Saturday, March 17, 2007

MacKay Vs May

You can't say Elizabeth May isn't gutsy:
Green party Leader Elizabeth May will run against Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay in his Nova Scotia riding in the next federal election, the CBC has learned.

May is expected to make her official announcement on Sunday in Antigonish, N.S.

There has been speculation in the last two or three weeks that the Greens have been talking to the Liberals on ways to unseat the Conservatives in Central Nova.

CBC Parliamentary Bureau Chief Keith Boag said the Liberals he talked to are neither confirming nor denying the reports.

A tall order to unseat a high-profile minister, considering the almost non-existent Green vote in the last election. Also interesting, the Liberals finished a distant third in the riding, which means any agreement to work with the Greens isn't an easy sell.

I love May's decision for a number of reasons. First, it shows that May isn't afraid to earn a seat in the House, in fact her odds are long. This move will force MacKay to fiercely defend his seat, and the Conservatives may have to spend resources and time on what had to be considered an easy hold riding. We now have a high-profile battle, which the media will key in on, assuring a pointed discussion on the environment.

I suppose the move could backfire if there appears to be overt co-operation with the Liberals, but the risk is offset if it means a possible upset victory. You have to admire May's fearless decision, and voters may reward her for taking the challenge, when easier options were available.


wayward son said...

I think it is great. The Green Party has a history of running their leaders against high profile candidates.

In the current race, I wonder if what the Green Party is hoping for is that the popular NDPer Alexis MacDonald doesn't run (she no longer lives in the riding and there have been rumors that she doesn't plan to run again, but who knows.) leaving a whole lot of votes up for grabs.

If Elizabeth May can pull this off it will be one hell of a coup!

Think about it:
*unseating a popular Conservative member.
*Unseating a former party leader.
*Unseating a cabintet minister
*Taking a seat that has been the riding of big name Conservatives like Brian Mulroney and Elmer MacKay.
*Taking one of the worst ridings for GPC in the last election.
*In a region and province where the Green Party traditionally does poorly.

I have heard talk about how running out of this riding puts May at a disadvantage due to it being a fair distance from Halifax airport, but as far as I know she plans on travelling by train.

I am sure that Stephen Colbert would comment that Elizabeth May has balls for this move.

Anonymous said...

Now - watch the trash and bash stuff come out about her.

I think it would be hard to find any "damage" type of fault with her so I wonder what they will come up with.

wayward son said...

The London newspapers commented frequently about the visciousness and negativity of the NDP and CPC towards every other candidate in the London North Centre by-election. The GPC and Liberals remained very civil towards each other and to the other candidates. One newspaper report I read referred to Elizabeth May's as the "Group hug" campaign and Meghan Walker's (NDP) as the "Pit bull" campaign.

I expect a repeat.

janfromthebruce said...

In the 2004 election McKay beat the 2nd place candidate Alexis MacDonald with more than 6000 votes, but in the 2006 race she came within 3273 votes of unseating McKay. I don't know if she is running again, but if she was deciding to run here, it would be no surprise if it turned into a battle, considering all the work she has done to get the progressive vote.
I wonder if the lib bloggers here would be singing the same tune if the libs came this close to winning this riding. Would you still see May as gutsy?

Steve V said...

"I wonder if the lib bloggers here would be singing the same tune if the libs came this close to winning this riding. Would you still see May as gutsy?"

I can't speak for lib bloggers, but I would. I love May, she's a breath of fresh air.

IslandLiberal said...

And Rodger Cuzner breathes a sigh of relief.

Since Rae isn't going up against Layton, I guess this will serve as the big contest of the next election. It'd be a tough sell, given the riding's history, but May vastly outperformed expectations in London North Centre, so who knows?

knb said...

Jan, I have to say I support May too. I don't support all of her ideas, but I think that she would be a tremendous asset in the HoC.

This will be an interesting race to be sure.

wayward son said...

I would like to vouch for the support that Elizabeth May receives from many (if not most) Liberal bloggers. During the LNC by-election most Liberal bloggers I visited were very supportive of Elizabeth May and her goal to win that seat. I can't say the same for NDPers or Conservatives. I can't say I know why there is such a difference.

saskboy said...

I guess the mistake is about to be made, and now we'll just have to work with it if we support May.

daniel said...

I think there might be a bit too much optimism that May can win this seat: Atlantic Canada's political history at the federal level, for the most part, has been ridiculously steady. Atlantic Canadians tend to vote for the "traditional" parties - Liberal, Conservative, and occasionally, NDP - in greater proportion than any other region, so a Green Party bid for this seat might be a tough sell, especially if it looks like the Conservatives will win the election. De-throning the only cabinet minisier from the province might prove to be quite unappealing if there is a high potential for a Conservative win federally.

knb said...

wayward son. I think the difference in Party support is based on "threat". To the NDP, well that one is growing more obvious by the day. For the CPC, they hadn't yet found the road to Damascus and the last thing they needed was more green light being shone on their agenda.

daniel, I think what you say is true, but as Rumsfeld would say, "There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns," lol. MacKay will not do well if he attempts to villify her, nor will he do well to take her on vis a vis the environment obviously and depending on what comes out of the committee and the budget, May may have a great deal of ammunition. You have to know that May will have extensive knowledge on how not addressing the environment will negatively affect that part of the country and she has the ability to make it "local".

It remains to be seen, but I have no objection to seeing Mr. MacKay pushed around a bit...not too quick on his feet that guy.

Mushroom said...

This means that the Liberals probably will not run a candidate in Central Nova against the Conservatives.

ottlib said...

By taking on a prominent Cabinet Minister Ms. May will receive what her Party did not receive in the last election: publicity.

Remember that the Greens do not have enough money to run a true national campaign and it certainly does not have the money for advertizing. As a result very little attention is paid to it by the media.

That will probably change. The media will probably key into this race and that will give Ms. May plenty of opportunities to get her message out free of charge.

It is a clever move on her part and although she will probably not win it could shake some votes loose in other parts of the country where they have a chance to pick up a seat or two.

mushroom: The Liberals will run a candidate in that riding.

daniel said...

Will the Greens receive publicity from this? Yes. Will they win this seat? No. Is placing a party's leader on the sacrificial altar for the sake of publicity a smart move? No.

If anything, May has all but assured MacKay's victory in this riding, and squandered her party's ace-in-the-hole: herself. May is a strong figure, and had she presented herself as a candidate in a more winnable riding, a victory would have cemented her face and her cause in the Canadian political mindset. Heck,if she wanted to run against a Conservative, why not John Baird or Gary Lunn, ministers whose portfolios are relevant to the environment? What does taking on the minister of foreign affairs prove, other than that May has more gusto than political smarts?