If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would bet that May will lose. Maybe the Greens should opt for strategic voting and vote for the NDP candidate!
May giving MacKay 'a run for his money' TheStar.com - Federal Election - May giving MacKay 'a run for his money'
Defence minister says rival is an outsider who doesn't know riding
October 12, 2008 Sandro ContentaStaff Reporter
NEW GLASGOW, N.S.–Town crier Jim Stewart, a lifelong Conservative voter, says tradition holds him to strict public neutrality in matters of partisan politics. But if he could express his support in this election, he'd shout and clang his bell for the Green party.
He credits Green Leader Elizabeth May with changing his political stripes.
Until her candidacy in Central Nova riding, Stewart was a staunch supporter of Peter MacKay, the Conservative cabinet minister and incumbent for the past 11 years.
"I knocked on doors for his father – I campaigned for Elmer," Stewart said yesterday, referring to the elder MacKay, who won six general elections and launched what some say is a political family dynasty.
"Suddenly this dynamic lady moves into the area and she's a ball of fire, and people like her," added Stewart, 53, referring to May. "I just think it's time for a change."
Stewart made his comments in an interview after watching both candidates coincidentally bump into each other at a farmers' market.
The rivals greeted each other frostily as MacKay, holding a newly bought pumpkin, found himself leaving the moment May arrived.
Green party officials released a poll they commissioned showing MacKay supported by 36.7 per cent of those surveyed, May with 29.3 per cent, NDP candidate Louise Lorefice with 20.7 per cent and 13 per cent undecided. (The Oct. 8-9 Oracle poll of 300 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 per cent.)
May said the tight race has her Conservative rivals in a panic.
"What a leap of faith that this riding will elect me," she said in an interview. "What a leap of faith that it's even possible."
MacKay, the minister of defence, dismissed such talk as wishful thinking. In an interview, he described May – who was born in the U.S. and spent years in nearby Cape Breton and Ottawa before moving to New Glasgow – as an outsider who doesn't understand the riding.
"There's a tradition here that goes back many generations," he said.
For farmer Ed Lakenman, 56, voting MacKay is part of that tradition.
"I know Peter MacKay and my father knew Elmer. It would take something pretty dramatic for me to change my vote," Lakenman said.
But Bonnie Cotter, 49, a jewellery maker who usually votes Tory, said: "Don't get me wrong – I think Peter's a good guy. And Elizabeth May didn't convince me at first, but I'm slowly thinking I may vote her way."
Added Conservative supporter Jean-Pierre Angst, 61: "She's giving Peter MacKay a run for his money."
In 2006, more than 10,000 people in the riding voted Liberal and a key question is who they will support this time. Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion decided not to run a candidate against May since he is her choice for next prime minister.