In Defence of Elizabeth May's Choice of Ridings

42 posts / 0 new
Last post
AppalledBC
In Defence of Elizabeth May's Choice of Ridings

 

Several pundits, friends, members of the Green Party itself, even Brian Mulroney have questioned Elizabeth May's choice of ridings in which to run the last three times out: Central Nova in 2008 , the London North by-election in 2006, and of course in Saanich-Gulf Islands in this 2011 election. Many, but especially journalists, have questioned, too, her decision to concentrate on winning her seat in BC and doing what she can nationally rather than conducting a full-blown national campaign. Chantel Hebert, for example, said flatly, arrogantly, I would say, on the CBC the day May was excluded from the TV debates, that she wasn’t worth paying attention to because she wasn’t running a national campaign. Most of Big Media has pretty much followed Hebert's lead now that the debate story is no longer in the news. This is the politics of exclusion plain and simple, and now that the NDP are rising in the polls, no on in Big Media even mentions the Greens let alone Elizabeth May. All that matters is who might win the election and where might the other three contenders be positioned by it.

 

The answer to the question of riding choice and her prioritizing campaigning in her own riding are quite simple when one remembers that May, above all, is all about integrity and believes strongly in citizen-driven government: principle, moral or otherwise, before politics. Democracy Watch has just reported, for example, that the Green Party of Canada has scored best on the issue of promised government ethics, a result that is no surprise to those of us who know May and her citizen-driven positions on all matters. May chose Central Nova in 2008 because that is where she lived at the time and Saanich-Islands in 2011 because that is where she lives now, not necessarily because these are ridings which she could win. That would be politics over principle: you run in the community in which you live to represent the people in your community. And she chose to run in the London North by-election because that was the only opportunity available for a possible seat in the Commons at the time, and as he leader of the Green Party she felt it was her moral duty to try for that seat in order to have the Green Party's voice heard in Parliament. With the next regular election, had she won London north, she would have run where she lives. And that motive is the same one that has led her to prioritize her own campaign in Saanich Islands -- to have a voice for genuine democracy in Parliament, to bring civility, cooperation, and dialogue to the commons.

Such integrity cannot be said necessarily of the other three mainline parties or leaders, who scored Fs in Democracy Watch's analysis. Even Jack Layton's NDP has not, surprisingly, pushed electoral reform or government ethics in the current election, and I suspect potential voters are embracing Layton not necessarily because of any particular policy or even Layton's personal appeal, but because it's a practical way for voters to coalesce a rejection of the two big mainline parties, the Harperites and the Liberals. The movement to the NDP would seem to be, then, both a backlash against those two parties and a let-try-something-different one, not a genuine endorsement of the NDP. May 2 is shaping up tobe a far more interesting day than anyone could have anticipated, especially if the NDP gains significant seats and Elizabeth May also gets elected. Will citizen-driven democracy finally get a chance in Parliament?

 

 Green Party rated best on reform proposals: Democracy Watch

Why Vote for Elizabeth May This video yields a good example of May's expressed integrity.

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Caissa

Elizabeth, who?

AppalledBC

Caissa, I shall simply assusme you're being ironic!

AppalledBC

KenS,

 

It would seem you know much more than i do.

AppalledBC

KenS,

 

I might add that i just took her at her word.

AppalledBC

KenS,

 

I'm not a Green Party member, BTW.  And I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure May is from Nova Scota, to which she moved from the u.s.with her parents, and of course I did know that she worked and lived in Ottawa for many years before she moved back to NS. I'm not sure that her living in Ottawa before moving back is relevant unless you are right about her motives for moving back.  As I said, you seem to know more than I do about the Party. 

 

 

KenS

Caissa's answer is the relevant one.

But what an appaling extended whine.

Can't help myself, I feel a need to reply to the 'substance,' such as it is, of the whining.

AppalledBC wrote:

Several pundits, friends, members of the Green Party itself, even Brian Mulroney have questioned Elizabeth May's choice of ridings in which to run the last three times out: Central Nova in 2008 , the London North by-election in 2006, and of course in Saanich-Gulf Islands in this 2011 election. Many, but especially journalists, have questioned, too, her decision to concentrate on winning her seat in BC and doing what she can nationally rather than conducting a full-blown national campaign. Chantel Hebert, for example, said flatly, arrogantly, I would say, on the CBC the day May was excluded from the TV debates, that she wasn’t worth paying attention to because she wasn’t running a national campaign. Most of Big Media has pretty much followed Hebert's lead now that the debate story is no longer in the news. This is the politics of exclusion plain and simple, and now that the NDP are rising in the polls, no on in Big Media even mentions the Greens let alone Elizabeth May. All that matters is who might win the election and where might the other three contenders be positioned by it.

There is no 'lead' to follow in the national media ignoring May. They are not trying to do anything. The GPC made a choice to downplay the national campaign- the media is following up on that.

Duh.

The GPC got a shitload of publicity and sympathy for being excluded from the debates- more than if May had been there.

That gift of publicity was in the context of an unusually boring and predicatble campaign.

But that was suddenly over: Candians decided to not listen to pundits, and that they do care about the direction of the country. Surprised me to.

Whatever your political inclinations, that IS a hell of a story. So of course the sideshow of Elizabeth May drops off the radar.

You all made the choices first to let the GPC become the Elizabth May Show, then for her to withdraw from the national stage and concentrate on two different ridings far from the limelight. The consequences that followed from that are predicatble and predicted. As you know, there are plenty within the GPC who have argued that from the beginning.

And the choice of ridings- both for Central Nova, and then SGI instead of Guelph- is part of that predictability. She insisted on running in Nova Scotia. Then when she decides to get more serious- having blown a big wad on Central Nova regardless of not being serious about the campaign- and she insists on the party dedicatng everything, but refuses to reciprocate. Guelph was perfect, but that would require her making up with the local activists and Ontario Greens a general. No thanks, the Queen chose SGI, which was only better than the absolute stupid stubborn choice of Central Nova.

AppalledBC wrote:

The answer to the question of riding choice and her prioritizing campaigning in her own riding are quite simple when one remembers that May, above all, is all about integrity and believes strongly in citizen-driven government: principle, moral or otherwise, before politics. Democracy Watch has just reported, for example, that the Green Party of Canada has scored best on the issue of promised government ethics, a result that is no surprise to those of us who know May and her citizen-driven positions on all matters. May chose Central Nova in 2008 because that is where she lived at the time and Saanich-Islands in 2011 because that is where she lives now, not necessarily because these are ridings which she could win. That would be politics over principle: you run in the community in which you live to represent the people in your community. And she chose to run in the London North by-election because that was the only opportunity available for a possible seat in the Commons at the time, and as he leader of the Green Party she felt it was her moral duty to try for that seat in order to have the Green Party's voice heard in Parliament. With the next regular election, had she won London north, she would have run where she lives. And that motive is the same one that has led her to prioritize her own campaign in Saanich Islands.

What a stinking pile of obfuscation. In the first place, no one question her running in the LNC by-election. And having exceeded expectations and proved all the pundits wrong- the advice was to run there in the general. But whe'd have none of that. And saying she ran in Central Nova because she lived there is utter BS: she had lived in Ottawa for 20 years. And goofy of you to mix up the causal direction: she lives in SGI because she's running there, not vice versa. 

AppalledBC wrote:

Such integrity cannot be said necessarily of the other three mainline parties or leaders, who scored Fs in Democracy Watch's analysis. Even Jack Layton's NDP has not, surprisingly, pushed electoral reform or government ethics in the current election, and I suspect potential voters are embracing Layton not necessarily because of any particular policy or even Layton's personal appeal, but because it's a practical way for voters to coalesce a rejection of the two big mainline parties, the Harperites and the Liberals. The movement to the NDP would seem to be, then, both a backlash against those two parties and a let-try-something-different one, not a genuine endorsement of the NDP. May 2 is shaping up tobe a far more interesting day than anyone could have anticipated, especially if the NDP gains significant seats and Elizabeth May also gets elected. Will citizen-driven democracy finally get a chance in Parliament?

Hard to imagine you could drop an even stinkier pile than the last one.

Integrity you say.??? Thats why she lied and the brain trust played shell games trying to hide from Greens how much money was spent in Central Nova, and for how long it had been. No one knew, and it was never explicitly admitted... they just stopped lying and denying when they began talking about going eleswhere and spending lots more next time.

 

 

AppalledBC

NorthReport,

 

It would not surprise me to see the NDP pull ahead there given the big orange ball rolling across the country.

NorthReport

With this giant orange crush sweeping the nation I think Edith, the NDP candidate in Saanich Gulf Islands, who has lived in the area for 25 years and has roots in the riding, now has a very good chance of defeating Lunn so people should be voting for Edith and the NDP here.  Nobody knows who is in first place, second place, third place, or even fourth place, so people vote for the party that you believe in. And remember for every vote your party gets, your party receives money to help fight the next election.

KenS

Elizabeth May did move to Cape Breton with her family. She was here several years, and then she lived and worked in Ottawa for 20 years. She did not move back, then decide where to run. She decided where to run, then moved in. Same thing in BC.

I agree where she lived is not relevant. But your errors about where she lived and what drove her choices is part of the laudatory mythology that surrounds her.

She is a charming and effective bullshitter.

Snert Snert's picture

One can hardly go wrong taking politicians at their word.

Caissa
KenS

And by the way, Elizabeth May does nothing more than does Jack Layton to further the cause of PR.

I am not making a comparison on what is accomplished. That would not be fair, because the GPC does not get as much 'face time' exposure. But if you look at what eMe talks about when she has that face time, PR is not even close to being a top priority. Just like Layton and the NDP: when she has to make choices, she sticks to the themes and narratives that resonate with potential supporters... which is not PR. For that matter, every theme and narrative she in practice gives the highest prorities to is even more innocuous and fell good than the stuff that Layton says.

AppalledBC

Kens,

 

Trus, which is why the environment has been recessed by both no doubt.  not top of mind for potential voters.

Caissa

Sextuple post! It may be a new record.

Snert Snert's picture

People will come from miles around to see it, like the Dionne Quintuplets.  This will put babble on the map!

AppalledBC

Caissa,

Yeah, took a politican at her  word.  Naive or what? Seems, if KenS is right, principle never trumps politics in this formal political arena.

remind remind's picture

"if kens is right"

He is absolutely correct in his detailing of EMay's movements about the country. She has never lived before any where she has run. She has moved strictly to run there.

If she is spreading the lies about her movements and actions that you detailed, then we can say; "won't she make a wonderful minister in the Anglican Church".

 

AppalledBC

Caisse, how did that happen? Six times. wow.

AppalledBC

KenS,

 

I don't disagree with your take on the media.  I'd follow the new, exciting story too.  I do know why of necessity she is/was no longer the story and of necessity they had to shift where interest was.  and you're right:  her exclusion from the debate did indeed give her considerable media exposure, but I don't think that potentially outweighs the exposure she might have had had she been in the debates and what kind of media interst that might have generated.

AppalledBC

 

KenS,

Just to clarify a bit:  while it might be understandable why the national media shifted its focus to what it perceived as the main narratives in this election, the effect of that choice was nevertheless exclusionary. One can argue that that exclusion was justified, as you might, but nevertheless it removed substantive coverage of one of the five main parties that Canadians are considering in this election, and whether one supports that party or not, that's problematic. It would be problematic no matter which party. Had May been in the debates, perhaps the effect might not have been so severe.

You've made absolutely clear your disdain for May herself summarized, I suppose, in your memorable phrase “a charming and effective bullshitter.” Does that attitude extend to the Green Party itself, and, if so, why? Just curious. I do know that several in the Party were/are not happy with the decision by the brain trust to concentrate resources on May's riding and her own campaign, arguing that in doing so it was a significant disservice to all the other candidates. But I don't think that critique is a shot at the Party itself but at it's executive. 

 

 

KenS

I respect the Green Party and its activists. I'm as much of a 'lay expert' in party finances as exist, so part of what I know comes from that- but the depth of it only comes from personal relationships... including people who do not share my opinion of the chief bullshitter.

And the depth of my disdain is not entirely personal- and very little partisan driven. In fact, I give my opinion to party members as if I was in THEIR shoes. And the depth of my disdain is because I know I would be royally pissed if I was in their shoes.

For what its worth- "the executive" is an amorphous entity. In all parties it tends to be self-selecting. The smaller the party, the more so. And even for a small party, the degree of it in the Elizabeth May Party is extreme. Everyone who doesnt go with the program, even when it shifts on a dime... leaves, or is fired, or driven out... including no small number who were true beleivers until the day they got the boot or were just left by the side of the road.

Honestly- even if she happens to win her seat- and I do think this wave gives her a better shot.... the party is still going to need serious renewal. And good luck on that one if she is still around. She is IMPOSSIBLE for reasonable people to work with.

Her winning a seat will be very much a double edged sword for the future of the GPC. I'm capable of setting aside my disdain for people in charge. So if I was a Green, in principle I could do it. But I wouldnt want the problems for anything. Its only marginally better than the crisis if the gamble fails from her falling short.

AppalledBC

Thanks, KenS, for your take. I understand your position completely.  and it isn't just the GPC with such problems.  Acquaintances in the LPC quit when the Count was annointed, and they say it's an illusion that the grass roots has any real input on policy.  In the late 60's I flirted with the NDP* and at that time it seemed pretty open to grass roots perspective, but of course labour seemed to have a big voice in that matrix. Wonder what the Party's like now in that respect. Is grass roots perspective and input respected?  Are they any different from other political parties?  My gut says stay away from all parties, but remain poltically active outside. 

*I helped Margaret Murray run against Dalton Camp and Robert Kaplan in 68. We had absolutely no resources, but we had lots of fun with small groups of concerned citizens, coffee parties in homes, etc.  That sort of thing doesnt seem to happen anymore.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

The hell with May's voice. Here is the woman that the people of Saanich need to send to Ottawa.  I hope the orange wave gives us a real progressive MP there not a carpet bagging gadfly.  

Quote:

Edith Loring-Kuhanga, who was nominated last year as the federal NDP candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands, is a Saanich School Trustee and sits on the School District’s Green Committee.

She is President and owner of First Nations Training and Consulting Services Ltd, a successful small business that provides training and education.

Edith has been deeply involved in the Saanich-Gulf Islands community since she made it her home over 25 years ago. Edith was the recipient of the YMCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2002 for her years of work in education, training and development.

She was born and raised in north central BC, and obtained her education degree from the University of Victoria. She is a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, and her mother was a hereditary chief.

North Shore

Lots of noise on Twitter right now...seems that the Globe (and others?) are calling SGI for Elizabeth May!?

remind remind's picture

Congratulations Elizabeth and the Green Party

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, congratulations EM. A deserved seat.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Congratulations to May on her historic win.  The people in Saanich have spoken.

AppalledBC

Will her presence in Parliament make a difference, and, if so, in what ways?

Unionist

Nothing in Parliament will make any difference before 2015. The country will be governed from the PMO. And change will come from the mass movements.

KenS

Her presence is bound to make some difference in Parliament. But as to the Green Party, it was already in crisis over being the de facto Elizabeth May Party.

Winning the gamble was better than losing. But people are going to quickly find out it is not even close to the panacea and deliverance they expected. Different crisis to work out of than if she had lost.

Caissa

It guarantees her a spot in the next leaders' debate. Something Duceppe and Iggy won't be doing.

AppalledBC

Some of the Greens  voter #s are quite dismal.  That disservice to candidates I mentioned earlier has some legs, though the NDP surge certainly figures in that erosion. And there's a little irony in that surge as well since hunger for change and anti-Harper sentiment have come, it would seem, with a political price tag: NDP voters, especially in ON, appear to have helped  the Harperites inadvertently  to achieve their coveted majority by implicitly taking votes away from the Liberals,  thus allowing the  Harperies to win several 3-way races. 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

AppalledBC wrote:

 And there's a little irony in that surge as well since hunger for change and anti-Harper sentiment have come, it would seem, with a political price tag: NDP voters, especially in ON, appear to have helped  the Harperites inadvertently  to achieve their coveted majority by implicitly taking votes away from the Liberals,  thus allowing the  Harperies to win several 3-way races. 

This is a misreading of the results based on the common illusion that MOST liberal voters are progressive.  The Liberal party lost in Ontario because Iggy ran to the left of the NDP and scared his centre and centre right voters into the arms Harper.  It was Liberals who voted Conservative that gave them a majority not Liberals who voted NDP.

 

AppalledBC

Northern Shoveler, If so,other than in Quebec, where they migrated from the Bloc and, to some extent, the other federal parties, did the NDP surge voters migrate from any party elsewhere?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I think like all these things it depends on the riding.  There is no doubt though that some but not all voters switched from the Libs to the NDP.  Some switched to the Conservatives.  The LIberals claim they are a big tent party with members spanning across the centre. I actually believed them and I think if they had not bled votes from both sides of their tent the Conservatives would not have picked up seats.   

To people in Quebec the NDP is a brand new choice but not anywhere else.  The NDP gained in Atlantic Canada and BC as well as in Quebec.  The gerrymandering on the prairies to deny the majority urban population an urban voice is in my mind the most underreported story.

I can only hope that May remembers she was elected to oppose Harper not Layton.

AppalledBC

"I can only hope that May remembers she was elected to oppose Harper not Layton." Agreed. She claims she wants to co-operate with like-minded MPs from any party, but if what KenS says about her being an charming bullshitter has merit, hope is all we have. 

And your comment about the urban voice in the prairies is intruiging. 

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

The people of Saanich have given her a legitimate mandate to speak on their behalf and I trust they will punish her if her promises of a new way to do politics turns into the nasty back biting she has been know for in the past.  

I predict that in the next four years,  if she spends a good part of her air time trying to defeat the NDP,  the CBC will give May more coverage than the combined air time for all 12 of BC's NDP MP's.  If she takes the high road she will have less access to the air waves and as the election approaches and she needs air time she will not be able to resist becoming the Conservatives best weapon in BC.  She now gets to prove what kind of leader she really is. 

iverglas

My maiden speech -- hello!

I just had to disappoint a European Green elsewhere on the internet, who had issued a warm welcome to May as an elected fellow eco-socialist.

That's ego-capitalist, of course, the Green Party in Canada being an official organ of Elizabeth May's body.

I know, I should be on the stage. But I thought I'd warm up here. ;)

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Northern Shoveler wrote:

[...] I can only hope that May remembers she was elected to oppose Harper not Layton.

And I can only hope you don't have any money riding on that.Laughing

iverglas wrote:

[...] I just had to disappoint a European Green elsewhere on the internet, who had issued a warm welcome to May as an elected fellow eco-socialist.

That's ego-capitalist, of course, the Green Party in Canada being an official organ of Elizabeth May's body. [...]

Spot on. I have three good things to say about Ms. May's win:

1) at least she doesn't have a penis

2) one less card-carry Conservative conservative (heavy, heavy emphasis on the words card-carrying)

3) perhaps those who have voted based on the Green branding (has that been TM'd yet?) will actually pay attention to what she says, does and votes -- of course I would be more sympathetic to the Green brand (same question) if I didn't pay attention to messy things like history and details.

 

 

AppalledBC

iverglas & bagkitty,

 

WOW! That pretty well shuts down any further discussion.  I'm out of here and Rabble after that, though I did enjoy the discussions on proportional representation and hockey that those entries of mine generated. and I did learn something from KenS, who tried his best to fully restrain himself, and Northern Shoveler, who was tactfully critical in his responses.  I appreciate the respect.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Buh-bye AppalledBC -- sorry if my clearly identifying Ms. May (and Mr. Harris before her) as being in favour of "all the environmentalism the free market can provide" poses such a challenge to your world-view that you feel you have to beat a retreat. I thought I had always made a clear distinction between the May/Harris leadership (both of whom, admittedly, I have no time for) and the Green party activists and voters... my primary disagreement with party and voting base being that I think we need "more environmentalism than the free market can provide".