May first has to win a nomination contest at a meeting set for Sept. 19.
Stuart Hertzog, an environmental and social justice activist and website publisher from Victoria, B.C., will contest the nomination and has also filed a complaint with Elections Canada accusing the Greens of pouring central money into the local riding association to support the May campaign and take away his fair chance at a fight.
"I don't believe I can compete on a level playing field," Hertzog said in an interview last week.
He originally decided to put his name forward in the Vancouver Island constituency to protest against what he described as an anti-democratic shift in the party from the grassroots to the leader and executive, but May said her willingness to fight him proves him wrong.
Now, in a complaint Hertzog said he filed Thursday, he alleges the party's federal council illegally transferred $62,000 from a special fund it set up to get May elected — after it decided this spring that winning a seat for the leader would be the priority in the next campaign — to the electoral district association, and that it is being used to finance the nomination campaign.
Elections Canada refused comment on the matter.
May said the fact the party hasn't simply appointed her as the riding candidate proves Hertzog is wrong about any anti-democratic shift.
"You obviously can't imagine any other party in Canada where the leader would be even contemplating running in a riding where someone would say — just to make a point — the nomination would be contested," May said last week.
"He's making a very strong case that we are in fact a grassroots party that is not top-down."
The party has disputed the amount of money and its purpose.
May's local campaign manager John Fryer said the money from the fund to get May elected is being held in Ottawa and has not been touched. He said the party lent the riding association $50,000 as seed money to mount its campaign after May wins the nomination.
I don't know the initimate details, but for arguments sake lets say that Hertzog doesn't have a hope in hell of winning the nomination. What good then, to have this crusader blooding May's image in the riding, framing her as an elitist outsider? Hertzog will revel in his principles, sacrificing the big picture for personal gratification. Meanwhile May undermined, slumps into a general election and the Greens fail. See, it is failure to have no MP's, absolutely no influence in our political culture. It's fine and dandy to have all the ideals, but if they have no practical application, it's utterly useless.
Hertzog is an environmentalist, among other things, as is May. Anyone in the Green party with the slightest clue gets behind this idea and fights hard to get May elected, they don't get bogged down in the details of their puritan wants. I see the crusade as selfish, because it fights for the personal vision, and in the process sacrifices something else. Worst yet, this display will just demonstrate to voters that the Green Party isn't ready for primetime, amateur hour reigns.