For perhaps the first time ever, the Green Party of Canada has two candidates running for the NWT MP candidacy – Paul Falvo and William Gagnon. The significance of this is not lost on Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who made a stop in Yellowknife on her community matters tour.

May stops for photos with the crowd after a July 3rd town hall in Yellowknife. Emelie Peacock photo

“We’re seeing a rise in support just about everywhere,” she says. “In a lot of ridings in across Canada typically our organizers would say ‘I found someone willing to run and they’re good’, that was usually enough. ‘OK great, grab them.’ Now we’re having contested nominations with sometimes five, six, seven people.”

May says the NWT is part of this ‘palpable growth’ of the Greens across the country. With the territory being a Liberal stronghold, May says with the rule against whipped votes allows Green MPs support the issues important in their own communities.

Speaking to a full house at Northern United Place Wednesday, Green did not mince words on climate change. “There is no point in pretending that there is a continued future on this planet with a continued exploitation of fossil fuels. We have to change our systems, our expectations, our structures and our regulations and move to energy sources that aren’t going to kill us.”

Elizabeth May speaks to a full room at Northern United Place, during her community matters tour. Emelie Peacock photo

To get the NWT off carbon sources of fuel, the territory would need to be connected to an electricity grid either by building the southern grid north or building the Taltson project north. Greening and modernizing the grid across Canada is part of Mission:Possible, the Greens’ climate action plan. When the grid is connected across Canada, May says it can then move energy from areas who have an abundance to areas who are in need.

“Across the country, in steps, we can get fossil fuels out of electricity, extend the grid as a national project, then we can provide EV hook-ups and chargers so make sure that we can go off the internal combustion engine and rely on electricity for home heating and massive retrofits to buildings,” May says, conceding that the North may be one of the last places in Canada to wean off of fossil fuels.

The only way action on climate change can be accomplished, May stressed, is through non-partisan cooperation and political will. May told the crowd gathered at Northern United Place that federal MPs come post-election time will need to come together as a non-partisan cabinet to address the existential threat of climate change, the equivalent of Winston Churchill’s World War II war cabinet.

Stressing the Greens are not a one issue party, May spoke about the Greens’ plan to get rid of student debt, implement a guaranteed liveable income and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Nina, 11, asks Elizabeth May about the Green Party of Canada’s plans to tackle plastic waste. Emelie Peacock photo

One of the youngest in the audience, 11-year-old Nina, asked May about her plans to curb plastic pollution after the event.

“She said that they’re working up to banning single-use plastics and I think that’s a good choice,” Nina says, adding she wants to see support for those who will feel the squeeze with the implementation of a green new deal. “Make it as easy as possible for people who work in oil and gas industry to switch to jobs that relate to the green new deal.”

The candidate for Green Party MP for the NWT will be chosen July 10th.