excess profits like the “... hundreds of billions of dollars every quarter being pulled in by the fossil fuel logging,  the fossil fuel industries. Why aren't we taking that money to make sure that nobody in downtown Guelph is living in a tent?”

Although she knows it will be hard, she thinks the climate crisis should be stopped before “it becomes a prescription for an unlivable world for our children and grandchildren. We can't let that happen. We have a moral responsibility.”


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
Read more