Whither the Elizabeth May Party?

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Slumberjack

You managed to keep yours though.

Wilf Day

Stockholm wrote:
I think its just that people under 25 tend to have very very low levels of political literacy and they confuse the question "Which party would you vote foir?" with "What's your favourite colour?"

I suppose pollsters and/or social psychologists have studied which words have the most positive connotations. "Green" is surely one. "Reform" is pretty good too. "Going forward" must have scored high at one time, before it became so incredibily overused. (Just as well the NDP didn't change its name to the "Going Forward Party."

Is there a website with a ranking of positive words somewhere?

Wilf Day

MUN Prof. wrote:
What did E-May "demand" in her pact with the Liberals other than her own skin? Did she "demand" PR in exchange for her tacit endorsement of Liberal candidates on the eve of the 2008 election?

I don't know. She should at least have gotten some kind of acknowledgement that the issue be dealt with.

It was, for sure, a touchy topic to bring up in the coalition negotiations. The obvious Green line would have been: "The majority of voters voted for the Liberals, NDP or Green Party. Given proportional representation, the Coalition wouldn't be in the position of having to rely on the Bloc. So the Coalition should be willing to introduce PR at a very early date." (Indeed, one of Jack Layton’s objectives in the 2008 election campaign was, as he put it, "the very early implementation" of proportional representation.) The Bloc voters elected 49 MPs when their vote share entitled them to 28.

But asking the Bloc to support cutting their own throats overnight was less than a practical option. Their line is always "PR, yes, but not just yet."

ottawaobserver

Pogo wrote:

I have trouble getting mad at progressives exercising their rights in a system that is rigged.

Please note: I have ALWAYS said the Greens can run if they want to, and I've never EVER criticized citizen for how they choose to cast their ballots.  I have been critical of the strategies this incarnation of the Green Party has chosen to pursue, wherein it allowed itself to be made a patsy of the Liberal Party which had altogether different motives.

And E.Me's hate-on for a man with better environmental credentials and a better record of achievements of the environment than she could ever hope for, was just so counterproductive.  She's a narcissist who just thoroughly wasted her time at the top of that party.  And I won't be sorry to see her go.

Debater

David Young wrote:

As a resident of South Shore-St, Margaret's, I can for certain that in the 2008 Election, the Green Party candidate's presence allowed the re-election of a Conservative.

Maybe one of the NDP's slogans in the next campaign should be 'A VOTE FOR GREEN IS A VOTE FOR BLUE!'

That would look good on a T-shirt, eh?

There's no way of knowing for sure whether the Green Party is what helped Gerald Keddy keep his seat.  But there will be another opportunity for the NDP in that riding in the next election.

I think it will be Gordon Earle's last shot at taking down Keddy though - Earle has run multiple times now and he has to win next time.

nicky

The sad fact is that many voters have no idea who is a contender in their ridings. That is why Liberal scare tactics have sometimes pried votes away from the second place NDP to the third place Liberals allowing the Cons to slip through. This ignorance  also helps the Greens, even though they are really only in contention in a couple of seats. If voters actually understood that voting Green splits the vote and elects the least environmentalist candidate the Green vote would plummet.

We read repeatedly on Babble that voting Green has no effect on the outcome because :

1) Green voters would not otherwise vote

2) the Greens draw their vote proportionately from all other parties.

This of course is nonsense. Polls in the last election on Green second preferences  divided approximately 50% for the NP, 25% for the Liberals and only 10% for the Cons. The demographics of the Green vote also least resembles those of the Conservative vote.

It is very easy to look at the results of the last three elections and identify about a doen seats in each where a Consevative MP was elected because the Greens siphoned off ant-Conservative votes.

The Greens received 6.8% in the last elction. The scary part for me is that polls showed them at up to 11% at some points in the campaign. Had the Greens managed to maintain that support they surely would have deliverred a majority to Harper, and likely without delivering a single Green MP.

In effect the Greens just remove 7% of the vote from the equation. 38% for the Conservatives out of 93% is a lot bigger than 38% out of 100.

 

KenS

I'm with OO on this. I have too strong a belief in the benefits of pluralism to argue against Greens vigorously pursuing as many votes as they can get, or to bemoan the effects of that.

But since I think there is a fundamentally better choice- NOT just a 'good enough choice more likely to win'- then I can at the same time not wish the Green party and its activists well, and regret the votes drawn off.

I make arguments here to point out to Green supporters that they are getting a raw deal, for the reasons OO has outlined. In other words, making a case from their point of view, not mine. A big reason I can do that is because I'd never stand for a similar dynamic in the NDP. The fact that I wouldn't support the Green party even if it was run effectively does not effect the merits of the case I make. [Whence the reminder, 'dont shoot the messenger'.]

I also do whatever I can bend by mend towards to make the NDP better, and that includes criticising here what I see as underachieving in what is offered to the public. The fact I also make vigorous defense of the NDP as it is, and detail why, is no grounds for criticism that I don't devote my attention to making the NDP more appealing. Naked straw person. And ditto for my criticisng the Green party.

KenS

And I'd like to point out that its disingenuous bunk to make implications about the arguments of others because they are acknowledged partisans and you are not. In the first place, not being a member of a party does not in itself mean that you are not a partisan.

But more to the point, the more inclusive point: whether or not they are a partisan supporter, most political junkies have a stake in their position every bit as strong as that of explicit partsisans.

KenS

If you want to delve into arcane discussions of what the GPC constitution requires and allows:

http://sudburysteve.blogspot.com/2009/12/constitutional-tecnhicalities-of.html

http://sudburysteve.blogspot.com/2009/12/addendum-to-constitutional.html

 

And if you want gruesome details of the astounding sums that have been spent while Elizabten May runs here then there, etc: 

http://reportongreens.blogspot.com/2009/11/rumors-piggy-banks-and-guest.html [and follow the links back]

 

Then there is the long running dynamic where even in the choice of what riding and region she moves her campaign to next, she has never made winning the singular focus that she demands and gets from the Green party. But thats another can of worms, and one that has been much discussed here each time May plays the game of "where will I run?"

madmax

Lots of talk and bitterness. It appears Chantel column hit the nail on the head.

Latest Ekos Poll has Green Party ahead of the NDP in Quebec.  

KenS

I was looking for a wrap-up comment I made on those blogs, realized that it is in yet another one: http://sudburysteve.blogspot.com/2009/12/for-me-ends-do-not-justify-means.html

Since the wole thing is long and repetitive, I'll post that summarizing comment of mine:

 

Quote:
Ken Summers said...

Boil down all the exegisese of the Constitution and by-laws and here is what I see:

[1] I agree that a 'virtual' Special General Meeting for the purposes of changing the leadership election rules seems to be allowed. And respecting the expressed opinions to the contrary, that it doesn't seem to violate the spirit.

[2] That said. There are two very big problems to having said virtual meeting and vote on changing the by-laws. First is the amount of notification time required. But most of all: that the 'floor' will be open for any number of alternative motions. Plus the fact that the virtual format will not make it possible to have such a complex disussion.

In other words, following the requirements of the by-laws, a virtual meeting and vote will just not be workable. It's guaranteed chaos, followed by an outcome that cannot be predicted and could easily be very undesirable to just about everyone... simply because there isn't a means of discussion for weighing all the options.

My prediction: Council will pass a recomendation from the inner sanctum for a process that ignores the by-laws [of course with a baseless fig leaf constitutional rationale applied].

There will be only the one sponsored motion put to the mail-in ballot vote of a Special General Meeting.

The motion will replace the existing leadership election process with a new one. Violating all common sense about organizational health, let alone the letter and spirit of by-laws, the discussion that goes into the proposed new leadership election process has or is being carried out among a very narrow group.

A thin veneer of democracy will be applied by having pro and con position papers go out to the members with the announcement of the motion and the Special General Meeting.

KenS

The current "discussions" in the GPC about when to hold the leadership vote are exemplary of the progressive degeneration into the the personality cult of the Elizabeth May Party.

The GPC gives the leader a fixed 4 year term and has a new race every 4 years. So the next leadership election has to be in 2010. The reasons for this are rooted in how Greens want to do politics. Its no whim.

Of course, no one knew we were entering the era of perpetual minority governments, where the next election might be any time. No one denies that makes problems for the 4 year fixed terms. That said, they have a scheduled BGM [essentially, a Convention] in August, and it is a simple matter to make provisions for postpoining the leadership race in the very unlikely event there is an election.

Nor is May having to concurrently campaign for the leadership while focusing on winning in SGI an obstacle. She doesn't have to actively campaign for the leadership to win. Whatever she says and from wherever will get FAR more disseminated than will the message of any competitor stumping the country. She's got endless amounts of time to react to not doing well in the Monk debates by reading every single one of the thousands of 'climategate' hacked emails, blogging countless hours on that, and jetting off to Copenhagen where she will be invisible. She demands and gets from the party that everything they do is focused on winning her a seat, but makes no such commitment herself. She's got time to write a couple position papers for a GPC leadership race.

There are lots of valid arguments against the GPC having a leadership race as now required, as there are equally compelling substantive arguments to have one on scedule [let alone the issues of observing the GPC constitution]. But none of those matter.

The only thing that matters is that Elizabeth May has reasons to not want a leadership vote right now. Not least of which is that even if shes virtually guaranteed to be re-elected as Leader, a light will be shone on the internal workings of the party that she and her cotteries have so far managed to keep a lid on.

Even for less touchy organizational issues than finding a way around the Constitution there is very little transperency in GPC decision making. There is a bare minimum of dissent on the governing Council, and those who raise questions do so while being totally in the dark. For the May cotterie the fact that Council is guaranteed in the end to approve what they want is not sufficient. They keep the discussion of the real decision making to an even more limited circle.

So the proposal for how to delay the leadership vote indefinitely came from the Campaign Committee. No matter that it is a tight group around the staff and Leader, and that it has no role and should have none in internal governance.

The minutes from the Council meeting where the proposal was apparently approved came out 10 days later, and people still are not sure exactly what happened... except that there will be some kind of motion for removing the 4 year Leader term, which will be put to a presumanly mail-in ballot vote in some kind of "Special General Meeting".

Discussions of what governing constitutions and by-laws allow get arcane in any party. But the long and short of those discussions is that it is highly unlikely that the GPC can in a short enough time have a workable vote for changing the leadership election, that also follows what the bylaws require.

No surprise there, in no organization could you suddenly change the fundamental rules of the game without heedlessly ignoring the by-laws. And its not like this is an emergency. Let alone that they just had a BGM in February. Everything we know now was apparent then.

Nor is it as the May cotterie presents it, simply a matter of delaying this leadership vote- which on the face of it sounds reasonable. The existing requirements for a leadership race have to be wholy removed from the constitution and by-laws ... which in turn means they have to be replaced by new rules for all leadership elections. Anywhere else you would think a thorough discussion is called for to weigh the different options. But there is absolutely zero discussion of that.

I'm sure I'm not alone in predicting that the May cotterie will just ram through the motion they want and put it to a plebiscite vote- by-laws be damned, and discussion of the crucial issues be dammned.

Yep, thats doing politics different alright.

ottawaobserver

nicky wrote:

If voters actually understood that voting Green splits the vote and elects the least environmentalist candidate the Green vote would plummet.

I don't think most voters think the same way that political junkies do, so I'm not sure I agree with you on that one.

nicky wrote:

We read repeatedly on Babble that voting Green has no effect on the outcome because :

1) Green voters would not otherwise vote

2) the Greens draw their vote proportionately from all other parties.

This of course is nonsense. Polls in the last election on Green second preferences  divided approximately 50% for the NP, 25% for the Liberals and only 10% for the Cons. The demographics of the Green vote also least resembles those of the Conservative vote.

Nicky, I think the percentages you cite relate to findings about where current Green supporters would GO ... not where 2008 Green voters came FROM.  It's easy to assume those two things are the same, but in fact they're not necessarily, and that has some strategic implications.  More below ...

nicky wrote:

It is very easy to look at the results of the last three elections and identify about a doen seats in each where a Consevative MP was elected because the Greens siphoned off ant-Conservative votes.

You assume that all those people actively voted FOR the Green party.  But in fact, if you look at the movements in the raw vote, you will see that there are a lot of cases where the previous Green supporters had already moved somewhere else, and the new Green votes were most often disaffected Liberals.  Because so many Liberal voters stayed home, or switched to the Green party or Conservative party, you can't just look at movements in the parties' vote shares and assume that they moved to each other when turnout also dropped at the same time.  The drop in turnout could have come proportionately more from one party's supporters than another's.

If you still disagree, name the seats and we'll take a closer look.

nicky wrote:

The Greens received 6.8% in the last elction. The scary part for me is that polls showed them at up to 11% at some points in the campaign. Had the Greens managed to maintain that support they surely would have deliverred a majority to Harper, and likely without delivering a single Green MP.

In effect the Greens just remove 7% of the vote from the equation. 38% for the Conservatives out of 93% is a lot bigger than 38% out of 100.

I disagree with the second paragraph.   Examining detailed results leads to different conclusions.  I do think the aura of electability is key to other parties being able to entice Green supporters to switch over, however, as there are many clear cases where they've done so once it looks like an NDPer can win the seat (and sometimes that takes 2 elections, because people get so much of their news filtered through Toronto, and decide their local race must be the same as the "national" [read: Toronto] race).

But, certainly that's at least part of my argument about why the pollsters who specifically prompt with the Green Party name, skewing their results, are giving people erroneous feedback.  In the commentary attached to today's Ekos poll, they acknowledge questions about the validity of their results for the Green Party, by trying to explain that it's because they can't get their support out to vote (support is different than actual voters).  Basically, then, if they take that approach they're conceding that their polls are not predictive of voting outcomes, and they should not do seat predictions based on them, is my take on it.  But regardless, it's not giving very accurate information to voters who may desire that bit of information in order to cast their ballots.

 

ottawaobserver

madmax wrote:

Latest Ekos Poll has Green Party ahead of the NDP in Quebec.  

And the last two Quebec by-elections had them at 3.3% and 1.7% of the vote respectively.  With the NDP at 19.6% and 4.8%.

The francophone pollsters who run the N=1000 samples in the province consistently rate the NDP in the high teens, and Jack Layton as #1 or #2 for PM in that province.  Elizabeth May is nowhere to be found in the same questions.

Seriously, the longer Ekos continues to find these absurdly high numbers for the Greens, the less credible they're going to be as opinion researchers.

Sean in Ottawa

I think the Ekos poll illustrates something closer to the truth here. People are saying the Green party has faded-- a has been contender. The truth is that they are a never was rather than a has been. It is possible over time they may make a breakthrough but media watchers have found that they can't hold their breath on this without turning blue. The article is almost petulant as it indicates not a real fading but a lack of patience in waiting.

Now if we want to look at why the Green party does not reflect polling we can do that.

First as I said in another thread, I think Greens fall over themselves to be polled and are over represented in the polling more than under-represented in the voting (I am unconvinced that people say to pollsters they will vote Green and then don't show up in spite of the popularity of that analysis). I think that there are many more people that refuse to be polled that actually vote and support other parties and that is what skews the vote. I advanced when I argued this the fact that fewer than one in ten will talk to a pollster when they call and over 5 in 10 will vote (still pathetic but many more). This means that the Greens are likely to always poll high and show up low without ever having that many people truly support them. Put this way: a higher commitment voter is more likely to be over represented in the polls and under represented on voting day than the reverse.

Second, and this is the Achilles heal of the party, the Green party, in spite of attempting to articulate policies beyond the environment have never been able to get them to resonate. Part of the problem is people see the party as an environmental lobby group more than a party and partly because the party cannot be found on the left-right spectrum. Most voters (except in Quebec) see most issues on the left-right spectrum and see themselves as left, right or centre and see one of the parties as close to that point of view. This is helpful because it allows the voter to predict what the party might do on issues not yet discussed and provides interpretation for issues the voter does not understand -- so if the voter does not get an issue but sees him/herself as right wing then the right wing party can be "trusted" on that issue to share the voters' inclination without the voter even having to understand the issue. The Greens can't be associated that way- the Greens are predictable on the environment but there is no sense of where they stand on anything else. The BQ is similar in some respects except that its leader has branded himself as left of centre although that could be out the window when he retires.

The problem the Greens have is that they try to say they are above the left-right spectrum when they cannot be and instead they are just all over the place on it. They can't tack to the right without damaging any creds on the environment and they can't tack to the left without finding it impossible to distinguish from the NDP. Playing the field will not work except on one issue.In the power-to-Quebec issue the BQ have found a single issue that can mobilize 40% of Quebec to their side. The Greens, even on the environment, a popular issue, cannot mobilize large numbers on that single issue. I suspect this is in part because too many people who care about the environment see it as a social justice issue, as a left right issue and therefore move to the NDP for a more holistic response to social justice and the environment than the Greens can offer.

I don't see how the Greens can get out of this hole and would not blame May for the problem which is far more fundamental.

I realize this is laden with the personal since these are also the reasons I support the NDP- even where on some policies I may prefer the Greens-- because I want that holistic social-justice context. And while I care about the environment, I am also motivated by human needs which include a sustainable environment but also other things.

Debater

ottawaobserver wrote:

madmax wrote:

Latest Ekos Poll has Green Party ahead of the NDP in Quebec.  

And the last two Quebec by-elections had them at 3.3% and 1.7% of the vote respectively.  With the NDP at 19.6% and 4.8%.

The francophone pollsters who run the N=1000 samples in the province consistently rate the NDP in the high teens, and Jack Layton as #1 or #2 for PM in that province.  Elizabeth May is nowhere to be found in the same questions.

Seriously, the longer Ekos continues to find these absurdly high numbers for the Greens, the less credible they're going to be as opinion researchers.

Yes, the Green Party numbers in Quebec do seem a bit high.  What is interesting though is that the numbers in Quebec have the Liberals with twice the support of the NDP which seems more accurate than the previous Quebec poll we saw.

Today's EKOS poll for Quebec says:

BQ  39.8%

Liberals  22.7%

Conservatives  16.9%

Green  10.4%

NDP  10.1%

remind remind's picture

Quote:
Ekos....the less credible they're going to be as opinion researchers.

 

'nuff said, those Green Party numbers  make the whole poll useless.

Had there not been a recent by-election, indicating how whacked said result is, they could have had plausible deniability that such a skew could be possible.

Do not even think the hype leading to Copenhagen making people think "green" would give such an outrageous skew.

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Well if you account for the normal margin of error PLUS the hype which I think would create a bit of a bump (for a couple weeks anyway) AND the dynamic I described upthread of Greens self-selecting because they want to be polled this is understandable. Just don't expect those numbers to bear out.

As well the byelection numbers also should be taken with a grain of salt-- turn out is lowand we are only talking two seats.

Lots of people want to draw all kinds of conclusions -- both from polls and from byelections-- often those conclusions are not there to be had...

Debater

Chantal Hebert picked Elizabeth May as the Most Overrated Politician of the Year on At Issue's end of year panel tonight.

KenS

Stockholm wrote:
I think its just that people under 25 tend to have very very low levels of political literacy and they confuse the question "Which party would you vote foir?" with "What's your favourite colour?"

Bet:

If you have survey questions that control for 'political literacy,' where you compare those relatively engaged across age groups, you will still find that a disproportianate number of under 25 proffess support for the GPC. I would not be surprised if the support levels are actually higher among the more engaged/'literate' category of the under 25s.

KenS

Whither the Elizabeth May Party?

2009 saw the Green Party of Canada explicitly place the highest priority on getting Elizabeth May elected, devoting ever more of it's thin resources to that goal. This took place with a minimum of discussion- and nothing you could even remotely call an inclusive decision making process. But much of the membership is enthusiastic; and opposition is rooted in frustration with leaving the larger party organization rudderless, rather than with the priorization of May's campaign per se.

This focus on the leader goes well beyond the general trend in Canadian electoral politics. In the other political parties the leader focus is in the parties presentation to the public. But in the Green Party, the leader has become the organization itself.

I have circulated the surprising to everyone amounts of money that have been invested in Elizabeth May's campaigns- spending that began over 2 years before it supposedly became the 'new' priority. The sums that are unprecedented in ANY Canadian party, let alone in the GPC, continue to be spent every single month- not at all just during the period of the election writ.

Greens tell me those figures get pretty wide circulation, and I've seen evidence of that. But it has made no tangible difference. Even when there is widespread talk of financial constriction in the GPC, it still does not appear to register that a few hundred thousand dollars have already gone into her campaigns, as will a couple hundred more by the time we have a general election.

The cash strapped GPC just paid for Elizabeth May to jet off to Copenhagen. Carbon consumption ethics aside- for what utilitarian purpose? She's guaranteed to be ignored: this is a venue where heads of government and other TOP luminaries get noticed- not leaders of political parties.

On her way to Copenhagen May made a pit stop in Halifax, and the GPC issued a strange press release calling for Nova Scotians to join her at a "rally" in a broom closet at an airport hotel. This is what Green party grassroots organizing has come to. In a province where May domiciled herself for a two year run at winning a seat, and on a day where local environmentalists are capping a week of actions around Copenhagen, Elizabeth May makes a desperate attempt at some quickie headlines as she jets through.

If Elizabeth May does pull off a huge upset and win a seat in BC, that will indeed be a big shot in the arm for the Green party. The spinoffs could easily be enough to compensate for a few years of progressive atrophy after becoming a careening vehicle for trying to install May in the House.

But a lot happens to an organization rudderless except for the singular goal of getting its leader a seat in Parliament. And that election is likely not until 2011, possibly 2 years from now.

And if Elizabeth May loses that uphill battle in Saanich - Gulf Islands... oh well.

KenS

Whither the Elizabeth May Party?

That being the title of a column I submitted to Rabble before I opened this thread. When Hebert's column on the fading Greens came along, it was a different look at the Greens than my organization focused one, but I thought I'd go ahead and get a discussion going.

But the discussion has kind of overtaken my submitted column, so I'm just going to post it here. I write posts longer than this piece. I didn't like how out of sync repetitive some of the piece might look, so I stuck it up at post # 6.

remind remind's picture

Ken, I cannot find the thread with those figures, do you have the link?

 

Why didn't the Green Party use the money spent sending may off to Copenhagen of some big environmental event here to give themselves a boost?

 

They could've even played the non-destruction to the environment  aspect.

Polunatic2

Quote:
The cash strapped GPC just paid for Elizabeth May to jet off to Copenhagen. Carbon consumption ethics aside- for what utilitarian purpose? She's guaranteed to be ignored: this is a venue where heads of government and other TOP luminaries get noticed- not leaders of political parties - KenS.
Quote:
Why didn't the Green Party use the money spent sending may off to Copenhagen of some big environmental event here to give themselves a boost? - Remind
Jack Layton is also going to Copenhagen. 

 

remind remind's picture

And your point would be what polunatic?

Quote:
Mr. Layton said he is going to Copenhagen in to inform the delegates from the 192 countries attending the summit that "majority of the members of the House of Commons have a different view" than the ruling Conservatives on the dangers of climate change and the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

KenS

 

Quote:
The cash strapped GPC just paid for Elizabeth May to jet off to Copenhagen. Carbon consumption ethics aside- for what utilitarian purpose? She's guaranteed to be ignored: this is a venue where heads of government and other TOP luminaries get noticed- not leaders of political parties

Polunatic2 wrote:
Jack Layton is also going to Copenhagen. 

I don't expect Jack Layton will get much attention for being there either. But the point I was making was an organizational strngth and priorities one.

This isn't a guns or butter decision for the NDP. The already suffering GPC party building efforts will take that much more of a hit for May's trip.

But its not only about financial resources. Elizabeth May demands and gets that the party turn itself inside out for her to win a seat... leaving aside the deliberate obfuscation of how much has been poured into that quest all along, pretending this a new priorization.

But she never turns her own priorities inside out. She says her winning is the most important thing. But not if it means I have to run against a Liberal MP [even though turning the re-election of the Conservatives she runs against into a certainty produces the same substantive outcome]. And not if it means going to a riding where there might be other opinions about how to run a campaign.

Now you have supporters ratinalizing that she shouldn't have to concern herself with a leadership race while she is campaigning hard in SGI. No matter that she doesn't need to actively campaign to win, doesn't have to go anywhere she wouldn't be going even without a leadership race.

Its perfectly understandable she wants to go to Copenhagen and to devote days on end to personaly attending to the minutae of the 'climategate' debate. But as has been pointed out by Greens- its always stuff consistent with a personality cult driven NGO. While attending to the needs of building a political party gets the range from benign neglect to heedless sideswiping.

While May runs over the organization she can't even do what she is good at. Going to Copenhagen isn't going to get more exposure for May and the Green message.

Polunatic2

Quote:
Mr. Layton said he is going to Copenhagen in to inform the delegates from the 192 countries... 
I didn't realize the Jack was addressing the conference. Good for him. 

Debater

KenS wrote:

While May runs over the organization she can't even do what she is good at. Going to Copenhagen isn't going to get more exposure for May and the Green message.

Perhaps not, but she has to do something.  She has to at least show up if she wants to keep any relevance at all.  She can't afford not to with her profile having diminished so far this year.

remind remind's picture

So what are you saying here, environmental concerns be damned, it is all about EMay appearing to be relevant, whn she isn't?

Polunatic2

Isn't the purpose of going to Copenhagen to deal with "environmental concerns"? 

Debater

remind wrote:

So what are you saying here, environmental concerns be damned, it is all about EMay appearing to be relevant, whn she isn't?

I think that's her plan, yes.  It's about political survival for her.  She has to try and stay relevant.  

She may also be aware that people like Chantal Hebert have declared her the Most Overrated Politician of the Year and have pointed out how far she has declined.

remind remind's picture

But debator, how is going to Copenhagen going to appear to make her relevant?

 

Is she blogging about it to give those Green Party followers the sensation they are relevant and participating in  Copeenhagen?

KenS

KenS wrote:
While May runs over the organization she can't even do what she is good at. Going to Copenhagen isn't going to get more exposure for May and the Green message.

Debater wrote:
Perhaps not, but she has to do something.  She has to at least show up if she wants to keep any relevance at all.  She can't afford not to with her profile having diminished so far this year.

Copenhagen and climate change have been top of the news for a couple weeks- even in Canada with the detainee torture issue understandably being such a dominant issue. 

Should be the perfect time for Elizabeth May and the Green Party. But we've heard nothing. And her going to Copenhagen isn't going to change that, even if she manages some stunt to get her in the news for one day. Thats because having your message out there- even around your tailored issues- is a product of sustained focus and application...  a minimum of what party leaders are suppossed to do. 

Its not like falling out of sight is some natural phenomena. She's the leader, she has capital on the issue, she has a full time aide, she has a full time communications person. But all for naught.

 

It's no surprise. If all those resources go into floating a personality cult, that can give you a bully pulpit for a while. But even our vapid media expects to see more eventually. Lack of even mass media standard substance flattened Iggy. In the case of May and the GPC infrastructure around her, they just go on witlessly doing the same things. It still impresses enough of the membership to allow here to go on without anyone questioning what this amounts to.

ottawaobserver

I think she had to go to Copenhagen.  But they made nothing of the issue.  It should have been part of a whole policy and media campaign.  Whoever does her schedule should be sacked.

remind remind's picture

Pretty hard for her to sack herself isn't it?  :D

KenS

I agree with OO, that she had to go to Copenhagen.

It amounts to the same thing: a complete failure to do what is required to advance the party.... at least as a party of anything other than Elizabeth May.

nicky

 nicky wrote:

 

It is very easy to look at the results of the last three elections and identify about a doen seats in each where a Consevative MP was elected because the Greens siphoned off ant-Conservative votes.

 

 And Ottawaobserver challenged:

 

You assume that all those people actively voted FOR the Green party.  But in fact, if you look at the movements in the raw vote, you will see that there are a lot of cases where the previous Green supporters had already moved somewhere else, and the new Green votes were most often disaffected Liberals.  Because so many Liberal voters stayed home, or switched to the Green party or Conservative party, you can't just look at movements in the parties' vote shares and assume that they moved to each other when turnout also dropped at the same time.  The drop in turnout could have come proportionately more from one party's supporters than another's.

If you still disagree, name the seats and we'll take a closer look.

 

Here are the seats won by the Conservatives in the last election by margins less than the Green vote:

 

Conservative majorities less than Green Vote - 2008

 

Seat

Margin

Green %

2nd place

Van Is N

4.4

8.0

N

Saskatoon RB

1.0

4.6

N

Ottawa Orleans

6.1

6.3

L

Egmont

0.3

3.4

L

Saanich

4.0

10.5

L

Miss Erindale

0.7

6.5

L

N Vancouver

4.9

10.7

L

Oak Ridges

0.7

6.8

L

Oshawa

6.7

7.0

N

W Nova

3.8

5.0

L

St John

1.5

5.4

L

Surrey N

3.2

5.5

N

London W

3.7

9.8

L

Kitchener C

0.8

8.5

L

Kitchener Waterloo

0.1

12.1

L

South Shore St M

2.3

5.2

N

Nuvavut

5.8

8.3

L

Portneuf (Ind)

1.5

3.2

B

EdmSherwood Pk

3.6

7.5

Ind

ottawaobserver

Before I do anything else, I just wanted to reformat that list, because Babble does truly gross things to tables, doesn't it:

Conservative majorities less than Green Vote - 2008

Seat _______ | Mrg | Grn% | 2nd |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Egmont _____ | 0.3 |  3.4 | L |
S Shore StM _ | 2.3 |  5.2 | N |
West Nova __ | 3.8 |  5.0 | L |
St John ____ | 1.5 |  5.4 | L |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Prtneuf(Ind) | 1.5 |  3.2 | B |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Ottawa Orl _ | 6.1 |  6.3 | L |
Oshawa ____ | 6.7 |  7.0 | N |
Oak Ridges _ | 0.7 |  6.8 | L |
Miss Erind _ | 0.7 |  6.5 | L |
Kitch Cntr _ | 0.8 |  8.5 | L |
Kitch Wloo _ | 0.1 | 12.1 | L |
London W ___ | 3.7 |  9.8 | L |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Saskatoon RB | 1.0 |  4.6 | N |
EdmSherwd Pk | 3.6 |  7.5 | Ind |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Surrey N ___ | 3.2 |  5.5 | N |
N Vancouver  | 4.9 | 10.7 | L |
Saanich ____ | 4.0 | 10.5 | L |
VanIsN _____ | 4.4 |  8.0 | N |
------------  ----- ------ -----
Nunavut ____ | 5.8 |  8.3 | L |

KenS

redundant

ottawaobserver

Nicky, what adjustment or correction to your methodology did you apply for cases where turnout fell, but did not fall equally between parties?

ottawaobserver

OK, here are my comments about the Atlantic seats, and it's interesting that all 4 you name either changed hands or very nearly did:

In Egmont, the Liberal vote fell by just over 2,000 votes, about the same amount by which the Conservative vote rose.  If your contention here is that without a Green candidate it wouldn't have fallen as much, note also that the NDP vote fell slightly by about half of the Green party gain, and turnout went down.  It's clear that Liberals were deciding to leave their party: the question was where they were going to go.

In West Nova, the Liberal vote fell (by 2,600 votes) along with the Conservative vote (which fell by 500 votes), but obviously the Liberal vote fell a lot more.  Here the Green vote increased by less than the fall in the NDP vote.  Thus, you can't say where the Green vote came from.  Turnout was the same, but the population has declined.  This seat has swung back and forth between the two main parties for years by narrow margins.  The third parties' share of the vote has declined from 2004 to 2008, while the two main parties have switched votes between them.  I don't think it's at all clear that the presence or absence of a Green candidate would have affected the outcome.  It's as believable that they would have gone back to voting NDP.

In South Shore-St. Margaret's, both the Conservative and Liberal vote fell from 2006 to 2008 (identical turnouts from 2004 through 2008 here).  The NDP and Greens both went up.  The Christian Heritage Party vote also fell by 1000 once Jim Hnatiuk was no longer running.  Whose vote went where?  Did Conservative voters switch to the NDP? to the Greens.  The NDP went up by the same number of votes as the Liberal vote fell.  If I had to guess I'd say that the NDP probably rose at the expense of all the others to a certain extent, but we'd only know by looking at the change in the poll-by-poll results.  The Greens could have cost the NDP the seat here, but was it a pro-Green vote or an anti-Liberal one?  Hard to tell based on the available data.

In Saint John, turnout was down and the population dropped slightly as well.  Both the Liberals and Conservatives dropped votes, but the Libs dropped 4,000 while the Conservatives dropped 2,000 and the NDP dropped about 700.  The Greens picked up 1,000.  Would people have been more likely to vote for Paul Zed had there been no Green candidate in the race?  He's indistinguishable from a Conservative anyways.  Personally I doubt it.

If you skip all the way ahead to Vancouver Island North, and really look at the shifts in raw vote from 2000 to 2008, you'd see that the historic Green vote had already dropped to almost nothing and switched to Catherine Bell of the NDP.  She also picked up a lot of former Liberals as well.  John Duncan won that seat because the remaining Liberal vote dropped through the floor, some of it parking with the Greens, some staying home, and most switching to the Conservatives.  Did the Greens *cost* Bell the seat?  Personally I doubt it.  Any remaining Liberal who had not already switched to the NDP previously was not going to go now (and we have our BC candidate hijinks to thank in part for that too).  They would have stayed home or gone to the Conservatives.

Anyways, my general point is that Liberal vote was falling, and it was going to go somewhere.  You'd have to argue that it would not have left the Liberals had there been no Green alternative, and I'm just not sure that's the case.  From my look at the changes between 2004 and 2006, and again from 2006 to 2008, whenever it looked like the NDP could actually win a seat (might have taken two elections for people to believe it), the Green vote fell off substantially.  Greens take from the NDP in seats the NDP does not target that the Greens put some effort into.

I'm also arguing that a lot of the Green vote in this most recent election was a "none of the above" vote as much as anything else.  One wonders how much of that they can keep now, but the early evidence from the 4 by-elections is: not much.

Let me know what you think, Nicky.

remind remind's picture

...that is 19 seats that the Green Party most likely gave to Harper, the thread title  that states something along the lines of 'are Canadians going to sit back and let Harper get a majority' should read; "are the Green Party and its supporters going to give Harper his majority"

 

EMay is playing her function well.

Polunatic2

Great example of how first past the post can be finessed to produce results which don't reflect the intentions of the voters. However, the formulas used to crucify the GP can also be applied to the NDP. Suggesting that the GP just whither away and die is not really the solution. Proportional representation is. 

ottawaobserver

Not sure how many people followed the link in Brian Topp's last blogpost to Harper and Flanagan's seminal 1996 essay on the problems with the first-past-the-post system from their perspective, but their analysis was quite instructive.

nicky

There are complicated psephological questions raised here. I will make a start at answering some of them. (thanks for reformulating the table, OO)

Four initial propositions;

1. At least two polls during the last election showed that the Cons were the last choice of Green voters. (perhaps someone can find them) I remember the second choices of Green voters being approximately 50% NDP, 25% Liberal and 10% Conservative. This wd mean that Green voters by a ratio of 5 to 1 would prefer the NDP to the Cons, and by 2.5 to 1 the Liberals over the Cons.

2. The demographics of the Green voter (age, income, education etc) are relativley close to the NDP voter and much more dictinct from the Con voter. This would indicate a more likely affinity if it came to making a second choice.

3. May campaigned on a very anti-Conservative platform, thereby attracting support from those who disliked the Conservatives rather than from those who liked them.

4. The example of British Columbia in 2006. I posted an analysis of this to Babble way back when. BC was the best province for the Greens in 2005. The Cons won about half a dozen seats there by less than the Green vote. In 2006, the Grren vote was up in every province except BC where it fell sharply. The Cons lost half a dozen seats in BC that election, the only province where they lost support. I would argue this was because Green voters switched back to the NDP or the Liberals when they realized the effect of splitting the vote. The result in BC was no coincidence

I do not suggest that the Cons would have lost all of these 19 seats if there were no Green candidates. In some the opposition would have had to pick up virtually alll of the Green vote which is not likely. Some Greens may not have voted.  But if even half the Green vote had switched to the leading opposition party at leat half of these seats would have been lost to the Cons.

It may be that Liberal support was in decline in 2008 but this scarecly shows that the rise in the Green vote did not help the Cons. The decline may well have been staunched if the Greens did not present an alternative.

I may say as well that I have never been persuaded by the tired argument that the NDP splits the vote too and therefore we should not complain about the Greens. The NDP has had a substantial electoral presence in one form or another since the 20s. It has elected hundreds of MPs and thousands of MLAs. The Greens have never elected anyone to anything.

ottawaobserver

I start from a slightly different assumption, Nicky.  I don't assume that the demographic study of "Green voters" in any way applied to the folks who wound up voting Green in many of those cases.  I assume it was a negative vote against other parties, rather than a positive pro-Green vote.  This may be proven wrong if I ever get around to looking at the details of the Canadian Election Study data.

I'm also arguing that we can't simply look at vote-shares from one election in isolation ... they have to be seen in terms of changes from the previous election, and given that one party's support might have been more likely to stay home than others, we have to look at raw votes and shares of the electorate, rather than just the percentage of people who actually voted.

To say that the rise of the Green vote helped the Conservatives implies that those folks would have otherwise stayed with the Liberals (or NDP) had there been no Green party on the ballot.  I'm just not sure that's the case in the election we just went through.

Anyways, while it's interesting to consider, I think it's all academic now.  They're going in the toilet for the foreseeable future, having raised expectations to wildly unrealistic levels, and then dramatically falling short of them, with nothing in policy or organizational development to show for all that effort.

KenS

Polunatic2 wrote:
 Suggesting that the GP just whither away and die is not really the solution. 

In this thread alone both OO and I have explictly said that they want no such thing, and that the Greens should be expected to seek to do their best.

And I doubt that it is any more than a monority of Dippers, here or anywhere, who you could legitimately inferr from what they say, advocate that the Greens simply go away.

melovesproles

Yeh I think KenS and Ottawaobservers criticsms have been generally fair and accurate(in contrast to some of the other posters) but I'd also say it's way too premature to start writing political obits.  May has chosen a much better battleground this time out and if she and her party have the stomach to take on the LP then there should be growth potential with young disillusioned Liberals whose party has a significantly less environmental leader and focus compared to the last election.  The Greens current low profile isn't that significant, this isn't when people are thinking seriously about their voting options.  I just think it's too early to say, although I can see why there would be skepticism that May has the political will to direct her fire in a productive fashion and why the media won't give her as much time.

ottawaobserver

Fair enough, mlp.  I believe you mean to say with young disillusioned Liberals in general, rather than in Saanich-Gulf Islands, whose average age is THE highest in Canada.

melovesproles

Yeh, I meant in general, age has nothing to do with Green appeal in SGL.  And the reason why the riding is a good choice isn't just because May has a better chance there, BC is bettter soil for growing roots and now there will be more media attention throughout the province.

 

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