Green party Leader Elizabeth May ended her cross-country train tour in Halifax Saturday, denying reports she's urging supporters to vote strategically in a bid to unseat the Conservatives.
Ms. May stepped off a 22-car Via passenger train where she was greeted by about 80 party faithful waving green banners and chanting her name.
Ms. May, who began her retro-style whistle-stop tour last weekend, shot down suggestions she's urging party members to cast their ballot for whichever candidate can oust the Tories on Oct. 14.
"It's a non-starter," she said inside the historic train station near the Halifax waterfront. "Strategic voting just doesn't work."
Questions arose over her position after a media report said Ms. May was calling for some form of strategic voting merely to depose Stephen Harper's Conservative government.
"I won't say, 'You've got to vote Green if you believe in our policies.' I'll say, 'Here's our policies, figure out what you need to do because, frankly, the Green Party has to put progress [on climate change]and principle above short-term power,"' she told The Toronto Star last week.
"I'd rather have no Green seats and Stephen Harper lose, than a full caucus that stares across the floor at Stephen Harper as prime minister, because his policies are too dangerous."
Ms. May said at the time she was discussing problems with the first-past-the-post electoral system, insisting it allows majority governments to be elected by a minority of votes.
But her comments caused concern among some members, resulting in the party sending out an internal e-mail explaining that the leader does not endorse strategic voting as it urged them to vote Green.
"As I have said time and again, including all during this train tour, strategic voting does not make sense," she said in the statement. "On top of that, there is no possibility of a deal with any of the other parties."
John Bennett, a spokesman for the Green Party, said Saturday that he issued the clarification to assure supporters Ms. May was not sanctioning strategic voting and she is campaigning to win.
Ms. May has said she supports forming a coalition with the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc to work against the Conservatives. But she may have trouble with that strategy since NDP Leader Jack Layton has said he wouldn't meet with Ms. May.
During the campaign, Mr. Layton said he would consider a coalition with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, who quickly shot down the idea.
"Greens would want to be in that coalition too," she said.
May said she plans on spending some time in the region before returning to Ottawa to prepare for national televised election debates this coming week.
She said she'll spend much of her time before next month's vote in her Nova Scotia riding, where many don't think she stands a chance of unseating Defence Minister Peter MacKay.