‘I have to save the whole world’: Elizabeth May talks climate change, politics and personal heroes
Green Leader Elizabeth May sat down with Vassy Kapelos last week for a leaders’ edition of the Power Lunch.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May doesn’t much like politics. She says, in fact, that there are many other jobs she’d rather have.
So why does she stay in it?
“Because I have to save the whole world and we’re running out of time,” she told Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos over lunch last week. “I loved practising law when I practised law. But I think my job would be the one I was on a path to do before I got involved in politics, which is to be an Anglican priest.”
May has been at the helm of the federal Greens since 2006, and was elected to the House of Commons in 2011.
Federally and provincially, the Greens have seen their support grow in the last year. Paul Manly was elected as the party’s second MP in May, and numerous Greens are now sitting in provincial legislatures across the country.The party currently sits at about 11 per cent in the CBC Poll Tracker, which is an aggregate of all publicly available polling data. That compares to 13.8 per cent for the NDP and about 34 per cent each for the Liberals and Conservatives.But with that surge in support comes heightened scrutiny — most notably from the NDP.
Along with her alternative career prospects, May discussed Canada’s engagement with NATO and what she would do with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Here is May’s full exchange with Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos:
Kapelos: The big issue that I’m sure you get tons of questions on … (is) climate policy. If you’re trying to explain to the crowd of people who don’t live and breathe the science around it why it will be so devastating for the Earth to rise in temperature more than one point five degrees by 2030 … How do you explain it to people?
May: There’s a red line in the atmosphere. We don’t know exactly where it is but (if) we go over it in terms of warming gases, we can unleash something unstoppable. Self-accelerating, called runaway global warming. So the messaging of the 1990s — we can avoid climate change if we take action — has changed to, ‘because we haven’t taken action, it’s gotten much, much worse.’ And that’s why the urgency is greater and the consequences are much more severe than they would have been had we taken action, when we first committed to (it) in 1992.
Kapelos: You said to my colleague Don yesterday that if you, if you’re in the position where you have to, quote-unquote, prop up a minority government, that you wouldn’t do it, given the climate policies of each of the parties right now. Does that mean that in order for you to support whomever forms that (government) … that their policy would have to match yours?
May: The target would have to match and there are many ways of saving ourselves. There are a million different strategies and policies one could employ. You could decide, to heck with a carbon tax, we’re just going to ration carbon. Clean, simple, draconian. It would work, but I don’t think people would like it. But the main thing is, our current climate target in this country is half of what we need to do. And we haven’t achieved that yet.
Kapelos: It’s kind of hypothetical but right now there’s a lot of people talking and speculating that that could very much be the case. So as long as they were to agree to your targets, you’d entertain discussions, is that accurate?
May: It’s not a question of propping up a government in the context of our Westminster parliamentary democracy. We tend to use words like ‘prop up’ and … people say well, they’ll just take any … a little crumb off the table so they get power. No. Actually no. The only thing we’re interested in as Greens is making sure that we are protecting Canada from an imminent threat and that imminent threat is the climate crisis.'I have to save the whole world': Elizabeth May talks climate change, Canadian conservatives, Canadian news, Canadian politics, Conservative Canadians, conservatives, pipelines, politics and personal heroes, right for Canada
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