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.