Monday, March 28, 2011

Do Not Elect Elizabeth May - Elect Renée Hetherington Instead

One of my fellow Libloggers has decidedly come out in argument that Elizabeth May, the Leader of the Green Party who is now running in Saanich-Gulf Islands, BC, should be elected, as she's apparently just that darn awesome. Other Libloggers I suspect as well hold this opinion, though I doubt its the majority.

Well, I'm here to say to our friends in Saanich-Gulf Islands and elsewhere say that you shouldn't elect Lizzy May to Parliament, but instead elect local SGI Liberal Party candidate Renée Hetherington instead, who truly is awesome, and will do an awesome job as MP.

Let me lay down some realities for you: the Green Party is not going to elect many candidates. One is a maybe, two a stretch, and three is the absolute maximum - but no more. That's a simple fact. The Greens don't have enough momentum, organization, or money to do much more than that. And I'll tell you right now, three members of Parliament, more likely just one, is not effective representation.

While yes, Independent MPs can do a fair job, the fact is that they don't hold a lot of weight in Parliament. How often do you hear André Arthur or Helena Guergis in the news (excluding the latter's particular situation) or standing up in Parliament? How often do you see anything out of these politicians? Not a heck of a lot, because they are just one of 308 members, and because they're not part of parties, they're never on the agenda.

What SGI needs is not what essentially amounts to an independent MP, it needs a voice in Parliament, a voice that will fight for the environment in an effective, collective manner. That is Renée Hetherington to a T - she is huge on the environment, she knows what SGI and the region need, and she will be apart of what we hope to be a strong Liberal caucus, one that will have more than one or two members sitting in the House of Commons, one that will fight Stephen Harper and Gary Lunn, and one that will serve Canadians in an effective manner.

Furthermore, it's obvious that with three opposition candidates running in SGI, vote-splitting will be inevitable. In the last election, however, with the dropping of the NDP candidate, then-Liberal candidate Briony Penn came within 4% of knocking out Gary Lunn - voting splitting with Green candidate Andrew Lewis and the remaining 5% of votes for Julian West's redundant candidacy kept SGI from having better representation than Lunn can ever offer. With this election, all parties are running at full strength - but Gary Lunn will be laughing all the way back to Ottawa because the other three parties split the vote.

So if you want to have effective, strong representation in Ottawa, a Member of Parliament that will work for the good Liberal values of caring for our environment, of strong but compassion-minded finances, and a Prime Minister that will respect Canadian democracy and work with citizens to make Parliament accountable and actually work for once, you need to vote for Renée Hetherington - she is the only candidate who can offer you the full package. Not Elizabeth May.

32 comments:

  1. I believe that your argument is predicated on a false assumption; ie. that electing May is essentially the same as electing an independent. The problem is that as the leader of a party which is garnering a significant number of votes across the country, her function in the House would not simply be as a single MP. The argument, and I think a strong one, is that by electing the leader of a new party, she could make a significant contribution to changing the political discourse of the country. The media would obviously pay more attention to May than to an average independent MP and her positions would have a certain degree of coverage. This could have an impact on people's ideas and eventually on the general political agenda.

    I am not saying that I would vote for her or that I necessarily want her in the House, but I understand this argument and I think, though you are obviously a LPC supporter, your argument is still a specious one.

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  2. I disagree, kirby. She is essentially just an independent MP. Deb Grey when she was first elected made a huge breakthrough, but afterwords languished despite representing a big party, until 1993 of course when she gained 51 friends. May is not going to be a big hit in Parliament, and she won't be much different - maybe she'll get some more time on air, but not much else.

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  3. I agree with you Kyle, and Volkov. Vote for Ignatieff's candidate in this riding. We need a strong showing and every single seat is going to count!

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  4. Or better still vote for the NDP candidate because every vote counts and so far the Libs under Iggy are going downhill.

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  5. Oh ya, next you're going to remind us of how Jack Layton promised he'd be Prime Minister. Remember, you have Jack Layton and the NDP to thank for Harper becoming Prime Minister in the first place. The NDP have been nothing more than a third place party in Canada and always will be. If you want to stop Harper your best bet is with the Liberals ... always has been.

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  6. Elizabeth May is the leader of a party that runs candidates in all ridings and in 2008 earned a million votes. It's disingenuous to compare Elizabeth May to an independent. A comparison to Deborah Grey circa 1989 would be much more accurate.

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  7. SGI voters should be honoured to have the opportunity to elect a Green to Parliament! It's Time!

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  8. I think that it is time for all those Canadians who want to see a change in our democracy and policies related to sustainable living to have a voice in Parliament. The time has come to act on Climate Change and to address all of the issues the crop up due to it. It's time to have that Green voice in government. Before it's too late. I hope that the people of SGI do the rest of the Green voters proud on E-Day, and vote for Elizabeth May!

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  9. We might indeed not elect many Green MPs, but what an awesome voice they will have! Start thinking about change rather than more of the old.

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  10. Elizabeth May is a strong voice that speaks the truth...she will take that truth to the house, demanding constructive conversation through cooperation. The Green Party received nearly 1 million votes in '08 and didnt get a place to share their views. Our system is not fair and we need Elizabeth's Green Voice to be in Ottawa.
    Meet her, be informed, be engaged, be a part of history and support Elizabeth May

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  11. David Baglar,

    I disagree, it's not disingenuous at all. She will be but one MP, the only face of a small protest party that unlike Deb Grey and Reform has no large natural constituency to count on to bump them in the next election. From a riding point of view, she can surely represent SGI, but she'll be ineffective. That's just a fact.

    Jocelyn,

    It's time to have Hetherington elected, I agree. :p

    Marls,

    Renee Hetherington cares passionately about the very same issues and can be apart of a greater caucus and more effective collective voice. Why should SGI voters choose May, other than novelty, when they can get the complete package with the Liberals?

    Anyways, I should add that I don't mean to demean the Green Party, I do respect your group and your candidates. However, I don't see Lizzy May as a credible MP or, to be honest, leader for your group.

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  12. Thomas, justin,

    The fact is, she won't change anything. The system we have right now is one of party standings and collective membership. I agree she can be a voice, but not one that will be effective for those issues you care about, and not effective for SGI.

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  13. All new parties start out small...just like a tidal wave. Sure, we may only get one...or three...but next time...! Wouldn't you like the Leader of a party to be your MP?

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  14. Not if its Lizzy May, though that's a personal choice.

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  15. The comment was not disingenuous it was factual. While the Green Party will have party status in the election, Elizabeth May on her own in the House of Commons will not have party status. In the House of Commons she will have no more privileges than an independent MP. To suggest otherwise is in fact disingenuous and misleading to voters.

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  16. I think a single Green MP, and especially the leader of the Green Party of Canada would make a much larger and significant difference than one more Liberal backbencher.

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  17. Bagler,

    I disagree. I've seen Andrew Kania more times than I've seen Andre Arthur.

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  18. I caution against confusing "being seen" with "making a real difference in the lives of Canadians and the residents of SGI"

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  19. Bagler,

    They're essentially the same. An MP needs to be visible, both in the riding and out of it; Lizzy May can't do one, though she could do the other. Hetherington can offer both. I'm just saying that if you wanted a strong progressive and environmentalist MP in SGI that will have an effective voice, Hetherington is your best bet.

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  20. They are related, but not the same. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree and in the meantime I'll keep working to get Elizabeth May elected.

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  21. Ha, fair enough, Dave. I'll keep rooting for Renee as well. Good luck, though!

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  22. I think that as the Leader of the Green Party AND the first elected Green MP in Canadian history, Elizabeth May would have much more of a "voice" in parliament than just another Liberal MP.

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  23. As a novelty, sure - but only for a little while. Even Deb Grey's shine wore off after a month or two.

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  24. Greens have a Global charter, a global movement. That is not independent, that is collective. Voting for Elizabeth May will have great and positive impact on Canadian politics. What can one person do, I wish to turn your attention to the latest elections in Germany - first Green Minister-President.

    “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein.

    Vote Green - its's time!

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  25. A very good point, there is strength in numbers, and there are a lot of Greens. Did you read about the Green success in Germany on Sunday? Google it, great job Greens!

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  26. fortegrity,

    You can say the same about the members of the Natural Law Party. The fact is, in Parliament, Lizzy May would have zero effective voice or control. Zero. She would essentially work as an independent.

    And yes, I know the Germany success, though I doubt you folks understand some of the politics behind why it ended up as it has - and it's not necessarily to do with the Green movement, but more the leadership and politics of the left-wing of Germany.

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  27. How about Greens success to do with the world as a microcosm being effected by nuclear power, something that Greens are against. No nuclear power, no radioactive iodine. Pretty simple. It's now been detected in England and British Columbia. Actually standing up against something. That's where the German Greens found the power, and people can see that we are the right choice for the future. Think about your own self... your health, your children's health... Greens do that for you.

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  28. Marls - I like nuclear power. :)

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  29. Before she had political aspirations, Renee has long been deeply concerned about the issues of climate change and environmental policy. She cares for the planet as much as any Green voter, but I know Renee has much more to offer than just passion: EXPERTISE and BALANCE. She's a brilliant business woman and scientist who has authored textbooks on humans and climate change (see The Climate Connection), gives invited presentations at international climate science conferences, publishes in and has been an editor for prestigious scientific journals,... it goes on! This is not a woman in it to simply tow the Liberal party line! Renee is a mover and is exactly the kind of person Canada needs in our political system: a CONSCIENTIOUS EXPERT. May is just another politician with a green coat of paint. There's no comparison in my book.

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  30. Thank you, Jamie. I agree. :D

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  31. Interesting comments, and we all know the outcome. As a voter from the Saanich Gulf Islands who attended a debate of all four candidates and studied their platforms, I must say I was more impressed with Renee than I was with Ms May. Ms May is very much a politician, albeit a green one. She misrepresented some facts in the debate which lost my vote. The debate, and much of the activity, was like a green dominated frenzy. I really liked the NDP candidate, a first nations woman, teacher and businesswoman. Capable opponents, but it looked like all the eggs went into the Green basket to get Ms May elected. Too much of the vote was split, all to get in someone who just wants to make history. Not a good enough reason, since the platform is G for goofy in my estimation.

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