Saturday, February 28, 2009

A New Dynamic?

Elizabeth May is on record this week, stating she would run again in Central Nova, unless a by-election emerges before the next election. Given that the next election is probably a sooner, rather than later proposition, the odds are good that May will face MacKay one more time. Tonight, Ignatieff sends a clear signal, that the Liberals will contest that seat, which translates into a much tougher challenge for the Green leader:
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Saturday he intends to have candidates in all of the nation's ridings, including one in Nova Scotia where the Liberals did not run in the last election after a deal with the Green party.

"I have respect for Elizabeth May but I'm running a national party and in a national party we have candidates in 308 ridings across the country," Ignatieff said prior to speaking at a dinner being held at the annual meeting of the provincial party.

Liberals in the province were critical of Dion for making the deal, saying it weakened support among party faithful.

I'm of two minds, when it comes to this decision. The prospect of a Liberal candidate probably guarantees MacKay's re-election, so there is the issue of vote splitting(although, one could argue the riding really isn't in danger for the Conservatives). On the other hand, I remember well the resistance from local Liberals, who felt Dion's decision didn't consult, reflect their wishes. This choice does speak to local want, and undoes some of the damage caused by Dion's decision. On that score, I'm fine with this choice.

The broader curiosity, was this decision a way to distance the Liberals from the Greens, to demonstrate any informal understanding has evaporated? It will be interesting to see the reaction of May, and whether the relationship between the two parties changes. May rarely criticizes the Liberals, if the Greens feel the Liberals are trying to blunt any progress, we could see a more adversarial debate, no more footsie.


Patrick Ross said...

Elizabeth May isn't entitled to a free ride from the Liberal party or from anyone else.

She continues to enjoy one from her own party, however. It seems that more and more Greens are eager to put a stop to that.

Saskboy said...

I wasn't particularly hopeful for a Green win next election, not even May, after the result in the last election. And I guess this also shows where Iggy's stance is on proportional representation. If BC doesn't pass it provincially, this country is completely stuck with FPTP for a while yet.

Patrick Ross said...

A person could look at this way:

By severing the few links between the Liberal party and the Green party, Ignatieff is forcing them to become an independent party again.

Which, along with new leadership, is really what that party needs more than anything.

Patrick Ross said...

Sorry, just one more thing to add:

Anything that strengthens and returns purpose to the Green party will inevitably be good for Canadian democracy.

You can't build a strong democracy without a variety of choices.

Anthony said...

gotta run a candidate everywhere.

Besides, alone in Parliament as Green Leader, Elizabeth May would still be inefefctive as her party like the NDP and the BQ, will never be in power

bigcitylib said...

The only part of this I don't like is May has chosen to run in that same riding when there are a number of others around Canada that would be a much better fit for a Green candidate.

Steve V said...

May's her own worst enemy in this regard, she should look to more fertile ground.

Oemissions said...

Until the voices for the "environment" and the health of those inhabiting the environment is somehow united, the Conservatives will rule this country.

RuralSandi said...

Oemissions - daily tripping around the blogosphere putting down Ignatieff and Libs, etc. Offers nothing, absolutely nothing.

Elizabeth May keeps saying Canadians want "her" in the HofC. I have to think if that is so, why isn't she in there.

May keeps saying it's important that "she" be a member of parliament.

So, if another Green Party member wins in, say BC, will "she" take their seat?

Is it all about "her"?

Jim said...

Here is May's response.

The video is about a 4 minute interview. Steve you were right the free ride is over. She says the deal with Dion was always a "one-time" thing and she's not surprised Ignatieff is running a candidate against but that she's very disappointed that Ignatieff has become a defender of the tar sands and that he seems to have put the environment to the bottom of his list of priorities. She also says that the NDP and Bloc seem more serious about the environment than the Liberals and that the latest budget was the MOST REGRESSIVE on the environment she's ever seen and can't believe the Liberals are supporting it.

Whether anyone listens to May given the limited profile she has we'll see, but I think we've set the precedent that she will be in the leader's debates so I think we'd ignore her and Green voters at our own peril.

The environment won't be a major issue in the next election, but there are probably at least 15% of voters out there who consider it their most important issue and we write them off if we don't sound serious on it. In close races across the country it could make the difference between win or lose. Frankly I think Green voters switching to us at the last minute staved off disaster in probably at least a dozen ridings (they were at 10% in the polls days before the election and May called for strategic voting and Greens ended up with 6%).

That said, the running a candidate against May doesn't look like it's going to backfire at all as even May isn't complaining about it.

Oemissions said...

For Rural Sandi: Ouch!! You just pulled my thinning grey hair.
Don't worry, this troll who campaigned long and hard for her candidate running in the last election for the Liberal Party is outa' here.

Steve V said...

Very polite as always, but May is clearly making the distinction. Maybe Layton will fight to have May in the leadership debate next election ;)