(originally published at www.greenparty.ca ; slight modifications from the original, with reference to context appear at the end of this post)
I just finished reading GPC Federal Councillor Camille Labchuk's excellent blogpost regarding a news release from Renee Hetherington, the recently nominated Liberal Candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands. Apparently, this is Hetherington's first official news release since becoming the nominated candidate, and in it she was quick to take aim not at her own accomplishments, but instead at the apparent defects of Elizabeth May. Specifically, Hetherington's people (there is no quote from Hetherington herself) take exception to May's comments pertaining to the"overwhelming" support that she's received in SGI, and point to the lack of votes cast at the Green Party's nomination meeting as evidence that May's assertions are unfounded.
Asking whether Elizabeth May should be considered a "Jolly Green Giant, or a Sad Little Sprout" as a result of low voter turn-out at the September 19/09 SGI EDA candidate nomination meeting, the press release goes on to suggest that May doesn't stand a chance of appealing to small-c conservative voters in the SGI riding.
Camille Labchuk's blogpost is bang on: The Liberals have come out swinging from the gutters already with this whacky news release. For Hetherington and her people to suggest that Elizabeth May (whose environmental credentials are too numerous for me to list here, lest I wear my fingers out from typing) is anything but a true giant is just nuts. The suggestion that voter turn out at the nomination meeting (described as having "56 votes cast") is somehow a reflection on her stature is crazy, used for the purpose obfuscation, and part of the political gaming that we've come to expect from the Liberal Party.
Rather than taking the opportunity to introduce voters to Ms. Hetherington, the Liberal Team in place there decided to strike out against it's biggest adversary, Elizabeth May. I also find it highly ironic that former Liberal candidate Briony Penn would suggest that May and the Greens don't have a hope in SGI because there are too many small "c" conservatives, who would find the Liberals more appealing. I'm not sure on what Ms. Penn is basing this assertion, given that the Liberals have consistently failed to articulate much in the way of any vision at all which would be appealing to voters across the country, while Greens have had a strong set of policies in place now for years which continue to appeal to conservative voters.
I hope that voters across our nation begin to realize that they are being treated with great disrespect by the old-line parties, who don't want to discuss the incredibly important issues which are facing Canadians today, and substitute important dialogue with political rhetoric, spin, and game-playing. In the next election, the voters in SGI will be at the forefront of being able to embrace a different kind of political paradigm, choosing this new way of looking at politics over the old, ineffective and insulting mannerisms of the old-line parties.
In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to continue to put up with this sort of nonsense from those parties. I just don't fathom how anyone can believe that name-calling and trying to belittle one's opponent is at all a substitute for well-considered policies and rational debate.
One last item: If the report of 56 votes having been cast is correct (and I've no reason to believe that it isn't), I'd have to say JOB WELL DONE to Green Party Members and to the EDA Executive in SGI. Remember that this nomination contest was held with little opportunity for notice, in anticipation of a fall election happening. During the nomination contest period, remember that Elizabeth May would NOT have had the opportunity to sign up new members who could cast a ballot for her, given the Green Party's constitutional requirement that you must be a member of the Party for 30 days to cast a ballot. Since the contest itself was less than 30 days in length, only existing members of the SGI EDA would have been eligible to vote.
Now, I realize that this is a nuance which will always be lost on the Liberals, but the fact is that, without the ability to sell nominations, for the EDA to get 56 people out on a weekend to vote in a contest which really was all but a foregone conclusion is a pretty good accomplishment. The Liberal contest was a much closer affair, I'm sure, and likely both of its contestants were afforded the opportunity to sell new memberships prior to the contest being held. The two contests couldn't have been more different, and the lack of eligible voters in one is not at all suggestive that the other was somehow superior or more demonstrative of the dedication and committment of Party members.
But Liberal Party spin sounds much better than reality to Liberal supporters.
Thanks again to Camille Labchuk for bringing this issue to the blogosphere's attention. If you don't already follow Camille's blog (and those of other Greens), perhaps it's time that you did so. A great site for the latest in the Green blogosphere not appearing on this site is located at CanadianGreens.feedcluster.com. Check it out. There's more going on in the Green blogosphere than just what appears on the GPC site!
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