En route to Toronto the whistle-stop campaign tour of the Green Party leader Elizabeth May endured a common setback in rail travel. Her train was late.
Green Party supporters and media learned early through online sources or too late at the door that May wouldn’t begin her stump speech at the landmark Hockey Hall of Fame at 8 p.m.
May’s “green train” was not expected until 11 p.m.
So far in her tour May has asked party faithful to join her at train stations at strange hours. A contingent in Kamloops, B.C., for example, turned up in pajamas. Now she was asking Toronto supporters to wait long into the evening.
Some grazed on buffets of pasta or sandwiches, got massages or played table hockey amid the numbered jerseys, goalie masks and trophies behind glass at the famous hockey museum.
One-time Green Party candidate and MC of the rally, Chris Tindal made May’s late arrival into political humour.
“We understand that the rail infrastructure in this country is in need of improvement,” he said earning laughs from party members; they caught his reference to the Green Party’s pledge to improve Canada’s train system.
Tindal described trains as a symbol for the Green Party’s electoral approach: less speedy than airplanes, but not at the expense of climate.
“The Green Party is not a party that’s concerned with expediency,” he said. “We’re not concerned with shortcuts. We want to make sure that we get things done right.”
May arrived closer to 11:30 p.m., clutching sunflowers. She addressed the expediency of her “limited cooperation” with Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, which prompted attempts to bar her from televised debates.
“Our participation in this election is dedicated to democracy, not partisan advantage,” she said.
She and Tindal identified their party as the originator of both the Liberal Green Shift plan and NDP platform of a cap-and-trade system, which allows carbon-conscious businesses to sell carbon “credits” to heavier polluters.
At the same time May voiced a willingness to work with “NDP or Bloc or Liberal or any new upstart parties that want to insure that there’s life on this planet in 100 years.”
May cited the tendency of Green Party politicians in Europe to ally themselves with both centre-right and leftist parties in countries such as Germany, Ireland and Bulgaria.
“You can accomplish anything you want if you don’t care who gets the credit,” she said.