Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can Elizabeth May win as Green?

I am asking this at this time because in the latest Australian election the Greens managed to elect on MP to their house of representatives.   This week has seen the election of Adam Bandt to the seat of Melbourne in the Australian election.

We also saw the election of the Green party leader Caroline Lucas in the 2010 UK election.

Australia is the alternate vote electoral system, so it is not as directly comparable, but the UK uses the same first the past the post system we have in Canada.  In either case it does say that it is possible for a Green to be directly elected in something similar to our system here.   So does this mean Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May win here in Saanich - Gulf Islands?  I think the answer is no.

Melbourne in Australia is a long term safe Labor seat, the party has held it for 106 years before losing it this week.   It is something like East Vancouver as a seat.  It is not at all like Saanich - Gulf Islands.

Brighton Pavilion was won by the Green with less than 32% of the vote and could easily been won by Labour.   The seat had been held by Labour since 1997.  It is an upper middle class white collar commuter seat.  It is more like Oak Bay and Fairfield in Victoria than Broadmead or Sidney.   It is significantly to the left of Saanich - Gulf Islands.   The result of 31.3% by Caroline Lucas is worse than the second place finisher in Saanich - Gulf Islands in three of the last five elections.   It is also significantly below the lowest right wing support seen in the riding.

In both cases the Green was elected because there was a large enough centre to left vote to allow a split of that vote to elect a Green.    Better seats in Canada for the Greens would be Ottawa Centre, Kingston and the Islands, Scarborough Southwest, Beaches East York, Davenport, Welland, Vancouver Kingsway, Vancouver Centre, and Victoria.
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