Monday, March 25, 2013

The Very Political Machinations of the Green Party

A couple of days ago, news came to light that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had brought down an edict from on high that her party would not run a candidate in the upcoming Labrador by-election, ostensibly to avoid "splitting the vote."

This topic came up during the Saturday #LPCLdr debate in Montreal, broached by Joyce Murray as an example of "progressive co-operation." Justin Trudeau probably had one of the better lines of the night, applauding the move but underlining the fact that with or without a Green candidate, the Liberals would invite all to support our party. I agree.

But here's what one should also note: the Elizabeth May and the Green Party are not doing this out of some high idealism. They're doing it because they know it makes them look good.

No matter what anyone says, May and anyone worth their organizational salt within the Green Party are first and foremost political creatures. Just like every other Party in the House of Commons. The Greens like to play up the post-partisan angle, but like anyone else they want power and they're going to make decisions that will benefit them. If those decisions also benefit Canadians, that's a bonus.

Its a cynical thing to say, but it is how politics works. If you're not interested in climbing the ladder to power, none of your ideas will be implemented. Politics is a game, and all need to play it. Go watch House of Cards, it will explain all. Both British and American versions.

Anyways, hark back to the last set of by-elections. No one can say at that time that May and the Greens were not aware of the possibility of a vote split in Victoria and Calgary Centre. Yet, as we saw, they ran candidates anyways. Why? Because the chance for the Greens to win more seats, and more power, was a greater goal than the Greens usual blathering about electing the progressive option.

If the Greens were truly interested in co-operation, they would not have run candidates. Instead, they would have stepped back to allow the NDP in Victoria and the Liberals in Calgary Centre become the "progressive option." But, they knew they had a chance to win, or at the very least to increase their vote in a big way, and they took it, consequences and vote splitting be damned.

Now, shift over to Labrador. In NL, they don't even have a provincial Green Party; in Labrador, their electoral district association was deregistered in 2008*; and in 2011, they earned 139 votes, 1.3% of the total. The difference between the Cons and Libs was only 79 votes, but no one can seriously expect me to believe that, had the Greens not run a candidate in an election with huge NDP momentum, that 57.5% of Green voters would shift to the Liberals and give them a win.

With those facts above in mind, think about the Green's new position on not running a candidate in the election.

Exactly. Running a Green candidate in Labrador would amount to a relatively useless proposition, and maybe even a negative loss for the Greens, as they'd have to put up the money to support a candidate and actually look like they're involved. Why do that?

Instead, they've opted for not even bothering to run a candidate, and reap the benefits of good press about how they're helping to promote a "progressive option." This is the better choice for them, as it helps strengthen in the mind of people out there that the Greens are the ones acting on this idea. Nevermind the fact that, when offered the chance to pull out their candidate and make a real difference in Calgary Centre, they didn't even consider going down that route.

Yeah, I don't buy the crap you're selling, Greens. No one else should either.

* - sadly, ours was deregistered in 2012, apparently from a lack of documents given to Elections Canada. Why is that? Not like we don't have active Liberals in Labrador, unlike the Greens, who self-deregistered. Hm.


  1. That's how I feel too. May, again inserted herself and her faux idealism of moral political high ground.

    And now Lab Liberals are doing infighting - publicly - and Russel has stated publicly that he won't support Jones.

    1. Where are you seeing the friction between Russell and Jones? I can't seem to find it.

      And by friction, I mean actual friction - I can see Russell not supporting Jones because of his position.

    2. Nevermind, CBC has covered it. Russell needs to get over it - if he's seriously going to whine because a competitor didn't want to wait for him to set the stage for the nomination, then I'm not necessarily sad to see him stay out of the race. Petulant doesn't do justice to that statement.

    3. I think Russell had the right of first refusal here.

    4. There is no such thing as "right" of first refusal it isn't a thing - or it shouldn't be a thing. Incumbents or former incumbents need to fight for the nomination, just as a challenger would. If you want to give them time to decide out of respect, sure - but if you don't, they shouldn't whine about a privilege that could be extended to them, but wasn't. There should be no entitlements within this party.

  2. And yet, May's idea remains a good one. Don't ignore a good idea out of a supposed poor motive. Thinking like that, given that politics taints everything, nothing good would ever get done.

    1. I also disagree with her idea, so its a double whammy for me.

      Even if you're correct, I question her sincerity. Sure, good idea - but obviously not one that May has any intention of following, unless it benefits her party. Take up your concerns with her, in that case.

  3. I was amused today to see Elizabeth May, Leader of the Federal Green Party, suggesting that both the Greens and NDP should not run candidates in the Labrador by-election in order to unite the anti-Conservative supporters under one banner. She makes the suggestion based on the 2011 General Election results wherein the Liberal candidate came second.

    Putting aside the fact that the Green Party did not follow their own advice in the recent by-elections in Calgary, Victoria and Durham. If they had done so, the by-election in Calgary Centre would have featured a Conservative-Liberal race, the Durham riding would have had a Conservative-NDP race and the Victoria riding would have had an NDP-Conservative battle. There would have been no Green candidates in any of the races.

    However, I thought it might be interesting to see just how Ms. May's advice would work across the country.

    Presuming her position is to unite the vote behind a single candidate in opposition to the Conservative candidate, I have calculated the following information based on the election results of May 2011.

    NDP 103 seats elected, Liberals 34 seats elected and Green Party 1 seat elected for a total of 138 out of 308.

    The unity candidate in those seats would be the incumbent 'Progressive Candidate".

    Now to look at the 170 seats won by other parties.


    - 170 CON/BQ 57 Liberal second place 112 NDP second place 1 Green second place

    Using these numbers as the deciding point of who should be the unity candidate, the NDP would have 103 incumbents plus 112 second place for a total of 215 candidates, the Liberals would have 34 incumbents plus 57 second place candidates for a total of 91 candidates and the Green Party would have 1 incumbent and 1 second place for a total of 2 candidates.

    Is Elizabeth May actually suggesting that the 3 federalist-progressive parties reduce the number of Green candidates to 2 and Liberal candidates to less than a third of the seats in Parliament?

    She has been very vocal today criticizing Thomas Mulcair for rejecting her initiative. If I was Mulcair I would respond by simply suggesting that if such a plan is good for a by-election, why not make it the plan for the next General Election?

    I am sure that even the most die-hard of partisan New Democrats would sign on to such a plan.

    Of course, getting the Greens and Liberals to agree might be a little harder.

    and Harper would have kittens at the thought of such an unified approach...hmm , maybe that is how to sell it?

  4. Here is the breakdown on the seats by province/territory

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    - one CON elected, 1 Liberal second place 0 NDP second place 0 Green second place

    Prince Edward Island

    - one CON elected, 1 Liberal second place 0 NDP second place 0 Green second place

    New Brunswick

    - eight CON elected, 2 Liberal second place, 6 NDP second place 0 Green second place

    Nova Scotia

    - four CON elected, 1 Liberal second place, 3 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - five CON elected, 0 Liberal second place 5 NDP second place 0 Green second place

    - four BQ elected, 1 Liberal second place, 3 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - 73 CON elected 39 Liberal second place 33 NDP second place 1 Green second place


    - 11 CON elected 3 Liberal second place 8 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - 13 CON elected 0 Liberal second place 13 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - 27 CON elected 3 Liberal second place 24 NDP second place 0 Green second place

    British Columbia

    - 21 CON elected 4 Liberal second place 17 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - 2 CON elected 2 Liberal second place 0 NDP second place 0 Green second place


    - 170 CON/BQ 57 Liberal second place 112 NDP second place 1 Green second place

  5. well Kyle, come on. For a Liberal to publicly state that he won't be supporting Jones is interesting. Let's see, "Meanwhile, Russell took a shot at Yvonne Jones, a Liberal representative in Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature and a former provincial party leader. Jones declared her intention to seek the Liberal nomination the morning after Penashue announced his resignation in the house.

    "I was disappointed that Ms. Jones made such a hasty decision," Russell said. "I would have hoped that I would have had the liberty, the freedom to make my decision without that added consideration."'

    So taking a shot, disappointed and so on! So public discord is not good for the Liberals, beside not having a riding association.

    1. I agree it isn't good, though I think it will blow over. That doesn't change the fact that Russell is acting like a petulant child that gets mad because someone else got to play with a toy first. Jones had every right to make that decision, Russell was too slow on the uptake. He could've run if he wanted to, but instead he's just whining. Sorry, I'm not sympathetic, dunno why anyone else would be either.

      The EDA issue is an interesting one. I'm not sure what happened, though the Liberals can still nominate a candidate in the riding. Its possible that, like many EDAs, it was just a vehicle for Russell that fell apart after he left - I can't tell you how many times I've heard that story in the GTA! Its a big problem that, while being worked on, remains an issue in our party.

      But, as I said, it isn't as if there are no active Liberals in Labrador. Provincially there are quite a few, Jones being the biggest name among them. Federally they're there, just dormant for some stupid reason. Maybe they'll wake up now.

    2. Remember that when Jones lost the Liberal nomination in her provincial riding she ran as an independent and got elected that way. Jones has never been a "team player"