Wednesday, August 12, 2009

W Minus 53: Time for a Little Damage Control

(originally posted at

So, the Vancouver Sun is reporting that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has formally made the decision to run in Saanich-Gulf Islands in the next election (thanks go to Mark Kersten for bringing this story to my attention here in Central Ontario...I don't typically read the Vancouver Sun, living in Sudbury and all).

Interestingly, The Vancouver Sun also reports that Elizabeth was approached by Liberal Party President Alf Apps earlier this summer, to find out whether she'd be interested in joining Michael Ignatieff's Party. The Sun reports that Elizabeth declined, but indicated that she would happily serve as Environment Minister in a Liberal government.

Interesting. Not sure what that was all about. Perhaps a misquote. Perhaps just something tongue-in-cheek. Surely, Elizabeth, you weren't being serious? Perhaps there were a couple of qualifiers in there not reported by the Sun, such as you first being elected as a Green MP, and then, presuming a minority situation in Parliament, the Greens join a formal coalition with the Liberals.

Michael "Tar Sands" Ignatieff and his Liberal Party do not represent the Green values that our Party stands for. They will not take needed action on the environment. What we'll get from the Liberals is window-dressing at best. I'm not sure whose interests would be served should Elizabeth May accept the position of Environment Minister in Ignatieff's cabinent, particularly should Ignatieff win a majority.

Elizabeth, your first response to Alf Apps was the appropriate one: "Thanks but no thanks." No more really needed to be said about this, especially going into a campaign where you will be asking Greens from across Canada to help you get elected. Look, we really want to help you, so that you can be the Leader of the Green Party and a sitting MP in the House. I'm not sure that we'd feel the same way if the goal is to have you join Michael Ignatieff's cabinent.

The good news for the rest of us Green is that Ignatieff won't be looking to turn to our Party for a cabinent posting, given the number of long-serving Liberals likely to be returned to office in the next election. But I have to wonder what on Earth this sort of speculation achieves, other than to frustrate current members of the Party who really want to work towards getting someone elected? This blurring of Party lines between Red and Green does not appear to me to serve the strategic interests of our Party, and in the eyes of some would make our Leader look like a bit of an opportunist again (recall the discussion about her being appointed to the Senate in the Dion-Layton Coalition...which admittedly would have been a heck of a lot better than Mike Duffy, but I digress).

Now, I know that I'm liable to get called out by all sides for writing this post, given that I have been and remain a strong supporter of Elizabeth May. For me, though, the Party has always been paramount, and of course I am concerned when I hear about these sorts of mixed messages. I'm sorry to be so critical, especially since it's very likely that the Vancouver Sun simply did an edit of what was actually said by Elizabeth. Nonetheless, let's cut down this speculation.

Instead of "Elizabeth Chooses SGI", this story may very well be, "Elizabeth Wants to be Iggy's Environment Minister".

Let's have no more speculation about what might happen after the election, and instead let's focus on getting Greens elected.

This was a mis-step. Campaign Committee, it's time for damage control mode. Right now.


Patrick Ross said...

My opinion of Elizabeth May is that her personal ambition knows few bounds, and she certainly doesn't think of her party before she thinks of those ambitions.

For example, her suggestion that she -- the Green party leader -- would happily serve as Minister of the Environment in a Liberal government (a Liberal government that, as you have noted here, likely will not share Green party environmental priorities) seems to support the suspicions of those who believe she is navigating the Green party into junior party status.

It's hard to take the Green party seriously if all it wants to be as a junior partner to the Liberals. Elizabeth May should stop to think about this, but somehow she never does.

Of course she'll insist that she doesn't endorse the Liberals to govern the country, but most Canadians really do know differently.

Ken S from Ramara said...

Miss Liz, you have confused your supporters yet again. Haven't you learned from your mistakes from the 2008 campaign? Do you really want your supporters to vote Green, or are you again telling Canadians to vote strategically for Iggy, so to bring about the defeat the Reformatory menace?

Patrick Ross said...

Because you know that worked out so well in 2008, too.