The higher May is in the polls, the more her profile in an election, the more she can make the case for the environment, the more she can tell Canadians who should lead, the more she can carve the Conservatives.
Today, I heard an excerpt of John Baird, during Question Period, laying into Elizabeth May, and by extension Dion. Sun Media's Greg Weston responded to the Conservatives apparent pre-occupation with Elizabeth May, with the following, which I think important:
"The Conservatives are trying to kill two birds with one stone. The scenario that is playing out here, as Nik Nanos says, the closer you get to an election campaign the Green numbers start to go down. The question is, if they go to the Liberals, it could be deadly for the Conservatives. You add the Green numbers to the Liberals numbers and the Conservatives are in real trouble, so they are going to go after the Liberals and the Greens in the same breath.
When you look at the Dion/May agreement, the key premise for the Liberals, if there is to be benefit- Green support is soft, beyond the base. There is a historical precedent, that shows Green support falling when we go to the polls. You could argue that the Greens are now in unchartered terrority, but I would counter that there still remains a "credibility" gap. What I mean by that, when push comes to shove, will voters have the confidence that their Green vote will realistically lead to a riding victory? If there is still a protest element to voting Green, then the critical moment might lead some, otherwise sympathetic voters, to move in another direction. This pact, as Weston points out, and Tory reaction reveals, makes the Liberals the preferred second choice for many Green voters. If the Green leader endorses Dion, while simultaneously bashing Harper, it seems reasonable that the Liberals stands to benefit, if there is erosion.
The way in which the Tories are going after May reveals a great deal in my mind. Clearly, they see the Greens as a legitimate threat, otherwise why bother? A party that has no seats in Parliament, yet they are the preferred point of reference for people like the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment. Attempting to embarrass Dion for sure, but I subscribe to the "two birds with one stone" argument. As the fixation continues, there is no doubt that Tory strategists don't see the "deal" as a negative, they view it as threat.
I think the government has erred. In attacking May, they effectively give her more exposure and allow her to make subsequent appearances for clarification. Elizabeth May is a like able person, who comes across as ordinary, in a good way. The more face time May receives, the more it benefits the Greens. It is hard enough for the opposition to make news, let alone a party that has never elected an MP. John Baird's ridiculous diversions in Question Period make a May debate appearance all the more likely, apparently she is a very important political figure in Canada. In attacking, the Tories actually elevate the threat.