Canadian Green leader May loses bid for seat

Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:56pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Green Party leader Elizabeth May, a proponent of a Canadian carbon tax, fell short on Tuesday in her bid to become the environmental party's first elected member of the nation's Parliament, according to media projections.

May lost an attempt to unseat Conservative Defense Minister Peter MacKay in Nova Scotia, an effort by the Greens that was seen as a long shot despite an agreement by the Liberals not to field a candidate in that race.

The Greens' only current member of the Canada's Parliament is Blair Wilson, elected in 2006 as a Liberal in British Columbia before becoming an independent and joining the Greens days before the election campaign began in September.

Wilson, whose switch to the Greens allowed May to participate in the national party leaders' debate, was considered unlikely to keep his seat.

May, a bubbly political and environmental activist, said she expects to remain as a party leader despite not getting a seat. "It's not perfect, but it's not unheard of," she told CTV Television.

May made only one cross-country campaign trip -- a whistle-stop tour using a regularly scheduled passenger train -- and spent nearly all her time campaigning to win the seat in her home province of Nova Scotia.

May had an unusual agreement with Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion to not field candidates against each other. Both supported the adoption of a national carbon tax.

The parties denied the deal meant they were opponents in name only, and Dion warned late in the campaign that votes for the Greens would only hurt his own uphill battle against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has been projected by three television networks to win a stronger minority government.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd, Editing by Eric Walsh)

<p>Green Party leader Elizabeth May stands at the podium during a speech at a post election rally in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, October 14, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>