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Climate action would be priority for minority negotiation, says May during P.E.I. stop

Federal Green party leader Elizabeth May and P.E.I. Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker chat with a vendor at the Charlottetwon Farmers Market on Saturday. The federal Greens are hoping to capitalize on the recent success of their provincial counterparts, and hope to send one or more of their Island candidates to Ottawa.
Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN
Federal Green party leader Elizabeth May and P.E.I. Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker chat with a vendor at the Charlottetwon Farmers Market on Saturday. The federal Greens are hoping to capitalize on the recent success of their provincial counterparts, and hope to send one or more of their Island candidates to Ottawa. Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

During her second visit to P.E.I. of this federal election season, Green leader Elizabeth May said the line in the sand for her party, should a minority government be elected, would be ‘a plan and a commitment’ on climate action.

May said she would not rule out working with any other party in such a scenario, which several polls have suggested is likely. This includes either a Liberal or Conservative minority.

The Green platform calls for a 60 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a much higher target than other parties.

“That's where we are as a party, we're very committed to climate action, that will be the one thing in any negotiation, in any minority - if we have enough MP's in the room," May said, speaking during an event at the Pownal Sports Centre in Alexandra on Saturday.

New Democrats have criticized May and the Greens for suggesting the party might work with a Conservative minority government, if they were elected on October 21st.

“One thing you don't do is say 'these are all our negotiating terms in advance and we won't work with so-and-so but we will work with so-and-so,’” May said.

“I'm currently being attacked in a flyer that the NDP is distributing in Southern Vancouver Island, suggesting that I only want to work with Conservatives because I said I would talk to them. I will talk to them, because that's how you put together co-operation, you have to talk to everybody.”

The NDP and the Greens are in competition for several seats in Vancouver Island, B.C.

On Thursday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh outlined six policy items, including a national pharmacare program and investments in housing, his party would prioritize in a minority parliament.

In such a scenario, a governing party would have to work with smaller parties in order to pass confidence motions, such as a budget.

On Saturday, May did not outline specific top priorities from her party’s 90-page platform. But aside from action on the climate front, she said electoral reform, pharmacare, eliminating tuition fees for students and social housing were high up on the list.

May’s event at the Pownal Sports Centre focused on veterans issues.

May said, if elected, the Green party would begin consultations with military veterans to re-examine pensions and benefits starting in December 2019. While this occurred, veteran benefits would be restored to pre-2006 levels.

Both the previous Conservative and the incumbent Liberal governments have introduced reforms to veteran pension and disability benefits since 2006. The Liberals’ Pension for Life program was implemented last April. The program allows veterans the choice of a lump sum payment as compensation for a disability or a monthly payment for life.

May said the earlier 2006 Pension Act benefits were the best fit for now.

“We want to have veterans know that they can have a pension through their lifetime. But we don't want the up-front payment,” May said.

“Right now, veterans are still struggling with lack of service, not having a Veterans Affairs worker, with disruption in their pensions benefits, with having to continually prove that they deserve their pension."

May said the Greens would also work to review the Veterans Charter, would focus more on mental health support and would increase funding for service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

Last month, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also chose P.E.I. as a stop to announce his party’s policies for veterans.

Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay is running for re-election in Cardigan, the riding in which May spoke on Saturday.

May was flanked by Green candidates Glen Beaton, Anna Keenan and Darcie Lanthier, who are running in Cardigan, Malpeque and Charlottetown.

Her visit in the Maritimes also included stops in Fredericton, Maugerville and Sackville in New Brunswick and in Halifax and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia.

The Federal Greens are hoping recent electoral successes of their provincial counterparts in P.E.I. and New Brunswick could translate into wins for their candidates in the region.

Stu.neatby@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/stu_neatby


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