Sunday, March 18, 2007

Elizabeth May(be) not.

Idealistic Pragmatist has a excellent piece here on Elizabeth May's soon-to-be-fateful decision to run in Central Nova.

All talk about May's political future begins and ends with this fact: May's one and only chance to get into the House was the London by-election.

The by-election presented the best of all opportunities for the Greens in terms of timing, resources and the state of the opposition. And they still blew it.

Timing: May still had the halo of winning the party leadership. Even though she's been in politics since 1980, she was seen as "new". That's gone now. Only 200 days since the becoming leader, May now has baggage on things like her controversial stance against abortion and supporting Alberta's intensity-based climate change plan.

Resources: The by-election saw Green activists from across Canada converge in London. In order to concentrate their limited ammo, the Greens deliberately didn't run anyone in the Quebec by-election. In a real election, scarce resources (volunteers, money, etc) will be stretched to 308 ridings. The luxury of having the entire party's resources concentrated in May's riding is gone now too.

State of the Opposition: The London by-election dumped misfortunes on the opposition parties that boosted the Greens. The Liberal machine was caught in Fontana's mayoral bid, and the party leadership race. The Conservatives were divided over Harper's office parachuting controversial former mayor Dianne Haskett into the riding. And even the NDP campaign suffered from early setbacks that they couldn't recover from. These coincidental circumstances won't come again.

This state of affairs should have been enough to push May into the House of Commons. But it didn't -- not even close. The hard reality is that if the Greens couldn't sail on calm seas with the winds pushing them along, then they can't at all.

Today, with an election nearing, May has chosen to run in Central Nova. It’s not premature to issue a small craft warning.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

You are incorrect about the QC by-election, which was in Repentigny. The Greens were ramping up for a campaign, but the poorly organized EDA had a miscommunication with Elections Canada, and missed the candidate submission (a number of hours I believe). Since it was a by-election, the usual time for submitting candidacies is much shorter, so mistakes were made.
In terms of EMAY and the Green Party, you are, of course, perfectly in tune with 'traditional political wisdom'...but as Green parties all over the world have shown, perhaps some things change...