Green party leader Elizabeth May got off a plane in Ottawa from Victoria Tuesday only to be hit with a icy blast of reality: She remains alone on the Hill, the sole elected Green member of Parliament.
A red-eye flight to Canadas capital all but erased the warm buzz from the night before as the muscular Green byelection campaign in Victoria watched Donald Galloway trade the lead with the ultimate winner, NDP MP-elect Murray Rankin.
It was so close. I was very happy with the results but Im also disappointed it was so close to having another Green MP here, May said on Tuesday. Theres so much work to do I really need the help.
May had been enthusiastic about joining global leaders and environment ministers as they head to Doha, Qatar, for the UN Climate Change Conference that began on Monday and runs until Dec. 7. Leaders at the annual conference will discuss a new international agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
But as opposition parties push to delay the passage of Bill C-45, the Budget Implementation Act an omnibus bill that makes changes to more than 60 acts and totals more than 400 pages that trip to Qatar is looking unlikely.
I cant leave until Bill C-45 gets dealt with and I cant be in two places at once, May said. Theres no opposition MP planning to go at all from any of the parties.
The Green party leader said the race was a dead heat. Had the campaign gone on for one more week, she said, the Greens might have gone from being within a whisker of winning to victory.
The winning margin was the votes cast early in the campaign before voters saw Donald Galloway in the all-candidates meetings, May said.
Rankin rejected the idea that the race to replace NDP MP Denise Savoie, who retired in August, was that close he beat Galloway by 1,151 votes.
The NDP poured resources into the advance polls, held over three days in mid-November. If those polls had been counted earlier in the night, the NDP would have been the clear winner from the start, Rankin said. As it was, they were tallied last and pushed him ahead.
May said she was encouraged by her partys gains in the byelections.
In Victoria, where the Greens were the only party to see an increase in support, it got 34.3 per cent of the vote, up from 11.6 per cent in 2011. In Calgary Centre, the party got 25.6 per cent of the vote, up from 9.9 per cent in 2011.
I think, without a doubt, the only party in these byelections that had real gains was the Green party, May said, adding that she hopes that boost will translate into more Green MPs elected in 2015.
Meanwhile, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair whipped up an enthusiastic ballroom full of supporters Monday night talking about the NDPs chances of forming government.
We know we are the only team that can stand up to Stephen Harper and hope to replace him in 2015, Mulcair said.
The NDP MP-elect leaves Monday for Ottawa, where he plans to work to stop the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat.
Liberal Paul Summerville, who placed fourth with 5,092 votes, hopes to run again. Galloway and Conservative Dale Gann, who garnered 5,633 votes, are considering whether they will run in 2015.
© Copyright 2013