Elizabeth May Makes Pitch To Disaffected NDP Voters

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Mighty Middle
Elizabeth May Makes Pitch To Disaffected NDP Voters

Elizabeth May is throwing her arms open to NDP voters not satisfied with either Jagmeet Singh or Justin Trudeau. The Green Party is telling those progressive voters unsure of where to go, that you have a home with an old friend, Elizabeth May.

"We are not a party that flips around looking for what’s the flavour of the day. We're quite honest about what we believe, we've done our research, we talk to people," she said.

The Green Party leader has high hopes for the upcoming federal election. She said her goal is to win seats right across the country-- and May said her party might get a big break in one province in particular.

"We could get a break in Quebec. We're looking at rising support in Quebec that's really surprising people on the ground," she said.

Between the newly formed People's Party splitting the vote on the right and because of NDP provincial governments approving controversial projects like the Site C dam, May said her party is well positioned heading into 2019.

"When you have an NDP government like Alberta's…or B.C. with John Horgan approving Site C, that turned a lot of NDP voters over to the Green Party," May said.

"With the People's Party splitting the vote on the right, I'm not the least bit worried about Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives. I think this is not their election. This is an election for greens to do extraordinarily well because the wind is in our sails from public support."

Former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair echoed May's prediction of a Green Wave washing over Canada.

"I think we might see the same sort of result we saw in the recent B.C. election where Andrew Weaver's Green Party wound up with the balance of power," he said.

"I think that Canadians might just send enough of a contingent of Green Party MPs to Ottawa this time to hold whoever would form the government… hold their feet to the fire on these environmental issues."

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/former-ndp-leader-predicts-ndp-voters-mi...

quizzical

well i'm considering voting Green. it's either not voting or going green.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

They’re too socially conservative for me. 

NorthReport

dp

NorthReport

Actually if the Greens increase their support which is unlikely it will be the Liberals that will lose support

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

To win over disaffected NDP supporters, May would have to accept internal party democracy, actively reach out to thr grassroots social movements, and offer a real critique of the consequences of market economics on the climate.

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
To win over disaffected NDP supporters, May would have to accept internal party democracy, actively reach out to thr grassroots social movements, and offer a real critique of the consequences of market economics on the climate.

If she can manage to elect more Green MPs, the first 2 of those items on your list are an inevitability.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:
To win over disaffected NDP supporters, May would have to accept internal party democracy, actively reach out to thr grassroots social movements, and offer a real critique of the consequences of market economics on the climate.

If she can manage to elect more Green MPs, the first 2 of those items on your list are an inevitability.

A strong case can be made that the reason no other Green MPs have been elected has been May's refusal to accept even those first two items.  Instead, she has focused almost entirely on maintaining her own essentially absolute authority within the party and on a pointless fixation with "respectability" that has alienated most of the people who might actually consider voting Green-and there are a lot who would, potentially-in the name of not in any offending voters her party will never win over-fiscal conservative types who still believe in "the magic of the market" and think that they're doing enough to save the planet if they have recycling baskets in their garage next to the Mercedes.

May has obsessed with looking "moderate" the whole time she has been leader.  In doing so, she has never elected any MPs other than herself.  Didn't repeating the same actions while expecting a different result use to be considered the definition of something, something we can't really refer to anymore because it would be considered ableist?

WWWTT

Sounds like she’s hard on her luck. 

Debater

NorthReport wrote:

Actually if the Greens increase their support which is unlikely it will be the Liberals that will lose support

Tom Mulcair predicts the Greens will take votes from the NDP:

Former NDP leader predicts NDP voters might look to Green Party in 2019

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/former-ndp-leader-predicts-ndp-voters-might-look-to-green-party-in-2019-1.4279603

JKR

Since we’re stuck with single-member plurality voting for the foreseeable future, should the NDP and Greens contemplate cooperating formally with each other or merging? GDP - Green Democratic Party?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The only way that could work would be some sort of electoral pact, the basically idea being that each party would not nominate a candidate-or only run a nominal campaign-in ridings where the other party was seen as stronger at some point before the election.  The problem in that, of course, is how exactly do you determine relative party strength in each riding in time to work out this sort of arrangement before the election is actually called?  And what happens, then, if the party whose candidate is given preference in each riding runs a disastrous campaign or gets caught in a compromising position with an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants doll or something else personally discrediting?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
the basically idea being that each party would not nominate a candidate-or only run a nominal campaign-in ridings where the other party was seen as stronger at some point before the election.

Would this be a bottom-up decision?  E.g. a local riding ass'n saying "we choose to have no NDP candidate this time"?  Or top-down, with the party saying "Sorry, riding, but you get no NDP candidate this time"?

I can't say I'm a fan either way; such a pact is just "strategic voting", but forced on ridings rather than being each voter's choice.

Debater

Ken Burch wrote:

or gets caught in a compromising position with an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants doll

That's a pretty bizarre image to contemplate!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

The only way that could work would be some sort of electoral pact, the basically idea being that each party would not nominate a candidate-or only run a nominal campaign-in ridings where the other party was seen as stronger at some point before the election.  The problem in that, of course, is how exactly do you determine relative party strength in each riding in time to work out this sort of arrangement before the election is actually called?  And what happens, then, if the party whose candidate is given preference in each riding runs a disastrous campaign or gets caught in a compromising position with an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants doll or something else personally discrediting?

The membership of both the NDP and the Greens on VI would be pissed. That might just be the firestorm we need to birth a real eco-socialist party.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Debater wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

or gets caught in a compromising position with an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants doll

That's a pretty bizarre image to contemplate!

I was trying to find an image that was vivid but wouldn't be a slur on any actual form of sexuality...or at least I HOPE it wouldn't...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

The only way that could work would be some sort of electoral pact, the basically idea being that each party would not nominate a candidate-or only run a nominal campaign-in ridings where the other party was seen as stronger at some point before the election.  The problem in that, of course, is how exactly do you determine relative party strength in each riding in time to work out this sort of arrangement before the election is actually called?  And what happens, then, if the party whose candidate is given preference in each riding runs a disastrous campaign or gets caught in a compromising position with an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants doll or something else personally discrediting?

The membership of both the NDP and the Greens on VI would be pissed. That might just be the firestorm we need to birth a real eco-socialist party.

Indeed-which would be the best possible outcome.  Perhaps that's why the BCNDP/BCGP government ran such a half-hearted campaign in support of pr in the referendum, and why they seemingly wrote a referendum proposal designed to guarantee the maintenance of fptp-with pr, an ecosocialist party and a genuine labour party would both emerge, and would probably wipe out the establishment center-left parties in a pr election. 

Mighty Middle

Preferred Prime Minister –

Trudeau 35.5% 

Scheer 24.9%

May 6.4%

Singh 5.9%

Bernier 3.8%

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/02/12/liberals-38-conservatives-3...

Now that Elizabeth May is AHEAD of Jagmeet Singh in this popularity poll, she is continuing her pitch to NDP voters. She rushed to the CTV studio today to discuss the Green moving ahead of the NDP for the first time. She said the NDP has "collapsed" (her word) and for those progressives looking for a "home", the Green are now the alternative. And not the NDP.

BertramPotts BertramPotts's picture

I've never not supported the NDP, but this year I'm a single issue voter and that issue is Green New Deal. Whoever gets there first will get my vote. 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Anyone in the NDP who downplays this threat should have a re-think. Even if you personally do not like May.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

But the Green Party isn't socially progressive...

Sean in Ottawa

Timebandit wrote:

But the Green Party isn't socially progressive...

It could be either in promise and presentation or in substance. At any time. The Greens see blood in the water when it comes to the NDP. They have a massive opportunity to become solidly progressive and knock the NDP out of the way.

The NDP should not rely on this not happening. The NDP is not reliably better in many ways and the Green party does have quite a few progressive planks. Denial is not protection.

The NDP should be better than it is now if it wants to stay ahead of the Greens not only in terms of electoral success but also leadership on the envirnoment and even progressive social issues. It would not shock me to see a Green jump to the left -- like the LEAP manifesto.

As well, the Green Party is a symbol. But so is the NDP right now. The substance of today is not why anyone would vote for either party when its popularity is near single digits. If you consider nobody is progressive then you might also consider a vote for the Greens as theya re at least a statement on the environment.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

My opinion - and I'd be one of the NDP supporters that they'd be angling for - is that any of the socially progressive messaging they have right now amounts to lip service. Historically, neither the GP or May have been especially concerned with the larger picture of what a progressive party is all about. I haven't heard much more than "Oh, yeah, that too..." Does not inspire confidence.

JKR

I think the Greens are not becoming more competitive because they are gaining in the polls but because the NDP is sliding in the polls.

wage zombie

Timebandit wrote:

My opinion - and I'd be one of the NDP supporters that they'd be angling for - is that any of the socially progressive messaging they have right now amounts to lip service. Historically, neither the GP or May have been especially concerned with the larger picture of what a progressive party is all about. I haven't heard much more than "Oh, yeah, that too..." Does not inspire confidence.

You're more politically informed than the soft NDP supporters they'd be going for.

NDPP

Tweedledee/tweedledumb politics.

Sean in Ottawa

Timebandit wrote:

My opinion - and I'd be one of the NDP supporters that they'd be angling for - is that any of the socially progressive messaging they have right now amounts to lip service. Historically, neither the GP or May have been especially concerned with the larger picture of what a progressive party is all about. I haven't heard much more than "Oh, yeah, that too..." Does not inspire confidence.

I don't think your level of engagement and awareness of the GP over time is representative of many voters -- particularly the ones that would be presumed to be a movable target.

Secondly, I have known progressive Greens and it is not impossible for that party to have one rise to the top who is sincere and willing to lead the party in that direction. The core principles, often neglected by the party and its leaders, are actually progressive and reading their documents shows this. the NDP is frequently not perfect on this score either.

The NDP is not prepared for the Greens to move left even though it is very likely that the next leader will since it is the best way for the party to grow itself. Never assume that membership will vote against their interest in favour of yours.

Also in chooisng between two unelectedable also rans people often send a message. The Green message for the environment is more coherent than the NDP message, whatever it is, in the eyes of most voters.

wage zombie

Soft NDP supporters who might go green:

- do not know that Elizabeth May overruled the membership on BDS

- do not know about problematic statements that Elizabeth May has made about abortion

- do not understand that it's easy for a party of one to take principled stands, and once a party has a bunch of MPs from different regions in the country, it's a different story.

BertramPotts BertramPotts's picture

Timebandit wrote:
Historically, neither the GP or May have been especially concerned with the larger picture of what a progressive party is all about.

That's the thing about history, it just keeps happening. The climate crisis and how it is addressed is going to be the defining political struggle for the rest of our lives. Right now in the year 2019, it's going to be a very real question of which party is more progressive. The Greens notably managed to have a decent Venezuala take a week before the New Democrats publically humiliated themselves before landing on the imperialist stance. 

I haven't yet reached my personal tipping point yet, there are better more progressive people in the NDP, but the leadership is simply too chickenshit to propose any policy that will get tsk tsk'd by the Globe & Mail.  I've always disdained the Greens, but they are powerfully incentized to start competing for the left. 

voice of the damned

zombie wrote:

- do not know about problematic statements that Elizabeth May has made about abortion

I remember the comments May made about her personal dislike of abortion, and how she tried to convinced a friend to go through with a pregnancy etc. To say the least, they were inappropriate, coming from a politician who was at the same time claiming to be progressive.

That said, if there is any party in Canada that would role back abortion rights, I really don't think the Greens are going to be it. The post-87 status quo survived nine years of Harper, including four with a majority. Do we really think Elizabeth May is going to turn out to the  the wild-eyed theocrat who goes where Harper never dared to tread?  

wage zombie

voice of the damned wrote:

Do we really think Elizabeth May is going to turn out to the  the wild-eyed theocrat who goes where Harper never dared to tread?  

hyperbolic straw man.  nobody is saying that.

Aristotleded24

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

My opinion - and I'd be one of the NDP supporters that they'd be angling for - is that any of the socially progressive messaging they have right now amounts to lip service. Historically, neither the GP or May have been especially concerned with the larger picture of what a progressive party is all about. I haven't heard much more than "Oh, yeah, that too..." Does not inspire confidence.

I don't think your level of engagement and awareness of the GP over time is representative of many voters -- particularly the ones that would be presumed to be a movable target.

Secondly, I have known progressive Greens and it is not impossible for that party to have one rise to the top who is sincere and willing to lead the party in that direction. The core principles, often neglected by the party and its leaders, are actually progressive and reading their documents shows this. the NDP is frequently not perfect on this score either.

The NDP is not prepared for the Greens to move left even though it is very likely that the next leader will since it is the best way for the party to grow itself. Never assume that membership will vote against their interest in favour of yours.

Also in chooisng between two unelectedable also rans people often send a message. The Green message for the environment is more coherent than the NDP message, whatever it is, in the eyes of most voters.

To give a local example, Andrew Swan is running for the NDP in Winnipeg Centre. As Justice Minister in the Manitoba NDP government, he was quite eager to take the Harper approach to locking up criminals, which disproportionately affects First Nations. If he wins the nomination, the Greens will have a solid opportunity here.

So NDP partisans can find examples of the Greens not being progressive? Green partisans can find equally valid examples about the NDP.

I agree with everything Sean says here.

voice of the damned

wage zombie wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

Do we really think Elizabeth May is going to turn out to the  the wild-eyed theocrat who goes where Harper never dared to tread?  

hyperbolic straw man.  nobody is saying that.

Well, then what is the concern about what May might do in regards to abortion?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Timebandit wrote:

But the Green Party isn't socially progressive...

Or pro-worker, or even antimilitarist.  And it's just as committed to the neoliberal austerity consensus on economics and social spending as all the other parties.  I grant May's ambition, but what would her pitch be? "Sick of the status quo?  We're not-but we use A DIFFERENT COLOR SCHEME!"

 

BertramPotts BertramPotts's picture

If they're clever their pitch will be "we support the Green New Deal" which will automatically put them to the left of the NDP on the most important economic issue of the 21 century. 

If centrist melts like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris can figure out that Green New Deal is good politics don't assume Elizabeth May (or even Justin Trudeau) won't get there too. I think Singh will get there eventually I'm just afraid it will be in the middle of an election campaign after he notices his votes are all draining away to the Greens, like when Mulcair came around for legalization. 

 

 

wage zombie

BertramPotts wrote:

The Greens notably managed to have a decent Venezuala take a week before the New Democrats publically humiliated themselves before landing on the imperialist stance. 

Agreed.

Quote:

I haven't yet reached my personal tipping point yet, there are better more progressive people in the NDP, but the leadership is simply too chickenshit to propose any policy that will get tsk tsk'd by the Globe & Mail.

There is a power struggle going on in the NDP right now between the caucus who have much more establishment views, and the leader.  Jagmeet Singh might not be as radical as I'd like, but he does seem to be much more open to listening than the previous leader was.

Helene Laverdiere might be able to get away with saying she speaks for the party, but her statement was made without the leader's signoff.  While it would be great if she were removed as foreign affairs critic, she's not running for her seat again, and at this point I can live with her being there.  And I understand that Jagmeet doesn't have much political capital (as far as leaders go), and removing Laverdiere could weaken him further.

It is not Jagmeet that is bringing this imperialist stuff to the table.  Now, an adequate response to that is that if he doesn't have control of the party then of what use is he?  And maybe that's a fair criticism.  But hopefully things will change a bit once he has a seat.

I respect your position that whoever seems better able to push Green New Deal will get your vote.  I think it will definitely be talked about in the election, as many left groups are starting to organize around it.  Jagmeet has said that the NDP will own the environment and inequality in the election and if he comes through on that I think a lot of the rough time he's had so far as leader won't matter.

Have you seen the GND document put out by Courage Coalition this week? http://www.couragecoalition.ca/a-green-new-deal-of-the-north/

BertramPotts BertramPotts's picture

wage zombie wrote:

I respect your position that whoever seems better able to push Green New Deal will get your vote.  I think it will definitely be talked about in the election, as many left groups are starting to organize around it.  Jagmeet has said that the NDP will own the environment and inequality in the election and if he comes through on that I think a lot of the rough time he's had so far as leader won't matter.

Have you seen the GND document put out by Courage Coalition this week? http://www.couragecoalition.ca/a-green-new-deal-of-the-north/

I've seen it and it is fantastic. You can see how easily a national campaign can be built around GND. 

I've been monitoring closely GND chatter in Canada and by far most of it is coming from NDP grassroots, but that is also what is making me nervous, if I can see that so can the Green Party and Liberal war rooms. 

 

NDPP

And of course the Greens are as pro-Israel as the rest of them. Not that it seems to matter much.

swallow swallow's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

To give a local example, Andrew Swan is running for the NDP in Winnipeg Centre. As Justice Minister in the Manitoba NDP government, he was quite eager to take the Harper approach to locking up criminals, which disproportionately affects First Nations. If he wins the nomination, the Greens will have a solid opportunity here.

So NDP partisans can find examples of the Greens not being progressive? Green partisans can find equally valid examples about the NDP.

I agree with everything Sean says here.

Isn't Swan running against Leah Gazan (a far superior, far more progressive, and probably even a more electable candidate)? Seems to be that the future fo the NDP rests on that sort of choice, between a regressive party hack and a grassroots activist. Not just in Winnipeg, but the nomination battle feels like a battle for the party's future across Canada. 

Aristotleded24

swallow wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

To give a local example, Andrew Swan is running for the NDP in Winnipeg Centre. As Justice Minister in the Manitoba NDP government, he was quite eager to take the Harper approach to locking up criminals, which disproportionately affects First Nations. If he wins the nomination, the Greens will have a solid opportunity here.

So NDP partisans can find examples of the Greens not being progressive? Green partisans can find equally valid examples about the NDP.

I agree with everything Sean says here.

Isn't Swan running against Leah Gazan (a far superior, far more progressive, and probably even a more electable candidate)? Seems to be that the future fo the NDP rests on that sort of choice, between a regressive party hack and a grassroots activist. Not just in Winnipeg, but the nomination battle feels like a battle for the party's future across Canada.

That's correct. Still, Swan does have the advantage of being a former Cabinet Minister in a province where the NDP completely gutted its activist flank. The constituencies with the lowest voter turnout in Manitoba in 2016 were the "safe" NDP seats.

Mighty Middle

Chantal Hebert was just on CBC and said that Elizabeth May (who is pushing for a minority Parliament) is looking to supplant the NDP as the "Conscience of Parliament. And Greens are becoming increasingly more credible on the issue of the Enviroment, than the NDP (which used to be their turf). All of which adds up to bad news for Jagmeet Singh.

Two new polls came out (Bloomberg and Nanos) where Elizabeth May is still polling higher than Jagmeet Singh in personal approval ratings.

Pondering

The environment has never been NDP turf. The Leap was rejected. I think Singh will be much better on the environment so he stands to take votes from the Greens. Maybe not. I await the campaign. 

Debater

It looks like the Greens are taking votes from the NDP.

Examples are the recent federal byelections in Nanaimo-Ladysmith & Outremont.  Green vote up in both ridings.

Greens are probably taking some Liberal votes, too.

jerrym

Debater wrote:

It looks like the Greens are taking votes from the NDP.

Examples are the recent federal byelections in Nanaimo-Ladysmith & Outremont.  Green vote up in both ridings.

Greens are probably taking some Liberal votes, too.

Probably! The NDP went down by a third, the Con vote stayed constant and the Liberals lost more than half their vote share in Nanaimo compared to the 2015 election. The fringe candidates were a non-factor. There is no probably about their losing votes to the Greens, because where else could the Liberal vote have gone.

jerrym

Mighty Middle wrote:

Chantal Hebert was just on CBC and said that Elizabeth May (who is pushing for a minority Parliament) is looking to supplant the NDP as the "Conscience of Parliament. And Greens are becoming increasingly more credible on the issue of the Enviroment, than the NDP (which used to be their turf). All of which adds up to bad news for Jagmeet Singh.

Two new polls came out (Bloomberg and Nanos) where Elizabeth May is still polling higher than Jagmeet Singh in personal approval ratings.

It's bad news for the Liberals too. They lost more than half their vote share in the Nanaimo by election, in a poll that really counts. No doubt about what their campaign will be - fear, fear, fear of the Cons about climate change and social issues so you can't vote for anybody else. The trouble is they adopted Harper's climate change targets, are already blowing past the 2020 targets, just like they did with Kyoto, and are almost certain to not make their (remember they are also Harper's) 2030 targets according to the experts. "But Liberal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, despite focusing the bulk of her statements on the 2030 commitment, has not publicly admitted that Canada won’t meet the 2020 target." (https://ipolitics.ca/2017/10/03/canada-will-miss-2020-climate-target-say...)

"Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand said neither Liberal nor Conservative governments have hit their own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target" (https://aptnnews.ca/2019/04/02/canadas-failure-to-fight-climate-change-d...)

Indigenous groups and activists are also unhappy with how little they have done funding Indigenous programs, daycare, pharmacare, you name it. Oh, I almost forgot electoral reform. You love to talk about the horse race and avoid dealing with the issues as issues, instead focusing on issues as ways of possibly increasing the Liberal vote. 

Debater

jerrym wrote:

Debater wrote:

It looks like the Greens are taking votes from the NDP.

Examples are the recent federal byelections in Nanaimo-Ladysmith & Outremont.  Green vote up in both ridings.

Greens are probably taking some Liberal votes, too.

Probably! The NDP went down by a third, the Con vote stayed constant and the Liberals lost more than half their vote share in Nanaimo compared to the 2015 election. The fringe candidates were a non-factor. There is no probably about their losing votes to the Greens, because where else could the Liberal vote have gone.

Some of the Liberal vote may also have gone to the NDP & the Cons in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

But it's not just this one riding that is involved -- remember that in Outremont, the Liberal & Green vote went up, and the NDP vote went down.

And we've also seen the same thing at the provincial level in several provinces.

Pondering

These are byelections.  Fewer people vote. More people vote on issues. I've voted Green just to send a message that the environment is important to me because I know that federally the Greens are not in a position to win more than a couple of seats. 

The NDP has stupidly never picked up the environment as an issue. It looks like Singh is changing that. Green votes could go to the NDP if the NDP makes the environment an issue. 

Mighty Middle

All four panelists on the CBC is dismissing the recent Green Party surge (including former NDP SK Finance Minister Andrew Thomson) - it is Thomson who is one of the few people to state publicly on TV that this win had more to do with Paul Manly treatment, than a Green win

Go 4:40 into video below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQmHavA43ls

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

swallow wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

To give a local example, Andrew Swan is running for the NDP in Winnipeg Centre. As Justice Minister in the Manitoba NDP government, he was quite eager to take the Harper approach to locking up criminals, which disproportionately affects First Nations. If he wins the nomination, the Greens will have a solid opportunity here.

So NDP partisans can find examples of the Greens not being progressive? Green partisans can find equally valid examples about the NDP.

I agree with everything Sean says here.

Isn't Swan running against Leah Gazan (a far superior, far more progressive, and probably even a more electable candidate)? Seems to be that the future fo the NDP rests on that sort of choice, between a regressive party hack and a grassroots activist. Not just in Winnipeg, but the nomination battle feels like a battle for the party's future across Canada.

That's correct. Still, Swan does have the advantage of being a former Cabinet Minister in a province where the NDP completely gutted its activist flank. The constituencies with the lowest voter turnout in Manitoba in 2016 were the "safe" NDP seats.

Leah Gazan ended up beating Swan for the nomination in Winnipeg Centre, for those who hadn't heard.

Mighty Middle

Chantal Hebert in Toronto Star

Emboldened by the byelection victory, May is poised to spend the months between now and the election calling on voters who are concerned with global warming to send a strong enough Green contingent to Parliament to hold the next government’s feet to the fire. Her ideal scenario would be a minority government that finds the Greens holding the balance of power, as is currently the case in the B.C. legislature.

In so doing, May is borrowing a page from the NDP handbook — claiming for the Greens the role of environmental conscience in the Commons in an era when climate change has become as defining an issue for many voters as social justice once was.

NDP veteran Svend Robinson rightly sees that as a mortal threat to his party. This week he called the byelection result a wake-up call. He is urging Singh to adopt a more aggressive climate plan, even if that puts the federal party offside with some of the economic development projects endorsed by B.C.’s NDP Premier John Horgan.

Robinson says the urgency of global warming has drawn him back into the fray after a 15-year absence. But much has changed since he resigned his federal seat in 2004 and the NDP no longer has first call on environmental activists.

It is convenient in New Democrat ranks these days to blame Singh’s uneven performance for all that ails the party, but the NDP relinquished the high ground on the environment to the Greens long before he became its leader.

In the 2008 election, Jack Layton campaigned against Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift, often using some of the same arguments as Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Layton claimed Dion’s proposed carbon tax would hurt consumers, and would be little more than a nuisance for energy producers. Like Harper’s party, his NDP was a promoter of a cap-and-trade system and a detractor of carbon taxes.

Layton’s successor was initially a fan of the Energy East pipeline.

“It's a win-win to bring (bitumen oil) from west to east. It’s better prices for the producers and therefore more royalties for the producing provinces. It’s better energy security for Canada and it's more jobs here,” Thomas Mulcair told Canadian Press about Trans Canada’s now defunct project in a 2014 interview.

Like Trudeau, the NDP spent the last election campaign not explicitly promising to nix Energy East, but committing instead to an overhaul of the regulatory process that leads to the approval of new pipelines.

For as long as the New Democrats had a credible shot at federal power, they did not need to spend too much time looking over their shoulders for the then-distant Green Party. As recently as four years ago, May was little more than a dot in Mulcair’s rearview mirror.

From the NDP’s perspective, it was good politics to campaign on being more committed to climate change than the other main parties without scaring off voters who favoured a middle course between energy and the environment.

But now May is breathing down the NDP’s tired neck and moves made by Singh’s immediate predecessors are coming back to haunt his party.

The NDP can only hope that its survival as a vital force in the next House of Commons does not depend on it beating the Greens to the climate-change punch next fall.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2019/05/10/greens-are...

Debater

How much should Scheer’s Conservatives be counting on vote-splitting on the centre left?

Adam Radwanski

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-how-much-should-scheers-conservatives-be-counting-on-vote-splitting/

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