Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Green in the Leaders Debate

I am very happy to see sense prevail in the decision on who can be in the leader`s debate and Elizabeth May has been dropped.   This means the leaders``debate this time around will only have four leaders, the first time that the number has been this low since the 1988 election.

I know the Greens are outraged they are not in the debate, but Elizabeth May was allowed in last time because she had one MP, Blair Wilson.  Blair Wilson was a disgraced Liberal that crossed to the Greens shortly before the election.

This will be the fourth election that the Greens will be running a more or less full slate and their hopes of electing an MP remains very slim.   The Greens need to face facts that as a party they have not grown significantly since Jim Harris got them to run a full slate in 2004.

At this time the Green party of Canada is more a machine to elect one person, Elizabeth May, than a serious political party.   The party should be at a point where it should be able to be serious threats in at least a dozen ridings.   The reality is that they are a possible threat in one riding.

Andre Arthur has more of a claim to be in the debate than Elizabeth May.  He has been elected MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier as an independent in 2006 and 2008.   He managed to do this even though he has almost no resources to manage to win.  In contrast the Greens have had over $1.5 million per year to organize a party and they have been singularly unsucessful.

Helena Geurgis, a sitting independent MP, has a better chance to winning a seat than Elizabeth May does.  The same is true with independent candidate James Ford in Edmonton Sherwood Park.

Former leader Jim Harris did an amazing job of taking the Green Party of Canada from the realms of one of the host of minor parties to a national party and he did this without any money.   The fact he took the party to a full slate in 2004 is one of the biggest miracles of Canadian politics.  

Since Elizabeth May has taken over as the the Green Party leader, the party has stopped growing and has in fact become a vehicle for her personal political ambitions.   With millions of dollars having been available to the party for the last three years, it is amazing how little has been done to build  the party.   It is also amazing how little the party has been on the national scene since the election started.

Finally, the party made a huge error in 2008 in having Elizabeth May seeking to run against Peter Mackay and now in having her run against Gary Lunn.   The simple reality is that the Greens only have a theoretical chance of winning in ridings that are above average wealth, urban, and have existing three way races.   The seats they could win are almost all currently held by the Liberals or NDP.

If Elizabeth May had chosen to run one riding to the south, Victoria, she had a decent chance of getting elected because the numbers are there for her to win.   Choosing Central Nova in 2008 and Saanich and Gulf Islands in 2011 simply highlights that she is not interested in being a Green but is interested in becoming an MP and not burning bridges with the parties she will eventually join.

After Elizabeth May loses in this election, she will quit as Green leader and she will either join the Liberals or will run to replace Jack Layton, who will be retiring shortly after the election.


Ryan Conroy said...

You should be careful in calling Blair Wilson a "disgraced liberal". He has since been cleared of any wrongdoing and the slanderous allegations made against him have since been shown to have been part of a post-marital spat. In politics it's guilty even if proven innocent I guess.

Elizabeth May deserves to be in the leadership debate because the Green Party represents the views of one in ten Canadians. No independant candidate can claim to be speaking for such a broad base of supporters.

Getting rid of Duceppe as well would only ensure nothing of substance gets discussed by the talking hair do's.

Anonymous said...

Given how skewed our electoral system is, I would be careful about basing eligibility to be in the leadership debate on the number of seats won. I do not vote Green but respect the fact that nearly 1 million Canadians across the country did so in 2008. Yes, the Bloc gained a large number of seats but it did not receive too many more votes than did the Greens.

Bernard said...

If round, the number of votes was 900,000 - this 1,000,000 number is an right.

One seat is not a hard task, it a actually a very reasonable requirement in our system. The reason the Greens have not won a seat is because the Greens are very badly organized and have not taken the time to learn how to win an election or how to build a party.

If we based it on party membership, the Greens would be far, far behind the other parties.