Murray Dobbin has a big long interview with Elizabeth May on rabble today...worth a read!
MD: I want to explore the persistent controversy around the idea of co-operating with the NDP. It is pretty well established that Jack Layton and the NDP have simply refused to talk to you. Ironically that makes it much easier for you to occupy the moral high ground without actually having to publicly offer anything substantive. So would the Green Party be prepared to leave some ridings uncontested to assist the NDP if the NDP were willing to reciprocate -- details aside?
EM: Given that we did so in the leadership courtesy agreement in 2008 with Dion, and did not run a Green against Independent Bill Casey, we have shown a willingness to consider such efforts. I would take any proposal for cooperation to the party council, but, as you point out, first we have to have something to talk about.
MD: In the 2006 election well over half the Green candidates were chosen by party headquarters. How many Green candidates for the next election will actually be chosen by riding associations?
EM: Our political director thinks it will likely be fewer than 70 appointed, but she stresses that our "appointments" are really more "acclamations" as they generally come from a local area, but without an established Electoral District Association. For many reasons, we try to keep the candidate search local and, only very rarely, have what we call a "right to vote Green" candidate (otherwise called a "paper candidate.")
In the 2006 and 2008 elections there was no strategy that said getting the leader elected was more important than getting any one of a group of 10 or 20 other candidates elected. But in the fall of 2008 and into the spring of 2009 the party decided to ask me to be prepared to move with the idea being we have to put our strongest candidate, which turned out to me as leader, into a riding where the voters are most willing to be somewhat mobile in their allegiance. And that was Saanich-Gulf Islands.
MD: There have been rumours that the party is really struggling financially -- will you have the resources to run a national campaign given that your priority is to win your seat? Or will your resources be focused on your strongest ridings?
EM: We, like the other opposition parties, have debt from the 2008 campaign. In the last year, we have paid off more than $1.4 million and have a little less than a million to be repaid. We are trying to accelerate that debt repayment in order to be ready for the next election. We have every intention of running a strong national campaign, focus on winning in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and help in a number of targeted ridings across Canada.
MD: You have said you entered politics because you wanted to help get rid of Stephen Harper. So if someone who shared that goal -- who desperately wanted to see Stephen Harper defeated -- and they asked you why should I vote Green, what would you say?
EM: If people feel when they go to the polls why should I vote for you, you're not gong to be government, then my choices are only voting for Harper or voting for Ignatieff. The pressure to vote strategically just reduces voter turn out. If you feel sick when you leave the polling booth you are less likely to come back the next time and vote the right way -- or to vote for anyone the next time.
If we ask why should you vote Green, in a system where we are manifestly unhappy with the results and the results are too many elections, too close together, just to get one minority government over another. If that's the way you feel, and you like our policies and you like the direction we would take the discussion within this country then you ought to vote for what you want.