Thursday, April 12, 2007

Libs won't run candidate against May

Canadian Press is reporting Stephane Dion has decided not to run a candidate against Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in Central Nova. The Greens also won't run someone against Dion in St. Laurent-Cartierville, and May reportedly will “essentially endorse” Dion for PM, CP reports.

Wow. I'm not too sure yet how I feel about this. A first thought is I don't like the fact we won't be running candidates in every riding across Canada. We've always prided ourselves on being a national party, at times (arguably) the only truly national party out there. And I have to wonder how the Liberal riding association in Central Nova feels about this. How are Green Party activists going to react?

There's lots of reasons as a politico to be wary of this thing. But the larger question is how will regular Canadians outside the Ottawa bubble view it? Will it be seen as political opportunism? I know that's how the Cons (and I'd wager particularly the NDP) will be spinning it. But is it? I'm not so sure. Certainly it gives May a boost in Central Nova, though she still faces an uphill battle. I don't think the Greens were going to take many votes in Dion's riding, which he won handily, so little gain there. The gain for the Liberals will be in the May endorsement, whatever form that may take.

While both sides gain though I don't think you can call it opportunism. At least, not in the negative connotation that you'd be implying. Certainly not if the goal is real, meaningful action on the environment and green issues.

To that end, I'd say if we're going to do this we should go big or go home. Follow-up with a jointly developed environmental policy platform, a Green Book if you will, that both parties will take to the people of Canada and say here is why we're working together, this is what we want to accomplish.

This move has the potential to be a harbinger of a new more cooperative style of politics, and could resonate with Canadians...but only if, I think, it is followed-up with substantive policy action. Hopefully that will be part of the official announcement, or will be soon to come.

Still digesting all this though, will wait for the official news with interest.

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19 comments:

Dennis (Second Thoughts) said...

Well, I guess I'm one of those predictable conservatives who absolutely thinks this deal is opportunistic, and say so on my blog.

I think it stinks.

She would have never chosen this riding without at least an implicit understanding that the Libs would back off.

As for some kind of green coalition, it's not going to work. You have political parties in Canada for a reason — because people in them believe in the same things.

If May wants to be a Liberal, she could have chosen to be one.

Instead, I think this is confusing, especially to members of both parties. I don't remember either leader getting a mandate for this.

I think it's cynical and a head-scratcher. More confused messaging from the both of them.

Mushroom said...

Replacing Peter McKay as the next Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada, Elizabeth May the future MP of Central Nova.

It has been done before when German Green Party leader Joschka Fischer was the Foreign Minister under a Social Democrat-Green coalition.

I wait with bated breath for this.

Jeff, is this going big enough for ya?

Scott Tribe said...

If this move led to May winning and getting rid of McKay.. I'm sure most of us will get over the so-called disappointment of only running in 307 ridings.

This is one riding where the progressive vote getting split enable Mckay to win.. so I dont mind this one bit.

BlastFurnace said...

While my preference would be for a Liberal majority, I could live with a Red-Green coalition. Even the presence of Green Party members in the place of Conservatives would be welcome. I wish May the best of luck; although I would prefer to see some kind of alliance arrangement for all districts, not just two, where each party decides where to run in return for a promise of support from the other.

It may be unprecedented in Canada, but it certainly isn't in the UK. Back in 1997, Labour and the Liberal Democrats stepped aside so that BBC reporter Martin Bell could run as an independent against a controversial Conservative candidate -- and he won handily. And before that, the Social Democrats and the Liberals (who later merged into the Lib Dems) ran a joint ticket during much of the 1980s.

generalmoron said...

Sweet. I hope this creates a mental association with Dion and the Greens in Canadians mind...

Most Canadians don't take the Greens seriously and see them as a fringe party... Some Canadians also don't take Dion seriously and see him as overly left/environmental.

This wont help that image.

FurGaia said...

Canadian Press is reporting Stephane Dion has decided not to run a candidate against Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in Central Nova. The Greens also won't run someone against Dion in St. Laurent-Cartierville ...

Good for Dion & May!

Layton's response: "Does not compute."

knb said...

generalmoron, you do live up to your name, I'll give you that.

Most Canadians don't take May seriously, or the Greens seriously? Where the hell have you been living this past year?

dennis:She would have never chosen this riding without at least an implicit understanding that the Libs would back off. Ha! If that is going to be the counter, you have deluded yourself. There was NO deal when she chose. You do know that in order to make that claim, you must have fact to support it. Hunches don't qualify.

Jeff, I was a little uneasy to weigh in at first, but the more I think about it, the more I think it's a good move. You're right, it takes politics to a different place, which is what Dion said he would do and so did May for that matter.

Opportunistic, no, pragmatic, yes.

Gayle said...

Perhaps it is time for the "left" to realize the best way to rid this country of Harper is to make moves like this. When I visit liberal blogs I see some of them have a photo of Layton on their sidebar - thanking him for giving us Harper. Aside from the fact I think you can place some of the responsibility on the past corruption in the liberal party for that one, I also believe both parties are guilty of splitting the vote and allowing the conservatives to come up the middle.

It is a new world, and all centrist and left leaning people in this country have a common foe in Harper. The notion that not running someone in each riding will hurt the party really only offends the most entrenched party faithful. For those of us who are not members of your party, but want your party to defeat Harper, this is a positive step.

Personally I would like the liberals and NDP to do the same thing in a couple of ridings in Edmonton - which would give each of them one of the ridings, meaning two less for Harper.

Luke said...

The average Canadian citizen has only one true power to affect change - we get to vote for the party we choose.

Lobbying the government may be ineffecitve. All the petitions in the world cannot force the government to do anything. The government can (and does) overturn court rulings.

Now, Dion and May are trying to reduce that power.

If they want to avoid splitting the vote, they should merge and run under one platform. Instead, they're going to divide the ridings and run under different platforms in different ridings, depending on what's more popular there.

These are the people who are supposed to be defending our democracy.

biff said...

Could Dion look more like a radical left wing one issue policy freak.

He's not some guy marching out with a 'save the trees' banner in some parade,

he's trying to be a leader of the country.

I knew Dion was desperate, but this is just getting rediculous.

And if I was a loyal Green (Liberal) party supporter who's toiled away for the party for years, I would be so freakin peeved.

Apparantly there's no need for the Green party any more, so says May, the Libs' policies are just fine.

And to the NS libs, most have likely worked their fingers to the bones for the Libs, election after election, man, that's gotta hurt.

biff said...

knb,

do you know what the word "most" means?

Do the greens have a single seat?

Do the greens poll at 50%, or 40, or 30 or 20? How 'bout 8%, on a good day, a real good day.

Oh, and they typically vote worse than they poll. People like to feel all good when they answer the phone questioner, but when push comes to shove most get serious.

So we're looking at about 95% of the population, not supporting the Greens.

Ie.........most.

Kai_Wolf said...

Many Liberals are spinning this into some sort of masterful chess move by Dion. However, this is a massive case of wishful thinnking.

Dion has just suceeded in pissing off the Central Nova Riding Association. Do you think telling those people who stumped for your Party, knocked on doors in miserable weather, countless hours on the phone, "thanks for nothing" is somehow going to HELP you? How can he not think that this will not piss off other Riding Associations, knowing that they too can be just as expendable if Dion deems it?

Now instead of a chance at that riding, they are guaranteed NO chance. And even that sacrifice might be in vain, because MacKay could still very well win again.

As I've said at the top of my post, many Liberals think this is a great move. However, clearly, Dion is playing checkers when he should be playing chess. Way to piss of the grassroots you're supposed to be courting Dion. Can you hear the sound of Liberal membership cards being ripped in Central Nova as we speak?

Cerberus said...

Jeff:

There is a knot in my stomach. My heart is very heavy that the Liberal Party of Canada, the party that has run this country for 80 of the last 111 years, would decide to sacrifice and give up on the vote of a single Canadian for some political advantage.

My long-winded rant is up at Cerberus.

But Liberals have to speak up about this. This is not right. It may not be opportunism but it is not right on so many fundamental grounds.

Jason Cherniak said...

I think that would be taking it much too far. We are saying that we think May should be in Parliament and she is saying that she thinks Dion should be PM. No need to be seen as joining some sort of coalition with the party, which includes many nuts.

Bloggawa said...

Since when did it become the Elizabeth May Party rather than the Green Party?

The goal should be to get a Green MP into parliament, not get "May" in (sure--get May in, so she can finish the job by crossing the floor and joining the Liberals.)

For any good to come out of such a deal for the Greens (i.e. a reasonable hope of gaining a seat in parliament), their fearless leader ought to have run in a riding where the party stands a snowball's chance of winning a seat, assuming the Libs would even be willing to step aside under those conditions--or better yet, have the Libs step aside and let one of the longstanding, loyal, quality Green candidates (and there are a few) run in that riding. There were several ridings where the Greens did quite well in the last election. Central Nova was not one of them!

Say what you will, but the optics are bad. This looks very much like May cynically carpetbagging the Greens in order to boost the Liberals.

Saskboy said...

Biff, you do realize that MOST Canadians don't support any particular party for government? Only about 66% vote, and all parties run at under 40% support from voters.

Cameron W said...

I'm enjoying reading the thoughts about this on the blogosphere. Earlier today I made my own blog post on this development. It certainly is big news.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

I agree with this Red-Green thing, but those like Cerberus who disagree should blame Fuddle Duddle: it was all his idea!

Even by Fuddle's standards, this time he's especially full of Duddle. Right after May became leader he proposed that Liberals vote for her so she could get into the House. Quote (and note Fuddle's typically snide dismissal of of sitting Liberal MP Roger Cuzner): "Demiurge a dit...Whatever, I'm sure Antonio wants to see May in so badly that he is sticking to his guns and is calling for progressive Liberals to vote for her in Cape Breton. Antonio a dit...I do. Any woman who says the Liberal Budget in 2005 was the Greenest in Canadian history is someone
I can work with. I'm sure we can keep Roger Cuzner somewhat occupied. Besides, la rumor mill tells me its Dingwall's old seat. Yay LIBERAL NOSTALGIA!"
http://fuddle-duddle.blogspot.com/2006/08/may-day-may-day.html

Gee, I wonder why, when Fuddle proposes a red-green coalition, it's right, but when Dion does it, it's wrong. Why Fuddle uses Con attack lines to attack his own leader? Could it be that Fuddle is:
a) Not Very Smart?
b) A Dick?
c) Against "Tous ensemble"?
d) A Bad Loser & A Bad Liberal?
e) All of the Above?

Answer: e.

The complete text of Fuddle's post is below. I'm sure M. Dion wouldn't
mind giving him credit for the idea.

27 août 2006
MAY DAY MAY DAY
The Green Party has elected a charismatic leader with more credibility on the environment than the Liberals and the NDP put together.

We have to get Elizabeth May elected into the House of Commons. The Green Party has always got the short end of the Canadian political
stick because it is not recognized by the Mainstream Media as a
credible alternative to the four other parties.

In terms of getting results for the environment, the Green Party could
do much more than the NDP, hell, they are the experts. I don't really like one issue parties all that much, but given the Liberal track record on the environment, I think our party could use a swift kick in the ass on the environment.

Elizabeth May will get results for everyone if we just give her a
chance. Her tireless work in the pro-environment lobby has given her
the expertise. There is only one riding smart enough to accomplish the job, smart enough to understand how important it is for the Canadian
political discourse to elect Canada's first Green Party member.

Ottawa Centre, currently held by the NDP, is a riding filled with two extremes, hill staffers, and people who cant stand hill staffers. Their spirit helped elect Ed Broadbent when others thought it was impossible to defeat Richard Mahoney (cough!) Nobody will cry over the loss of Paul Dewar, and the green voters, about 5% of the voting population will finally get their voice into Parliament. I have to ask all NDP voters in the riding to park their vote with the Greens in that riding, just this once.

par / by Antonio à / at 15:44
3 Commentaires:

Christopher Young a dit...

Hum, Antonio, she just announced she would run in Cape-Breton.

And before running in Ottawa Centre, I think a Vancouver seat
would be easier for her to win.

And, anyway, Canada's Green Party isn't that green : Both Sierra
Club and Greenpeace gave us better environnmental scores than the
greens.

Still, it can only get better with May instead of Harris.
8/28/2006 8:48 AM

Demiurge a dit...

Whatever, I'm sure Antonio wants to see May in so badly that he is
sticking to his guns and is calling for progressive Liberals to vote
for her in Cape Breton.
8/29/2006 1:45 AM

Antonio a dit...

I do

Any woman who says the Liberal Budget in 2005 was the Greenest in
Canadian history is someone I can work with.

I'm sure we can keep Roger Cuzner somewhat occupied.

Besides, la rumor mill tells me its Dingwall's old seat. Yay
LIBERAL NOSTALGIA!

8/30/2006 3:17 AM

Blogging Horse said...

tdDion has yet to answer this question:

"If your goal is to defeat Harper, and you are willing to concede to a party that has no seats, doesn't it make sense to not run candidates against the NDP and the Bloc in the seats they actually hold?"

Dion's teetering credibility now rests on his answer.