Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, made her way from her West-Coast home of Sidney, British Columbia, all the way to St. John’s this past weekend. During her visit, May participated in an event with Equal Voice, a Human Rights Night at Gower St. United Church, and a trip to out of the province’s capital city to Carbonear. “This trip is all about making sure people in Newfoundland and Labrador know that the Green Party of Canada is a serious option–that our candidates are worth looking at and listening to,” she explained. The Muse had the chance to speak with May during a meet and greet at Rocket Bakery.

When asked what the Federal Government can do to make education more accessible for students, May’s position was clear. “The policy of the Green Party of Canada is that we should abolish tuition” she stated, “we need to address existing levels of student debt because it’s not acceptable–it’s not right that young people finish their degree, on average, something like thirty thousand dollars in debt”. She also spoke about the current housing market and how something must be done to make it less difficult for young Canadians to become homeowners.

Beyond tuition, however, May also spoke briefly about Canada’s post-secondary situation more generally, pointing to the declining rate of tenure track positions as a problem in the post-secondary institution. “There is really a very exploited group of workers who are new PhDs,” she said, “who are used to teach a course but they’re not paid on any salary basis.”

May stated that she’d like to see the federal government provide more money to the provinces to be put directly into universities: “We really need to address the crisis within universities and make it possible for universities to know that […] they’re going to be able to afford to hire people and have good programs.”

Elizabeth May 2018
Elizabeth May at a meet and greet at Rocket Bakery

When asked about Muskrat Falls, May declared “It’s a terrible project.” She faulted both the provincial government and the federal government for “the lack of proper analysis of the economics of it”. She added, “Is it too late to pull the plug on it? I don’t think so.”

“The hydro rates for people in this province are going to skyrocket for electricity […] you’re going to have a product you’re going to have to sell for less than it cost to produce it. Which means it’s a perpetual source of red ink for the province’s books,” she continued, “and then, of course, you have people arresting First Nations people […] it’s just outrageous.”

Additionally, as Monday is the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, May explained what the government will be doing to commemorate the lives lost in that attack. “The Prime Minister and I and representatives from all the other parties of parliament are going to be in Quebec City Monday night for a vigil […] We have to defend everybody’s right to worship […] this is fundamental to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Students at Memorial University’s Campus will also be gathering on Monday to demonstrate solidarity towards Muslim communities who face discrimination.

By: Leslie Claire Amminson