Sunday, March 23, 2008

May Takes Swing At NDP

Quite a lot of acrimony between the Greens and the NDP. Elizabeth May's comments today probably only make matters worse, although they may be factual:
'I'm going to vote Green because I think the NDP is more interested in eliminating the Liberal party than in restoring to power a government that actually cares about issues I care about,'" she told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

"My advice to (NDP Leader Jack) Layton which is open and really in the spirit of co-operation -- rethink the policy of constantly denigrating the Greens and acting hostile towards us."

I know that line of argument is the last thing NDP supporters want to hear, but I also don't doubt for a second that some people have moved to the Green column, for preciously the reason mentioned by May. I've heard first hand that sentiment, not to mention my own disappointment, after voting NDP, then watching Layton and company fail to recognize the real enemy on the political spectrum.

The Liberals might be in the political wilderness, but I don't think there much question that the NDP has lost its way as well. A combination of delusion and ambition, could just be the catalyst to marginalization. Instead of scoffing at May, which will be the first response, better to heed the advice, because there is truth in them there words.

Does anyone ever wonder why the NDP has failed to capitalize on the glaring ineptitude that is the Liberal Party these days?

30 comments:

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I don't see the NDP "denigrating" the Greens. I see them trying REALLY REALLY HARD to pretend the Greens don't exist. You know, like: "elephant, what elephant? there's no elephant in this room."

As for your last question, honestly, I think it's the brand. An awful lot of people think of the NDP as worthy of respect, but way too left-wing for them. (And as someone who thinks the goal of the NDP replacing the Liberals and becoming the singular voice of the centre-left is misguided, I'm actually okay with that.)

Steve V said...

"An awful lot of people think of the NDP as worthy of respect, but way too left-wing for them."

One criticism I don't agree with, that I've heard recently, the NDP has moved to the center, and this fact might explain any perceived erosion. I don't see any real evidence of that, and I would use Afghanistan has tangible proof- no attempt to appease or modify for digestion.

Robert McClelland said...

I don't see the NDP "denigrating" the Greens.

Me neither IP. I have seen the growing obsession by Liberals and Greens toward the NDP though. I guess the Red Greens believe all will be right in their world if they can just get those 30 seats the NDP holds.

clh said...

Who knows what goes on behind the scenes between May and Layton. I know May has tried to meet with Layton in the past, and I suspect she is speaking out so openly because of her lack of success through other means. Layton was openly dismissive a while back when May wanted to have dinner with him.

I recently signed the petition to have May included in the debates, because I figure Canada will be better off if we hear from more politicians who can articulate why Harper should be a one-term Prime Minister (as May puts it!)

I thought May made a number of good points during that CTV interview (the headline just picked out her comments about Layton) and I think she would offer a useful perspective on key issues during the political debates.

clh said...

Also, Layton's comment in the National Post that people voted for candidates from the Green Party simply because of the name of the party seemed like an unnecessary snipe. One could call that "denigrating" particularly if one is aware of the campaigns that those candidates ran.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of a single example of Jack Layton or anyone in the NDP gratuitously insulting or denigrating the Greens. Of course, I expect parties that are adversaries to say the occasional negative thing about one another.

I do see countless examples of Elizabeth May denigrating and taking gratuitous swings at the NDP, like her notorious rant about how "Jack Layton wants to talk to the Taliban but doesn't want to talk to the green party". She says garbage like that and then she goes crying to the national media going "boo-hoo-hoo that meany Jack Layton doesn't want to make a deal with me boo-hoo-hoo"

pogge said...

Based on some of the Green Party supporters I've encountered, May has no business claiming that any hostility she's perceived is one-sided.

And is anyone interested in talking about what May is actually proposing? She wants the party leaders to try and predetermine the results in selected ridings before the voters get a chance to vote. Personally I think it shows contempt for the voters.

Larry Gambone said...

The NDP is way too left wing. Oh give me strength! Are their actually people who believe something like that? (And I am someone who is not an NDPer, and if I did support a party would go Green.) But agreed the NDP is spending too much energy trying to replace the Libs rather than fighting the far-right.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

One criticism I don't agree with, that I've heard recently, the NDP has moved to the center

I agree that it hasn't happened. If the Liberals ever did disappear and the NDP replaced, them, though, it would absolutely happen. Which is why that's a short-sighted goal for any lefty.

Ron said...

Elizabeth May is a certifiable wacko from many angles. The Liberals hitching their wagon to her has and will cause problems (any stupid thing she says like those she made in London) for Liberals. While many think the Green party is wonderful because it says all the "correct" things on the envionment, take a real good look at their decidely right of centre views on many other issues. This is a group of self-serving activists bent on getting publicity and have no serious ability to govern the country. The Liberals reaching out to this anvil of a party in the hopes of staying afloat is bound to cause problems down the line.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

She wants the party leaders to try and predetermine the results in selected ridings before the voters get a chance to vote. Personally I think it shows contempt for the voters.

Agreed. It makes me doubt her commitment to electoral reform, too. As a party the Greens are absolutely sincere in their support for it, but May herself came to the Greens late, and this kind of thing makes me awfully suspicious. You don't hear her talking about the issue very much, either. It's a shame, too, because Dion has historically favoured it, and she could be using her sway with him to convince him to commit to THAT.

clh said...

I don't buy all that "hitching your wagon" rhetoric. Dion and May made a deal not to run candidates in each other ridings. May says there are historical traditions for this. In any case, 1 out of 308 ridings does not seem like hitching your wagons together. If voters in those two ridings are upset, they will get to send their message. Meanwhile, people who wish to attack the Greens and/or Liberals will try to use mistakes by one to criticize the other, but so what? They will find plenty to attack no matter what those parties do.

Also, May made it clear in the CTV interview that any discussions with the NDP did not have to involve any deals in a riding. May thinks Harper should be defeated, that there should be some discussion among parties which agree on more with each other than with with the Conservatives, wants to discuss the relevant issues with voters, and then let voters decide who they want to vote for.

May is a dedicated environmentalist who has given much of her time and resources to doing what she thinks is best. I certainly don't agree with her on everything, but tossing around slurs like "certifiable wacko" just adds to Canada's rapidly declining political climate.

Anonymous said...

I May wants so badly for Harper to be defeated - why is her party running any candidates at all?? Name me one riding in all of Canada where having a green party candidate running in addition to a Liberal and an NDP candidate running is somehow going to help end Harper's reign as PM. If she wants Harper to lose so badly, why doesn't she pledge NOT to run any candidates at all and instead that she will endorse whichever NDP or Liberal candidate she thinks has the best chance of defeating the Conservatives in the next election. Or at the very least should could unilaterally pledge not to run any candidates against any NDP or Liberal incumbents.

If her singular goal in politics is to defeat Harper - that's what she will have to do. But something tells me that she doesn't want to defeat Harper quite that badly.

Dr.Dawg said...

"I'm going to vote Green?" This from the leader of the Green Party? Do we really need a rationale? Crying out loud, if the NDP weren't over-bashing the Liberals, she'd climb on board? Gimme a friggen break!

clh said...

Dr. Dawg, That is May quoting a voter who said "I'm going to vote Green...". It is not May referring to herself.

So some people are upset that May quotes a reason some people have given for switching from the NDP to the Greens, namely that they don't think the NDP is sufficiently focussed on defeating Harper. One can agree or disagree but certainly some people feel this way. I don't see this as being the same as Layton telling the press that Dion is the defacto leader of the Green Party, which seemed to go beyond just expressing an opinion, to implying something which is false.

Skinny Dipper said...

There is a good column in the Tyee about the NDP and class politics. Included is a brief analysis of where the Greens get their support. The Green Party is more likely to get its support from Canadians who have more income than those who vote for the NDP. If the Green Party were to disappear, most of its voters would not switch to the NDP. Instead they would go to the Liberals, Conservatives, or not vote.

I would advise NDP Jack Layton not to make any deals with Elizabeth May. One rule of politics is not to give your weaker opponents any recognition. This just leads to legitimacy. The NDP should just go after Harper and let the other oppostion parties squabble over their weaknesses. The Liberals have leadership problems; the Greens have a problem with recognition that they will need to solve themselves.

Mushroom said...

My points: there needs to be a distinction between Layton's New Politics Initiative and the party's traditional communitarianism (Broadbent, Blakeney, Doer etc.). Who is more left, more centre?

Sean S. said...

If someone is switching their vote from NDP to Green than they are seriously mis-informed on where those parties lie on the political spectrum. Also the NDP has gone to great lengths to not acknowledge the Green's, as IP as already mentioned. Conversely, the Green's have done nothing to dispell the myth that the NDP and Green's are similar parties.

Historical polling data clearly shows these parties do not share the same pool of voters (I did a post on that a couple months back). In fact the Green's will pull mostly from old PCs and centre-right Liberals (Quadra is a good example) and might be where people park their protest votes in the future (see recent by-election results, for example).

janfromthebruce said...

Maybe May would like to give some advice to the libs while she is on her podium - start acting like an opposition party, show up for votes and quit abstaining.

I think it is a hoot that May is saying anything to the NDP considering it is the NDP in the House of Commons actually standing up to Harper, which makes me really think that May is start doing a smokescreen as a cover for the libs.

Interestingly enough, if one goes to the article, at the bottom, it gives the last poll results. NDP was the only party according to that poll who increased their poll number.

And that pocket of support, Vancouver Centre, because she really wants to defeat Harper. Let's see, well if it isn't a lib/NDP riding where they always square off.
Yep, bringing it on to Harper. LOL

Steve V said...

"Interestingly enough, if one goes to the article, at the bottom, it gives the last poll results. NDP was the only party according to that poll who increased their poll number."

Oh my Jan, if there was one polling outfit I wouldn't be bragging about, it's that one. Up to a whopping 14%, but the good news no longer tied with the Greens nationally, like their last offering. I mention this not to draw the ire, but because it's a horrible talking point.


anon at 6:26

You know what, that makes a lot of sense, at the base level. If you don't mind, I might use it for something later.

skdadl said...

The NDP don't "denigrate" May's Green Party; they oppose it. The NDP are social democrats and she isn't. Clearly that doesn't matter to her or the Greens, but it sure matters to social democrats.

Gawd -- the soap-opera language that woman resorts to. It is simply absurd in Canada. Elizabeth May has no grasp at all of political principle, and she has demonstrated that again and again. She is a Clintonesque airhead who might do well on Oprah but really doesn't belong in Canadian politics.

Idreamofgreenie said...

Jan, I never agree with you but I agree May should turn up the heat on the Liberals as well and it's not an uncommon theme, I hear it from other Greens as well.

Sean, what planet do you come from, we have 100s of pages of literature that shows we are not like the NDP, and why would we try mimic the smallest voting demographic to get ahead, hardly a wining strategy.

The thing is however people do switch from the NDP for a variety of reasons. Progressive policies like garanteed minimum income, is an example where we are probably more progressive than the NDP.

To know why they leave you first have to understand why they supported you in the first place and to make the assumption that they were all hardened socialists is naive.

Greens are accused of having votes parked with us. Well I think it's fair to say the NDP had decades of environmental votes parked with them because they had no choice.

Being an enivronmentalist however does not automatically mean you are a socialist, or that you reject fiscal conservatism. Some of these voters simply had to choose between their Green issues and their other issues. Now that there are two choices is it's only natural some would migrate.

If you are so sure that Dippers who have left the party are misguided then the NDP should support Green inclusion in the debates so you can discredit us on national television. Face it, Jack neither has the balls or the belief in democratic reform to put his money where his policy is supposed to be. Jack's refusal to support May's inclusion in debates is just as damning to democracy as Jack claims the May/Dion deal is! It's ok however if he thwarts democracy and peoples RIGHT to hear all parties.

also.
The whole concept of the political spectrum is one of rigid thinking that has failed us. We need to use those policies that will work rather than ones that fit a parties expected profile.

The fact that Greens are not so caught in old party dogma allows us to cherry pick good ideas from the whole spectrum, that is why we are growing at the expense of all other parties. It's not because we are pretending to be in your niche of the spectrum but because we ingore the spectrum. The day we get pinned down is the day I'll be looking for another new party.

Centerist voters are looking for compromises between the extremes of your spectrum and since we offer a new mix of compromises graphted to the best enviro platform.

Tomm said...

Elizabeth May is very bright. She also has one or several screws loose.

She personally has stances that are extreme right and extreme left (abortion, and belief in environmental witchcraft) and she leads a party that is the modern day equivalent of Don Quixote.

Ask a Greenie why they are running candidates that espouse "deep ecology". The party is not yet real, and has not had their feet put to the media fire.

Tomm

Koby said...

The media have, with good reason, started to question the NDP’s strategy of attacking the Liberals to the benefit of Stephan Harper. May is merely trying to get in on the action. The thing is though the NDP have not spent anytime attacking the Greens. The NDP are too busy attacking the Liberals and making sure the Cadman thing does not go forward to do that.

As to the whole issue of where the NDP should go, the NDP under Layton have really lost their way. They have done a terrible job of getting socially democratic ideas out in the public domain and it goes without saying Layton dream of replacing the Liberals is so much pie in the sky. I would love to see the NDP drop Layton and his cadre of advisors. The emergence of the Green vote in big urban centers makes that more likely. It only goes to show the best chance to grow the party is not inside the 905 and in Metro Toronto.

The NDP has to go back to its Western roots and focus on taking back voters that had abandoned them for the Reform Party and then gone on to vote Conservative. It still polls far better in BC and Sask than it does in Ontario, especially Toronto. They should also look to be fighting it out with the Conservatives to pick up the Liberal votes that have slowly been bleeding away over the years to both themselves and the Conservatives in Northern Ontario.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain the logic of the following: the NDP votes non-confidence in the Harper government 100% of the time. The Liberals abstain on these votes 100% of the time. The NDP begs the Liberals to join with the NDP and BQ to vote non-confidence in the Tories so we can have an election and boot the Tories out of power - the Liberals instead prop up the Conservatives on every issue of any significance.

Then somehow this gets interpreted as "the NDP is beating up on the Liberals".

Run that by me again?

Koby said...

When questioned about their attack the Liberals first strategy, the NDP retort is always to say that they vote against the government. The thing is this means nothing at all. So long as the Liberals are abstaining, it does not matter a lick how the NDP votes. What matters far more is what they say in public and what they do in committee and it clear to everyone that they focusing on the Liberals and not the Conservatives — just ask to the party strategists.

“Damaging Harper and the Conservatives on ethical issues like the Cadman mess mainly helps the Grits, and that’s not in our gameplan.”

Anonymous said...

You can contort yourself to defend the way the Liberals are propping up Harper any way you want.

It seems to me that if the nature of the NDP criticism of the Liberals is that the Liberals keep on letting all these horrible, reactionary Conservative bills get passed - that's a pretty fair criticism.

If the NDP wants to sent out the message that they are voting to bring down the Harper government at every single opportunity - but the Liberals are too scared of an election to go along with it - that's a perfectly fair criticism.

What I'm still trying to figure is why exactly the Liberals are so scared to have an election. If they really think that the Harper government represents such a dire threat to the future of the human race - they should be leading the charge to have an election as soon as possible so that Canadians can vote en masse to kick the Tories out of office.

Why are the Liberals standing in the way of letting the people of Canada oust the Harper government.

I know a lot of people who post here are Liberals. I implore you to write to your Liberal contacts and MPs etc... demand that they vote non-confidence in the Harper government so we can defeat them in an election as soon as possible.

To paraphrase Elizabeth May - if the Harper government stays in power any longer - OUR PLANET WILL DIE!

Dr.Dawg said...

clh:

Thank you. I thought that sounded a little strange.

Koby said...

>>>>>> If the NDP wants to sent out the message that they are voting to bring down the Harper government at every single opportunity - but the Liberals are too scared of an election to go along with it - that's a perfectly fair criticism.

Layton can strut around and proclaim himself the second coming Christ all he wants. So long as Liberals refuse to bring down the government, the NDP’s vote is entirely academic and everyone knows that Jack’s act is nothing but fake bravado. See what the NDP do when they actually have a chance to bring the government down.

>>>>> What I'm still trying to figure is why exactly the Liberals are so scared to have an election.

You are kidding right? If there was an election held tomorrow the Liberals would take it on the chin. Of course, what should be donning on high and mighty Jack Layton is that so too would the NDP.

>>>>> If they really think that the Harper government represents such a dire threat to the future of the human race - they should be leading the charge to have an election as soon as possible so that Canadians can vote en masse to kick the Tories out of office.

You mean that if the Liberals believe that Stephen Harper is such a threat to the human race, then they should give Harper a legitimate crack at a majority.

>>>>> Why are the Liberals standing in the way of letting the people of Canada oust the Harper government.

Why is the NDP insolating the Conservatives against scandal?

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me:

Stephane Dion = Leader of the Official Abstention

Pathetic isn't it?