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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 11:40 pm ... b=Politics

Greens' May wants to change the political climate

COLDBROOK, N.S. -- The Green party will offer Canadians a broad platform in the next federal election without resorting to smear campaigns or fear tactics, Green Leader Elizabeth May said Saturday.

May told a provincial party convention in Coldbrook, N.S., that the environment will be a major component in the Green platform.

But she said the party will also address other important issues including maintaining public health care, eliminating poverty, battling outmigration and increasing rural development.

"We're not a party that's about the environment as though it exists in some kind of isolation from everything else,'' May told a small crowd gathered at a local inn.

"But because doing things that are really stupid costs money, wastes time and threatens human health.''

May, who plans on running in Central Nova, the federal riding held by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, said her party will focus on changing the "climate in parliament'' -- a catchphrase she said could become the Greens' election slogan.

The Greens will use honesty to appeal to Canadians, she said, rather than attack ads and bullying in the House of Commons.

"We are not going to be telling people how bad everything is, how dangerous everything is, how scared they should be -- we'll leave that to the other parties,'' May said in her 50-minute speech.

"We're going to be talking about how we have it in our power ... to have a better world.''

The Green leader has recently been the subject of controversy in Ottawa after remarks comparing the government's climate-change policies to the appeasement of Nazi Germany.

May has said she was merely repeating comments made by British environmental journalist George Monbiot, and insisted the Conservatives twisted her remarks to deflect attention from their failure to live up to Canada's Kyoto commitments.

Janet Eaton, the federal Green candidate for Liberal MP Scott Brison's riding of Kings-Hants, said the finger-pointing only proves that May is considered a real threat by other politicians.

"Those are fear tactics that are being used,'' said Eaton. "I think people realize she has the leadership skills, she has the vision, and she has the track record that shows we can count on her for the kind of leadership we need.''

May said her style of politics was the reason behind her success in a byelection last November in London North Centre, where she finished second with 26 per cent of the vote.

"I think a lot of Canadians are horrified and disgusted by what they see as behaviour in the House of Commons,'' she said in an interview following her speech.

"They'd like to see a party committed to respectful discourse, to advancing solutions, to be willing to work with others.''

The Greens are trying to build on the 4.5 per cent of the popular vote they received in the last federal election, under the leadership of Jim Harris.

May noted that recent opinion polls have suggested Green support was at similar levels to the New Democrats and ahead of the Bloc Quebecois.

In a Decima poll released last week, for example, the NDP had the support of 15 per cent of respondents, while the Greens received 13 per cent. The difference is within the poll's margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

The poll also suggested support for the Bloc was at nine per cent nationally.

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