Whither the Elizabeth May Party?

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KenS

melovesproles wrote:
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.

If May was willing to take on the Liberals then she wouldn't be in SGI, she'd be running in Guelph- where her chances were better and she would have been far more useful as the leader of a national party.

And neither the Greens or May had a low profile before the last election. So barring some big surprise, the expectation is that they will get less in the next election. [Not to mention the effect of even less attention to preparing broadly on the gound, and those other aspects of the organization that have withered.]

melovesproles

I disagree.  I think the Greens best chance for growing strong roots is in BC and SGI is a fine base, with great access to Vancouver and VI and the provincial and local media that go with that.  The cool kids in Ontario wish they were in BC, they'll follow their west coast peers.  Tongue out

 

But May should realize that Iggy has weak appeal for the voters she needs and hammer where necessary, if its just going to be another NDP-bashing campaign then I think what credibility she still has will rapidly evaporate.

ottawaobserver

The Guelph vs SGI debate you guys are having mirrors pretty exactly the debate the Greens were having themselves.  I think the selection of SGI had as much to do with the fact that John Fryer agreed to manage the campaign for her.  But I think getting Briony Penn onside should have been the precondition for May to run there.  That she didn't, and Penn is actively supporting the Liberal, but saying the seat in unwinnable for either, sort of undercuts any chance May has there.  Do you realize they had just 50 paid-up members in attendance at her nomination meeting?  They have a LONG way to grow from that.  Guelph had the better membership base, and proximity to the national media centre, in my view.

Anyways, it's moot what we think.  She had alienated the riding executive in Guelph, and in any event was not going to run against a Liberal, and that's that.

melovesproles

Strategically and tactically SGI was the better choice than Guelph for a number of reasons.  Proximity to the national media centre is not only overrated, it's probably counter-productive, any student of Canadian history should know that this is hardly a prerequisite for a new political party challenging the status-quo.

The GP received their highest vote share in BC-this with their leader based on the opposite side of the country.  The competitive nature of all the parties in BC make the threshhold for success lower than in other provinces.  Ontario is already saturated with party leaders.  SGI is in close proximity to several ridings which are prime for Green party growth and where local media play an extremely important role.

Anyways, all I'm saying is that the Green party is in some ways better placed than they were in the last election where May's chosen riding was strategically and tactically a disastrous fumble.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

melovesproles wrote:
Ontario is already saturated with party leaders. 

Two is "saturated"?

ottawaobserver

That's true: Central Nova was a STOOPID choice, one she made after being talked out of Cape Breton-Canso by the Liberal Whip whose seat it was.

I take your point about BC in general, but she'll just never take that particular seat there.  In my view, anyway.  What do I know, though.  Only time will tell.

melovesproles

I'm not saying she'll take it either but it's well positioned as a base to increase vote share and profile for her party in several ridings with growth potential.  Considering the current position of the GP I think that's as much as they can ask for.

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Two is "saturated"?

Two out of four is 50% so yes.  Duceppe doesn't count because his party is only running in the one province.

ottawaobserver

melovesproles wrote:

Proximity to the national media centre is not only overrated, it's probably counter-productive, any student of Canadian history should know that this is hardly a prerequisite for a new political party challenging the status-quo.

I thought about this comment of yours some more, mlp, and while I'd agree in general, Elizabeth May's strategy has been a media-driven one and she's the media darling of the eastern media (or at least she WAS).  If she were running an organizationally-driven strategy (what her critics accuse of her ignoring) then you'd be automatically right.  You might still be, but I'm unclear what kind of draw E.Me (as compared with Adriane Carr, for example) is to the BC media, who are usually quite provincially introspective.  Maybe a BC'er could fill us in, as I haven't lived there for over a decade.

KenS

She's definitely not choosing based on an organizationally driven strategy. Very far from it, BOTH in her choice of a riding with best chances for her to win AND where she is best positioned for building the party nationaly. [Elaborate on that later, contradicting mlp's points.]

And I completely disagree that proximity to the national media is overated. For the leader of the party? Let alone in the case of Elizabeth May, who was the first to bring regular attention to the GPC? National media overated ?! 

May was out of circulation in Central Nova for a year, and has been for a further 6 months in SGI. The effects of that are clear- AND were predicted BEFORE she made her choices of where to run.

As far as local campaigns to win a seat, she MIGHT be as well positioned in SGI as she would have been in Guelph. But thats at best [and assuming the notorious BC media doesn't find her another favourite target] for local campaign media access- while SGI is decidedly inferior for the purposes that matter for at least maintaining the national profile of the GPC.

melovesproles

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And I completely disagree that proximity to the national media is overated. For the leader of the party?

No one mentioned that to Preston Manning or hey every leader of a new party in Canadian history from the Progressives to the CCF who has successfully managed to break through and win seats.  And there simply isn't another nexus of Green support in the country like that surrounding SGI.  The only way the GP is going to grow is if they can build on the support they already have and there aren't any fields as fertile as Van Isle, Van, the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan.  I find it hard to believe Herbert and the National media wouldn't be slagging the GP if May was running in Guelph.  I don't know enough about the internal dynamics of the GP to know if this was an organizational decision or not but if they hit the local media hard in the runup to the election there is a lot of potential growth for the party in a relatively concentrated area. I'd also say the relative success of the GP in Guelph has a lot more to do with a motivated membership and a strong local candidate than the national media's affection for May and I'd be surprised if their vote share drops significantly.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Elizabeth May's [URL=http://greenparty.ca/blogs/7/2009-12-12/saturday-copenhagen]first report[/URL] from Copenhagen is in. I felt compelled to [URL=http://greenparty.ca/blogs/10312/2009-12-12/our-anglican-leader]respond[... about the last paragraph. Ah well. I do think she ought to be there, but I hope she accomplishes something.

TheEtobian

     I think one glaring question has not been asked even if (and that's a pretty big IF ) Elizabeth May does manage to get herself elected it would be widely regarded as a breakthrough, but if she's not bringing eleven others with her then she won't be asking any questions during question period and all of the other perks of official party status so. So I don't really get why her getting elected would be such a big deal. 

TheEtobian

     I think one glaring question has not been asked even if (and that's a pretty big IF ) Elizabeth May does manage to get herself elected it would be widely regarded as a breakthrough, but if she's not bringing eleven others with her then she won't be asking any questions during question period and all of the other perks of official party status so. So I don't really get why her getting elected would be such a big deal. 

janfromthebruce

I guess "new Party" is all relevant here, as the Green Party of Canada has been in existence for over 10 years and I think a lot more. In fact, was the Green Party a registered party before Reform came into existence. The Green Party may be "new to you" but in terms of new in Canada, well no. So using the anology such as Reform as a justaposition is not in the similar context.

KenS

May getting a seat and into Parliament would be a big deal. Credibility works in increments, and winning one seat will put more ridings into real play for the GPC. Its referred to in the GPC as the 'beachhead strategy'.

Since no party can do everything, least of all the GPC, any emphasis of the beachhead strategy in practice comes at the cost of advancing the GPC's near term prospects across the board, because it takes resources from campaigning in all those second tier and lower ridings.

Most Greens would probably like to see as much as possible of each. Ideally, success in the beachead strategy would advance organizing and vote share everywhere else. Problem in practice is that that doesn't happen until one of those 'beacheads' is won. Since the near term prospects of that are not high- it just highlights the starkness of throwing resources into those beacheads beggaring the neighbours.

On top of that general principle, you have the fact that in practice all the new revenue from the public subsidies, and more, has ended up in buying advertising- locally as well as nationaly. All 'air war', no 'ground war'. Elizabeth May coming into the leadership has exacerbated that- both directly by her media orientation, and indirectly by the damage she and her coterie have done to the already [understandably for a young party] thin grassroots support capabilities of the GPC.

Three years later she isn't even doing a passable job of her one strength in media presence... in large part because she has turned inward to winning a seat [after diddling away two years of opportunities and big time resources doing at in half hearted way, and STILL refusing to take the straightest shot at the best seat]. And in the next election there will be a LOT less resources for any other 'beacheads' than her's and Adrian Carr's campaigns... let alone the 300 riding campaigns that get and have squat. [Exacerbating that: Carr takes up at least $8,000 in central resources every month when there is no election campaign, and May over twice that.]

If May were to win a seat, even without a plan, they'd be a long way to fixing all that. But everything has been bet on her longshot at winning... and since there is no hedging of bets whatsoever, let alone a Plan B, its a train wreck when the far better odds of her losing come to pass.

KenS

melovesproles wrote:

The GP received their highest vote share in BC-this with their leader based on the opposite side of the country. The competitive nature of all the parties in BC make the threshhold for success lower than in other provinces. SGI is in close proximity to several ridings which are prime for Green party growth and where local media play an extremely important role.

melovesproles wrote:

there simply isn't another nexus of Green support in the country like that surrounding SGI. The only way the GP is going to grow is if they can build on the support they already have and there aren't any fields as fertile as Van Isle, Van, the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan.

SGI versus Guelph first. The best riding for a star Green candidate- of which May is the one only- is one where there is a close race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Thats Guelph in spades, SGI only somewhat.

SGI has a very strong core Conservative vote, which is by far the hardest place for a Green to grow their vote share. It is also the oldest demographic in Canada, while Guelph is loaded with Green friendly demographics.

Guelph has several times as many members and volunteers, and many times more identified Green voters. The only chance May has of winning is with a massive voter identification and eday GOTV effort. Guelph's starting base on that means everything. The other thing that is required to win is armies of volunteers from surrounding ridings, and there are multiple times more of that within 2 hours of Guelph versus SGI.

As to location of the leader building a base, thats the only dimension on which SGI can at least rival Guelph. But it is certainly not the cut and dried case you make it out to be. The vote share in BC is higher [but highest in Alberta by the way, so why not go there?]. But the GPC gets a LOT more votes in Ontario and has more to gain there.

If the GPC was poised to get close to winning in BC ridings, you might have a case even if there are a lot more votes to be gained in Southern Ontario. But that isn't the case. On top of that, BC ridings with Green strength are literally all over the map and far harder to get from one to another than is the case in the GTA/Guelph orbit.

There are probably a dozen ridings between Guelph and Toronto where the GPC is close to the all important 10% threshold... with zero campaigns in most of them. Not to mention that from a Guelph base May could still have quickly got to BC for election campaign visits. Visits from her SGI base to Southern Ontario just aren't going to happen.

The GPC campaign director in 2007 wanted May to use the base built in London North Centre for her to run there in the coming general. But she didn't want to run against the now Liberal incumbent. He didn't leave over that, but after being ignored enough times he did.

When Greg Morrow was campaign director, he wanted her to run in Guelph. He was pushed out. [And since has gone public with the numbers bolstering why it should have been Guelph.]

SGI was a much better choice than Central Nova, but that isn't saying anything. Elizabeth May didn't choose SGI because it was the best for anything except what Elizabeth May wanted and did not want.

melovesproles

 

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The vote share in BC is higher [but highest in Alberta by the way, so why not go there?].

Because that isn't true. It was the highest in BC at least according to the CBC and every source I've seen.  What source are you using?

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Not to mention that from a Guelph base May could still have quickly got to BC for election campaign visits. Visits from her SGI base to Southern Ontario just aren't going to happen.

How exactly does that work?  Is it easier to get from Toronto to Vancouver than from Vancouver to Toronto?  I've never found much of a difference.  SGI is not such a backwater, and it's not so difficult to get around.

I see what your saying about Ontario being more profitable as far as the voter subsidy goes but I still think BC is a much more likely setting for building a foothold and not just the one seat beachhead all or nothing gamble which is going to be a longshot wherever the party chooses to place all its chips.

 

 

KenS

 

Quote:
The vote share in BC is higher [but highest in Alberta by the way, so why not go there?].

melovesproles wrote:
Because that isn't true. It was the highest in BC at least according to the CBC and every source I've seen.  What source are you using?

I'm going on memory, and that may not have been true in 2008. Even if it was true, it was just being cute.

Quote:
Not to mention that from a Guelph base May could still have quickly got to BC for election campaign visits. Visits from her SGI base to Southern Ontario just aren't going to happen.

melovesproles wrote:
How exactly does that work?  Is it easier to get from Toronto to Vancouver than from Vancouver to Toronto?  I've never found much of a difference.  SGI is not such a backwater, and it's not so difficult to get around.

Guelph is an hour from Pearson, which gets you anywhere. SGI is close to Victoria which flys you nowhere, and must be more than 2 hours from Vancouver airport. The time to get from SGI to over half the BC areas of strength is substantial. Guelph is an easy drive to MANY ridings with Green existingand untapped strength. Those distances are crucial in how much campaigning outside the home seat can be done by a Leader who has to spend the bulk of the time with her own riding campaign.

melovesproles wrote:
I see what your saying about Ontario being more profitable as far as the voter subsidy goes but I still think BC is a much more likely setting for building a foothold and not just the one seat beachhead all or nothing gamble which is going to be a longshot wherever the party chooses to place all its chips.

Its not just that Southern Ontario is more 'profitable'. Like BC it has a lot of seats with substantial strength that would benefit greatly from the presence of the Leader, and Guelph is much closer to those than SGI is to the BC ridings. And there are a LOT more GPC members in Southern Ontario, which is one of the main determinants of growth potential.

As far as regional growth potential goes, SGI is in the same league as Guelph would have been. And that is of secondary importance once you've decided the priority is ussing May's assets in the place you are most likely to win. But you unequivocally portrayed it as by far the best. And Guelph was far ahead in the primary criteria of winnability. I saw May supporters in the debate over that making all kinds of assertions, and saying to critics 'you don't have all the numbers that the campaign committee has'.... but no one gave a substantive challenge to the numbers Greg Morrow and others put forward in support of choosing Guelph. 

 

 

ottawaobserver

In 2008, the Greens got 9.4% of the vote in BC and 8.8% of the vote in Alberta.

al-Qa'bong

RP. wrote:

ReeferMadness wrote:
Of all of the conversations that transpire on babble, none is quite so pathetic as watching NDP partisans line up to take cheap shots at the Green Party.  Seriously. 

Agreed, it's gross. 

 

I don't know about gross, but these knuckleheads (Stockholm was one of them) turned me off the NDP so much during one provincial election that I voted Green out of spite.

largeheartedboy

And this is a long thead - what should the next title be - The endless discussion on the GPC/Elizabeth May?

scott scott's picture

Sounds good. Bring it on.

largeheartedboy

Ken S,

I follow your contributions on the GPC here and on GPC blogs with interest. You are often fair to Elizabeth and have done some impressive primary research on the financial development of the . But I think your analysis of that party is somtimes skewed by one thing - your citation of, frankly, biased and negative sources on Elizabeth May.

It's like citing Ray Heard's opinions on Stephane Dion. Or Warren Kinsella's on Paul Martin. Or Harper's on Manning circa 1998.

And I think it's rich for a New Democrat to criticise any of the politcians above. There's more to say about their pundit critics frankly.

And lots more about Elizabeth - who to her credit is at least out there working hard - and compared to other leaders in the Global Greens is doing pretty good.

KenS

and so we HAVE...

....with our brave heroine waving from Copenhagen...

... Green Party and Elizabeth May, the endless discussion

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