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Green Party leader Elizabeth May, MP-elect for Saanich-Gulf Islands, laughs during a news conference in Sidney, B.C., on Tuesday May 3, 2011. May defeated Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn in Monday's federal election to become the first Green Party candidate elected to Parliament in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, MP-elect for Saanich-Gulf Islands, laughs during a news conference in Sidney, B.C., on Tuesday May 3, 2011. May defeated Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn in Monday's federal election to become the first Green Party candidate elected to Parliament in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Gary Mason

Elizabeth May: Blue skies smiling at me Add to ...

Deep down, even Stephen Harper is probably happy for Elizabeth May. You'd have to be a complete ogre not to be.

The irrepressible Green Party Leader's victory on Monday was the feel-good story of the federal election. Ms. May is the Molly Brown of Canadian politics: Nothing can keep her down. Now we're guaranteed at least four more years of her insistent smile and full-throated laugh.

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Four more years of her earnest, incessant haranguing, too.

A lot was made at the start of the campaign about Ms. May's exclusion from the televised leaders debates. She was so outraged, she took the matter to court - and lost. Lucky she did - lose, that is. She might not have otherwise won on Monday.

Ms. May's decision to focus most of her party's attention and resources on her efforts to unseat Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn in Saanich-Gulf Islands is widely credited for her victory. For sure, she did a lot less travelling outside the riding during this campaign compared with 2008. A 2,000-strong armada of volunteers also helped deliver her triumph.

But she benefited mostly from the broadcast consortium's decision to bar her from the leaders debates. While there were some who agreed with the decision because Ms. May's party didn't have a seat in the House of Commons, there were many more Canadians who thought she deserved to be included because her party had received more than 900,000 votes in the last election and was running a candidate in every riding.

It looked as if the old boys were trying to prevent the smart, feisty female head of the Greens from possibly embarrassing or upstaging the male heads of the other parties. And that offended Canadians' sense of fairness and justice. Ms. May rode that indignation to victory.

So what now?

Having a seat in the House will certainly help Ms. May better promote her party's policies. She now has access to microphones and notepads in a way she didn't before. But I wouldn't get my hopes up too much if I were her. It's doubtful the Ottawa press corps will seek out her views and opinions on every issue of the day. Nor should it.

Ms. May heads a political party of one. A party, we should add, that received 4 per cent of the popular vote - down from the last election. Ms. May blames this on the fact she wasn't included in the debates. More likely, it was due to the fact that her party's energies were concentrated almost exclusively in her riding at the expense of the rest of the country.

Regardless, Ms. May will undoubtedly feel aggrieved the first time she's snubbed by the CBC's Terry Milewski. But she'll get used to it. Just like she will the screaming in Question Period that she's vowed to eradicate.

You have to admire the sentiment, naive as it may be. People have been trying to do something about the zoo known as QP for decades. The level of concern has risen as the degree of decorum in the chamber has plummeted. The heckling is often worse when one party has a majority and feels it can do anything it pleases.

Only when women have control of the front benches of Canada's political parties will the childishness and petty name-calling begin to subside. For her part, Ms. May has said she won't stand to talk if anyone's heckling. We'll see how well that works.

The Tory majority won't be much fun for Ms. May. The Conservatives couldn't be more at odds with the Greens' environmental agenda. It also doesn't help that the environment has been fading as a major public policy issue in the past couple of years, allowing the Conservatives to ignore it even more.

But that'll be for Ms. May to worry about another day. For now, she's just looking forward to her first day in the House. "They won't be able to shut me down or shut me out," she says. If she ever gets a chance to speak, that is.

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