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Home: Blog--Guide to the Pundits' Guide

BLOG -- Guide to the Pundits' Guide

Sunday, August 23, 2009

UPDATED: May-Day in Saanich-Gulf Islands

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers !]

[UPDATE: See below for additional background.]

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is being challenged by a member of her own party for the nomination in her chosen riding of Saanich – Gulf Islands, BC.

May will have to deal with newly-declared candidate Stuart Hertzog of Victoria, a Greenpeace activist who has been involved with the Green Party in Alberta and British Columbia since 1983, and who is the publisher of the website GreenPolitics.ca.

In a blogpost published late yesterday entitled "Why I am standing as a nomination candidate", Hertzog says he became involved in grassroots activism because "Secret decisions were made behind closed doors, in cabinet or at private meetings with corporate CEOs and lobbyists," that could only be fought by winning the war for public opinion. However, unfortunately he has seen that "the same tendency towards anti-democratic centralisation has become dominant in Canada’s Green parties".

Hertzog says he disagrees with the decision of the Green Party of Canada's Federal Council to make electing the leader its overarching priority, saying that:
"[T]he ‘leader’ of a Green Party is supposed to be a spokesperson, not a dictator. The cult of leadership and its promotion by the corporate media is not Green. I believe that getting the leader of the Green Party elected won’t change anything, except to guarantee the flow of funds to central party coffers and reduce the Green party to being seen as just another bunch of untrustworthy politicians that make self-serving deals...."

"By desperately trying to become a mainstream political party, Green parties are in danger of losing their vision, and soul. It has been said that: 'Without vision, the people perish.' I say that without principles, politics is an empty charade...."

"Parachuting the leader of the Green Party into a foreign bioregion and pouring in the money, will not change Canadian politics by one iota."

"This is why I am standing as a nomination candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands, in my Island bioregion."
In my experience, it is unprecedented for the leader of a major political party to be challenged for the nomination in their chosen seat by a member of their own party. Perhaps any reader with a previous example of this could add it to the comment section below, and refresh our memories.

But the move strikes me as particularly significant because it comes from the left of the Green Party (Hertzog once worked within the Green Caucus of the BC NDP and ran under that banner in 1991), whereas May's most public critics to date have emerged from the right of the party.

And have no doubt, Saanich – Gulf Islands *is* May's chosen riding; the announcement of that decision, scheduled for September 8 in the campaign office already rented for her, is a mere formality by this point, and already widely known on the ground out there and elsewhere.

UPDATE: Hertzog's criticism of May's leadership style and his impending nomination challenge may have been presaged in his early August review of her last book, "Losing Confidence", in a blogpost Hertzog titled "Losing Confidence in Elizabeth May". In it, Hertzog praised her analysis of the problems with Canadian parliamentary democracy, but went on to say that May:
"... provides no practical suggestions as to how this mess can be cleaned up and a genuine democracy established. She knows the rules, but fails to grapple with the nature of the game...."

"Although she lays out clearly exactly what’s wrong with Canada’s parliamentary system, May’s thinking falls short in three vital aspects. First, her strategy for returning order to parliament is simplistic and ineffective; and second, while pointing her finger at elected politicians of other parties, she fails to realise that the same democratic deficit she describes in parliament, exists inside her own political party."

"Finally, does Elizabeth May and the federal council of the Green Party of Canada really believe that getting one or two Green MPs elected to a dysfunctional parliament in a far from democratic political system, will fundamentally alter the nature of Canadian politics? If they do, they are collectively dreaming in technicolour. Saving the Earth from the worst aspects of self-centred humanity will require bringing about an eco-centric and not an ego-centric, global culture."
So, Saanich – Gulf Islands will be living up to its billing as a "riding to watch" in yet one more election. Many observers have already noted that May must win a seat in order to forestall her critics from the right-wing of the party, who are planning a leadership challenge by former Ontario Green Party leader Frank de Jong at the next mandated party convention.

But now to get even that far, May will first have to contend with a nomination challenger from the other wing of her party. How she does so will determine to a large extent her ability to carry on as party leader past the convention and the next federal election, the exact ordering of which remains unknown.

Labels: ,

55 Comments:

Blogger John Ogilvie said...

The "left-right" thing doesn't apply that neatly.

Past critics such as David Chernushenko (and myself) have raised the same issues as Mr. Herzog. David used the words "autocratic approach" when he resigned, for example.

The GP's internal debates seem, historically, to be between "grassroots" vs "centrist" visions, not left-vs-right policy visions.

I guess this internal debate has become external in SGI.

August 23, 2009 6:28 AM  
Blogger Edmund said...

I can't help but think that even if May does get nominated, the other parties will use this as an opportunity to present their candidates as clean-cut, positive candidates untainted by party in-fighting.

If Hertzog wins it (or even if May wins with much less support than expected), there will be civil war in the Green Party of Canada. Critics of May will feel emboldened to make their move, which would be catastrophic prior to an (expected) election. Like her or not, May is known publicly nationwide. Whoever usurped her would have an impossible job to do to get their voice out there, with a resulting decline of Green fortunes across the country.

@ John Ogilvie: I think the grassroots v. centrist debate is not confined to the Green Party. Witness the efforts of the Reformistas in the Tories, or the socialists in the NDP, who would both dearly like to turn their parties to the respective hard right/hard left. In those cases, the grassroots v centrist tendencies can be framed as left/right v centrist.

August 23, 2009 6:42 AM  
Blogger Sebastian Ronin said...

I love it! He even rubs in some more salt by daring to voice the dastardly word (and political notion) “bioregion” and then daring to further modify his point with “foreign:”

“Parachuting the leader of the Green Party into a foreign bioregion and pouring in the money, will not change Canadian politics by one iota.”

August 23, 2009 7:14 AM  
Blogger jad said...

Does May have the same right other party leaders do to appoint a candidate ? If so, she could simply end discussion by appointing herself, although that might not be a very popular move.

I'm not sure about this whole left/right, grassroots/centrist thingie. I think the challenge to May has a lot more to do with the fact that people out here on Van Isle, and even more so on some of the smaller islands, are very independent. The idea of rolling over because they have been given the "opportunity" to elect the first Green MP just does not turn us on. We're a long way from Ottawa, and local politics are a great deal more important than partisan politics.

August 23, 2009 8:20 AM  
Blogger Sebastian Ronin said...

jad, re "rolling over."

Unfortunately, that notion did not appear in the dictionary nor in the vocabulary of Central Nova Liberals.

August 23, 2009 8:24 AM  
Blogger Paul Hamilton said...

I commend Mr. Hertzog for taking a stand on this important issue. As a voter, too often I feel disenfranchised because my choices are limited by the dictates of centralized party machinery, which is distant and remote. It is no surprise to me that increasing numbers of Canadians are tuning out the whole political process, especially federal politics.

August 23, 2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 23, 2009 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is outrageous.

It seems like the Green Party is being split into two - between the old guard of the environmental movement, and the new young Green supporters.

The old guard seems obsessed with protecting their egos. The Green Party must speak with one voice, and the members have chosen Elizabeth May to be that voice. When she exercises that responsibility, outliers in the party who have no shot at being elected and who are married to their idealistic view of the party stand in her way.

It is obvious to anyone familiar with national politics that the Green Party must start acting more like a political party, and less like a loose coalition of environmental interests.

If it does not do this, it will lose whatever popular support it has. People will vote Green once, twice, even three times, but if they don't see the Green Party achieving any of its goals, and see little sign that it will in the future, they will move their votes to another party.

So to Mr. Hertzog, I have this to say: get on the team, or get out of the way. The future of the party depends on it. There is more at stake here than your ego.

August 23, 2009 9:29 AM  
Blogger Sebastian Ronin said...

Anonymous, you May lackeys are so erudite with your propaganda, not to mention your anonymous courage.

August 23, 2009 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The only reason Ms. May is running in that riding or ANY riding is to be able to get a nice gold plated pension once elected.
She has made it quite clear as a NGO for years there is nothing in her coffers to keep the wolf from the door.
It is all a sham

August 23, 2009 12:14 PM  
Blogger Éric said...

There are easier ways to get a pension.

Being elected as the first Green Party MP is not exactly a guaranteed winning lottery ticket.

August 23, 2009 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you May lackeys are so erudite with your propaganda, not to mention your anonymous courage.

Does it matter who I am? I will remain anonymous because it's the words that matter, not who they are coming from.

And you're right in a sense. If it was people like yourself and Mr Hertzog running the party still, I'd never vote for it, much less be a member and contributor.

Myself and others like me care about the issues, such as real action against climate change. Having a Green voice in the House of Commons is a requirement to keep any momentum the Green Party might have moving in the right direction.

Indeed, if May had have stubbornly stuck to her un-winnable Nova Scotia riding, I would have walked away from the party, choosing instead to use my small but growing amount of influence to try to exact change from inside a more pragmatic party.

Perhaps you consider any involvement in mainstream politics to be buying into the propaganda. But the fact remains that Canadians want to vote for mainstream parties. Those same mainstream parties are the ones that make the decisions that affect our country.

And Elizabeth May has been the most effective politician the party has yet seen. Being a successful politician is more than a set of rigid ideals, which you and others in the party seem to espouse. Instead, it's the ability to know when to compromise and to make alliances and decisions that will improve the lives of Canadians and people around the world.

We need more people like her, not less. The Green Party has a great potential to be a big tent that attracts environmentally conscious progressives of many stripes. These are the people that Canadians will vote for and will put Canada on a path towards sustainability. On the flip side, if it fails to reach this potential, it will fade quietly into the night, which is where you and your kind seem determined to drive it.

I say it again, a litte nicer this time: please, please get on the team, or get out of the way.

August 23, 2009 1:29 PM  
Blogger Sebastian Ronin said...

Re "On the flip side, if it fails to reach this potential, it will fade quietly into the night, which is where you and your kind seem determined to drive it."

Hate to burst your bubble, Anonymous, but Ms. May, her gaggle of insiders, and history itself are doing a more than adequate job of that.

August 23, 2009 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She has grown the party's vote quite considerably. She has the communications skills that allow her to come out on top of leaders' debates. If it wasn't for her, the party almost certainly wouldn't have voice in the debates in the first place.

But I'm betting these types of things matter nothing to a purist like yourself. Unfortunately for you, Canadians have the good sense to leave the political fringes to themselves.

August 23, 2009 1:53 PM  
Blogger John Ogilvie said...

"She has grown the party's vote quite considerably". No. The party tripled it's campaign budget (which had something to do with the increase). But the vote grew only 50%. Our internal goals were 12%, not 6%.

The GP of Ontario obtained more support (8.1%) on a $200,000 campaign budget, not the $3 million budget Elizabeth had.

As a former GPC council member, I recall the obsession about getting Elizabeth into the debate.

Before the debate our polling result was 9%, averaged. After the debate, our polling result was 9%, averaged.

Elizabeth wasted the debate minutes attacking Harper personally instead of pushing smart, original Green policy alternatives.

We will not get a second chance, unfortunately.

August 23, 2009 2:06 PM  
OpenID lmerrette@gmail.com said...

Well, the Parti Québécois is the master in this kind of game... not that it's an example to follow, of course.

August 23, 2009 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

65% of debate watchers had improved impressions of May after the debate, a far greater number than any of her opponents.

Despite what the fringe might thing, Elizabeth May is the best asset the party has at this moment. Indeed, I believe it is the fear of the fringe parts of the party that keeps many people from running for the party. I've had discussions with one very prominent Vancouver politician who privately said just that.

As for the Green Party's performance in Ontario, it received that result in an election in which the conclusion was forgone and with all opposing parties running rather lackluster campaigns. The federal election was far from that, but even so, the Green Party managed to get 8% of the vote in Ontario.

August 23, 2009 2:32 PM  
OpenID Line Merrette said...

The GPC also acts as if Quebec does not exist.

August 23, 2009 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Mr.Anonymous:

Elizabeth May is no asset. She sees a Nazi under every bush, and has lost the small-c conservatives that Jim Harris worked so hard to include. She is a huge gold-digging liability.

August 23, 2009 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If May was a gold digger, she would have quit the Green Party long ago. It really isn't the best place to make your fortune. In fact, it might be one of the worst!

I'd like to hear what exactly she's done to alienate the small-c conservatives though.. are these the same small-c conservatives who made the Reform Party a regional rump party?

August 23, 2009 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth May should show some perseverance. Her history is that of a moth who flies from flame to flame, getting burned each time. One day it's a riding in Nova Scotia, then it's a Senate seat, now it's a riding in B.C. There should be a special riding for homeless people, she would have something in common with those folks.

August 23, 2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger The Pundits' Guide said...

People, I've been out at the Folk Festival today, and missed a lot of this commentary. Welcome to the new readers of the blog, but could I remind you that we keep things civil here and limited to a dispassionate discussion of strategy from a reasonably non-partisan perspective. I see one comment above that while I'm unable to edit from my current location right now, I'm hopping the commentee will address themselves before I can get home to do it. PG

August 23, 2009 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P's G:

Don't edit. This is far too entertaining. A return to the party's roots (The Smalls).

Besides, too much censoring on the GPC site - hence why you couldn't find any blogs other than Jim Harris's during the "grassroots party's" last election campaign.

Air the dirty laundry, I say. In honour of our dollar coin.

August 23, 2009 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the near fifty New Democrats from the region that support her working out a deal with Layton?

See it here:http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthesplit/signatures.html

August 23, 2009 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could any of you Green people please tell me why Elizabeth May made that deal with Paul Martin? It gave everything to Paul (less competition in his own riding, which was tight, and May no competition to the Liberals in any riding) and nothing to May, who must have known she had no hope at all against MacKay. Seems to me she just created an excuse for not winning. Is she really a leader?

August 23, 2009 5:40 PM  
Anonymous shavluk said...

Well I hate to jump in here and burst any bubbles too badly but I agree with John Ogilvie on many things said.
And I want to add that I go to court suing E May January 4th 2010 and already hold proof she perjured herself with sworn court documents.
I guess this will come down to when an election is actually held but if it is after January 2010 I would not hold my breath about E May's chances...Not at all!

May has single handedly convinced me she must yes go away and I have now sworn to up hold that decision.

I also hold tape recordings, video and internet pages of her malicious wrong doings. So unless May can buy the judge etc,she will not have very much credibility at that point and certainly won't we winning anything never mind a green seat.

John shavluk

August 23, 2009 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May lied on tv last year, when being interviewed by one of the most trusted and highly-respected journalists in the land - Steve Pakin of TV Ontario. Then she got caught in the lie and lied some more, about what she said.....claiming she just talks fast and it sounded different. May has a habit of having to later clarify or "re-word" what she said - not a real comforting trait in a political party leader. I lost all interest in the Green Party since May took it over.

August 23, 2009 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Despite what the fringe might thing, Elizabeth May is the best asset the party has at this moment."

May is currently the biggest asset and the biggest liability that the Green Party has. She certainly is one who speaks personally and off the cuff and but it takes the polish off the Green message. May seems to have had problems coveying any policy beyond climate change.

Obviously May's coziness with the Liberal party and hoping that she could be a minister in a Liberal government alienates small-c conservatives.

August 23, 2009 8:08 PM  
Blogger R L said...

does lizzie STILL think Canuckians are stupid?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9FGfVKay8o
"Ifundamentallyagreewiththat" hmmm. no room for that key syllable 'dis' between the 'ly' and the 'agree'.

she is the reason I will not be voting Green for as long as she is leader. that may (pun intended) be moot if they cease to exist because of her SHOOTING HER BIG FAT MOUTH OFF.

August 23, 2009 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stewart Herzog says says that "Parachuting the leader of the Green Party into a foreign bioregion and pouring in money, will not change Canadian politics on iota."

Lizzy's heart is in Antigonish - so she said - and now her brain is in Saanich.

As resident of Saanich I will not vote for a politician whose body parts are strewn across the country - in different bioregions -that is.

August 23, 2009 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sooner the Green Party realizes that most of the recent gains in support come from it being a protest vote the better off it will be as a party. For the most part people are not happy with the current Conservative, Liberal or NDP leadership and are desperately looking for alternatives and see none; many conservate voters want the Conservative party to be more fiscally or socially conservative, traditional Liberal voters are tired of endless leadership changes when the party really needs to go back to fixing the grass roots, and the NDP could best be described as the Old-Labour party and doesn't fit with the needs of most voters.

With this in mind, the Green party has to move away from all parties and be free to be critical of all parties. The real problem with May leading the Green Party is that she is a Liberal at heart and will not be critical of them to boost your party's fortunes. Basically, as long as May is your leader your vote doesn't count because she will be unwilling to let the Liberals face defeat if she can prevent it.

August 24, 2009 4:15 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I just got an internal email from someone high up in the GPC. When our internal dialogue looks like what follows, I can't help but feel that this fresh perspective is what the country needs:

"As you may know, in the Green Party we do things differently. While in other political parties, leaders appoint their friends and cronies as candidates, in the Green Party the members decide.

"Stuart Hertzog has announced that he will contest the nomination in Saanich-Gulf Islands. His running shows that democracy is alive and well in the Green Party. It comes with the territory of being a healthy, vibrant and participatory political party.

"Greens aren't afraid of principled dialogue and are proud to do things differently. Unlike all the old-line parties, we don't crush internal debate."


And, to the Pundit's Guide editor: I agree that many of the comments here are unacceptable, like referring to E May as a "gold-digger", running a "sham" election for "a nice gold plated pension". These people need to calm down, think critically, and stop lowering the political dialogue in this country. Elizabeth May could easily have a lot more cash and a lot more security if she stopped running for the Green Party. Maybe, just maybe, she is sacrificing 100% of her time, moving away from her family, and running for the GPC because she believes in the values of the party and what it can contribute to Canada.

August 24, 2009 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems those that support May seems to have a strange idea that May is the sole reason that the Greens continue to gain votes. Sadly, they completely ignore the fact the largest growth in support for the Greens occured before she was leader. The Greens are ganing votes every election but to credit this to May and her only is insane and an insult to every Green member.

May is also not responsible for the Greens being in the leadership debates. I'm sorry to break that to you. The person responsible was the Greens first MP Blair Wilson. Without Wilson, the Greens would have been left out.

August 24, 2009 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, if the Green party is doing things different how come they are not following as reported at Report on Greens?

"It's really too bad that the Ms. May and her team didn't follow the rules that were set out by the Central Office to all the EDAs stating that all nomination races had to be completed by the end of June. If the rules (as defined by the Campaign Committee which Ms. May and her campaign manager sit on) had been followed, this complication would have been resolved months ago."

Seems like the Greens do not do things differently if the leader according to this blog is doing things differently then what the rules of the party say.

August 24, 2009 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this her Joe Clark moment?

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1185&dat=19770421&id=-VwOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lYADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6858,1549074

August 24, 2009 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@Annonymous, 7:51am:

The "rules" as defined were guidelines sent to riding associations to encourage them to get their nominations complete so as to be ready for a snap election. Not every EDA followed this "rule", nor were they required to do so. There is no law or rule that stated that the nomination must be completed by June and the GPC national campaign committee cannot impose such a rule. The wording at ROG that you site is poorly chosen.

Regardless, I would say that Mr. Hertzog may have also run in a June nomination contest, so the point is moot.

In the Green constitution and EDA constitution (as with all other parties) is the stipulation that the local riding association has the power to select its candidate. However, unlike all other parties, we welcome a dialogue and democratic process. If the local Greens in Saanich-Gulf Islands choose Mr. Hertzog, then that is there perogative. Does such an openness exist inside the other parties?

Finally, if you want to look into the constitutional differences between parties in more depth, be my guest. Look to the mandatory Green leadership race scheduled for next year. No party has such a race. Their leaders remain in total control for as long as they want and the "leadership reviews" at conventions are hardly worthy examples of grassroots democracy.

And if you do not believe that the Greens are holding true to their democratic values, I encourage you to join the party to help effect change.

August 24, 2009 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So should the leader of the party not follow the guidlines that the party sends out?

I'm not sure how mandatory leadership reviews are somehow anti-grassroots? They allow members to have their say on if they would like a new leader or not.

August 24, 2009 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Caitlin M said...

It's ironic that Hertzog criticizes the "ego-centric" approach of Ms. May, because isn't he running for his *own* ego, not for some larger, "eco-centric" vision?

August 24, 2009 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, he seems to be running because he believes in local candidates running locally.

August 24, 2009 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@Annonymous 9:14am:

So should the leader of the party not follow the guidlines that the party sends out?

Well, that's true, to an extent. However, one has to allow for exceptions, as all suggested timelines do. This is a fairly exceptional circumstance, so rushing through the riding selection and then nomination process is not worthwhile. When it comes to other locations, they may choose or not choose to follow those guidelines on the basis of local considerations. Or, should every EDA be required by the central party to follow a strict timeline that does not consider the specifics of the riding?

I'm not sure how mandatory leadership reviews are somehow anti-grassroots? They allow members to have their say on if they would like a new leader or not.

Members so defined is interesting. At the Halifax NDP convention, for example, there was a vote for delegates on whether or not to hold a leadership review. This took place at one venue in city with expensive advertising promoting Layton (and no other contender) and with only party brass - and those with the time and money to attend - able to participate. This is not entirely undemocratic, but is generally set up to promote continuity. It would be like holding a national referendum on whether we should hold an election and only allowing about 1% of Canadians the right to decide after only being given one side of the argument. It's not dictatorship, but it's not participatory democracy either. But, I shouldn't pick on the NDP. The Liberal selection of Ignatief was certainly even less democratic.

In the case of the Greens, the leader is no longer the leader at the end of the term. There is another leadership race, multiple contenders emerge and state their cases, and all members participate in the election. Still not perfect (nothing is), but I would say it is an improvement on the traditional model and gives way more say to the grassroots.

In any event, anon, I would welcome suggestions at how we can improve that process.

August 24, 2009 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@Caitlin:

I would say that both May and Hertzog are running because they genuinely believe in higher values and that they can contribute to Canadian society.

I tend to think that is true of most politicians, making me the ultimate anti-cynic. I think that Harper, Ignatieff, Layton, Duceppe and many others genuinely feel that they have something to offer. Same goes for most MPs, MLAs, MNAs, et cetera.

Certainly, there is some ego involved in all cases - how could there not be strong egos in people who think themselves capable of running the country?! But, by and large, most put up with being called much worse things than "gold-digger" for more than a pension. Each, in their own way, has a vision for making the country a better place.

August 24, 2009 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, if a party is going to work certain things have to be followed such as guidelines. Now if the leader does not follow the guidlines the party sends out why would anybody else follow them?

I would argue that having May on her blog publish the individuals she wanted on council was not very democratic or fair to those she did not name.

August 24, 2009 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@Anon:

Again, anon, there are times when rigidly following suggested timelines does not work. There has to be room for flexibility. And, as I said already, this is an exceptional circumstance.

As for the Federal Council, you are right: that was not fair. Federal Council asked her to remove her comments and she did. Again, its not a perfect system, but this was resolved to the best extent possible. And, I wouldn't dare argue Elizabeth May is perfect. No one is. But, I couldn't imagine a similar scenario in any of the other parties. Maybe I'm wrong.

By the way, I was one of the candidates for Federal Council who didn't get mentioned. I won. The chair of council was mentioned. She didn't.

August 24, 2009 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel really bad for Ms May.

Reading some of the comments here, it's apparent that she must have the hardest job in politics in Canada. Does any other party leader have to deal with this nonsense? No, when other leaders need a seat, a member of their party will step down and let them run in their riding.

In this case, we have a local Green who cannot win but seems determined to do his best sabotage any success she might have. Can anyone really argue that the riding would be better off having a local candidate from the Conservative, NDP, or Liberal parties over being represented by Ms May?

I can only hope that if the party chews her up and spits her out, she won't lose her determination and will find a new political home. She's an intelligent and dedicated woman and has clear ideas about the changes this country needs to make.

August 24, 2009 6:01 PM  
Blogger Ken Summers said...

I don't know what exactly Mike you were saying you couldn't imagine happening in another party viz the Leader endorsing Council candidates; but I can tell you that in the NDP at least, something even remotely like that would never happen. And I would have thought that this was a common sense no-no.

August 24, 2009 6:08 PM  
Blogger Ken Summers said...

By the way, Mike... you are spot on that there are no perfect leadership accountability/review processes. And not merely 'not perfect'... but most of them are deeply flawed in practice.

In fact, within months you are going to run into the GPC's own special deep flaw.

When your Constitution was written I doubt anyone foresaw the circumstance of a leadership election falling in an election year.

Speaking in general, not a good idea for a lot of reasons. And in this particular case, its going to mean a VERY unlevel playing field to have the current leader running when the whole party- most critics included- has pulled behind her all all eggs in the basket quest for a seat.

[No problem if the election is this Fall. But most observers see that as only ONE possibility. Conveniently, May treats that as a certainty.]

The NDP leadership review process does leave a lot to be desired. Thats an unfortunate consequence of so much attention having been put on GETTING a one member one vote leadership past 2/3 required for a Constitutional change. To not lose that to complexity, the leadership review process was simply left alone. It's a work in progress, as I'll bet you are soon going to find is true of the GPC process.

August 24, 2009 6:29 PM  
Blogger John Ogilvie said...

The scheduled GPC leadership race (not review, race) will take place on schedule in 2010 (it's a constitutional thing.)

It will probably happen in the summer, and probably in BC (it's their turn).

Elizabeth and her supporters have packed the GPC council and paid staff with loyalists, 75% female, and mostly inexperienced.

They have fairly won the right to fight the next election. This election may happen in Fall 2009 or Spring (budget) 2010. But it will likely happen before the Summer 2010 leadership race.

I read somewhere that most parties give a leader two kicks at the can. So this works out as fair, I'd say.

If Team Elizabeth delivers a breakthrough election result - and not just in SGI - then she stays as leader. If not, well.

August 24, 2009 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ken Summers said...

There is developing a pretty strong consensus that the most UNlikley time for the election is Spring 2010 [way too many favourable factors for Harper]. Which means that if it is not now, then most likely the GPC Leadership election will come before the general election.

Here's a very likely scenario: GPC leadership election comes first and May wins more or less by default [hard to take a serious run at her while she is fighting the battle for SGI].

Then she loses in the general, and after all that, understandably resigns as Leader.

I take your point John, that looking at the big picture it would be fair enough even if she wins the leadership election by default- notwithstanding that she has created enough controversy to otherwise guarantee someone[s] would have a good crack at beating her if the general election was not in the offing.

But thats no different than the problem that other parties have with leadership reviews- that in practice the deck is stacked in favour of the Leader.

Like I said, I predict that after the 2010 Leadership race you'll be looking at the options for future races.

August 24, 2009 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, if your system is not perfect why come onto a blog and insult the other internal workings of other parties? No system is perfect so I'm not sure why the Greens seem to think they have the best and most pure system.

You have a leader who is as close to publicly endorsing people as you can possibly come. How is that democratic or being grassroots? You also have one council winner being the biggest spoiled winner possible by insulting other candidates because they dared to challenge May or party staff.

August 25, 2009 6:56 AM  
Blogger Ken Summers said...

Anyone is entitled give a flattering view of their party, with flattering comparisons to other parties.

And that certainly does not constitute "insulting" other parties.

August 25, 2009 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken, Mike came here to push the idea that the Greens had this perfect democratic and grassroots system compared to the other parties. He later admitted just like every other party the greens have their own set of issues to deal with.

August 26, 2009 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Bluegreenblogger said...

Hi Alice,
I bet you never had so many raucous commentators before, eh?
Too bad the GPC doesn't have any decent forum for this mudslinging. The anonymity here is a godsend to some. I can pretty well identify half the 'anon's' by virtue of the content of their comments, but they seem to readier to go 'over the top' in this venue.

August 29, 2009 11:28 AM  
Blogger The Pundits' Guide said...

Well, BGB, I never had so many links to a single post either, now that I look at it.

Isn't your riding's contested nomination meeting scheduled for tomorrow? Please do write and report the results.

cheers, PG

August 29, 2009 12:27 PM  
Blogger Brian Gordon said...

Elizabeth May running in SGI is a disaster-in-the-making, and she is not sufficiently politically astute to see it. When she effectively endorsed strategic voting in the last election, she split the SGI riding association. She appears well-supported because many former Greens, such as myself, have left the party. Purging the party of those who disagree with you is not a good strategy for building the party - especially when many of us were trying to help her.

And by-the-way:
Jim Harris is the most successful leader of the GPC: he spent vastly less than Elizabeth May on a federal election campaign and got a far greater percentage vote increase.

Other Greens have achieved higher vote totals than Elizabeth May, despite having much less in the way of resources.

September 3, 2009 10:19 AM  
Blogger The Pundits' Guide said...

Thanks for your perspective Brian. I note that you stood for the Green Party in Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca, BC during the last election. Should we understand you to be saying that you're not running for them again there this time?

PG

September 3, 2009 6:35 PM  

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