Paper candidacy of Elizabeth May’s daughter angers Quebec mayor

Canada Politics
Canada's Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Green Party candidate in Berthier-Maskinongé, Que., is not being welcomed warmly by the mayor of the riding where she is running.

Considering Victoria Cate May Burton, daughter of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, doesn’t reside there and has never visited, certainly doesn’t help her cause either.

“It’s like an insult and I don’t want to see her here,” Louiseville Mayor Yvon Deshaies told Yahoo Canada News through a translator. “It’s like a big battle and she doesn’t want to be here for the people. I’m upset and enraged about it. It’s a real joke.”

May Burton, who wasn’t immediately available for comment, was quoted by French media as saying that there was “no one particular reason” she chose to run in the riding and that she did not know much about the district.

She also said she wouldn’t be campaigning in the riding since she is busy supporting her mother during the federal election and would be with her during the entire campaign. There is no trace of her candidacy online and a recently published newspaper profile of the Mount Saint Vincent University student mentioned that she would not be following in her mother’s footsteps.

The move to run as a so-called paper candidate is not a new one for the region, where a then unknown Ruth Ellen Brosseau won the riding in 2011 for the NDP. Without any campaigning she still managed to get elected.

Peter Loewen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, says that’s because people primarily vote for a party rather than a candidate. He stresses however, that candidates can matter too.

“Paper candidates can win if the leader is strong enough,” he says. “Candidates who are locally notable or who have done a lot of service in Parliament matter for elections.”

Loewen says the move to run May’s daughter in the riding of Berthier-Maskinongé may have been done for publicity, particularly since Brosseau is high profile. But he also notes that the Greet Party, which currently has two seats in Parliament, isn’t known for its strength.  He says its purpose is to elect Elizabeth May and deputy leader, Bruce Hyer.

“The purpose of that party is not to be competitive in 100 constituencies, so it’s not surprising that they pepper the country with paper candidates. They’ve always done that,” he says.

A representative for the Green Party confirmed that May Burton was running in the riding but was unable to arrange an interview with her.