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'A new kind of climate denial': May and Pedneault talk Green Party co-leadership, climate crisis

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Canadians are tired of status-quo politicians and the policies they offer, according to the Green Party of Canada’s deputy leader.

Facing the “twin crisis” of inflation and climate change, Canadians are looking for an alternative in Ottawa -- a role the Green Party could play, Jonathan Pedneault told CTV Atlantic’s Todd Battis during an interview Monday evening.

“We are a party that realizes that the environment is, at the core, is at the centre of everything,” said Pedneault. “You can’t have a solid economy with a planet that is hurting.”

Following a recent leadership contest, the Green Party of Canada re-elected Elizabeth May as leader after three years away from the job. She ran with Pedneault, and the two plan to share the top spot, but it will take a change of the party’s constitution for co-leadership to be official.

“We want to be co-leaders,” May told CTV Atlantic, with Pedneault by her side. “The members voted for us, so we know there is support for the idea.”

There are 80 countries in the world with green parties, 11 of which hold positions in government, said May.

“When I talk to my colleagues in other countries, the greens who are serving with partners in job-sharing and co-leadership highly recommended it,” said May.

Because of the climate crisis, and seeing what she says has been the “government’s failure to respond,” May said she decided to reoffer as leader, but did not want to do it alone.

Politicians can’t claim to understand the climate crisis while still building oil and gas pipelines and approving off-shore drilling, said May. It’s what she calls “a new kind of climate denial.”

“If you’re serious about the climate crisis, you have to be serious about a plan that protects livelihoods and protects our economy, but is focused on phasing out dependency on fossil fuels."

While some cost-of-living increases in Canada were sparked by the war in Ukraine, others were caused by climate events, “such as droughts in countries that used to be bread baskets,” she said.

“Canadians have been dependant for a very long time on imported food: fruits and veg from California,” said May. “Those costs are going to keep going up.”

She says Bank of Canada interest rate hikes can help curb inflation, but that will only go so far.

“They don’t touch the fact that if Madagascar gets walloped by so many typhoons that they can’t grow the vanilla beans that are in so many products; that has a real impact on food costs,” said May.

She says a federal election is unlikely until the NDP-Liberal deal ends. That sees the New Democrats propping up the Liberals until June 2025 -- just ahead of the fixed election date in October of that year -- in exchange for policy action on a suite of progressive issues.

With files from CTVNews.ca.

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