Elizabeth May to tilt at Central Nova windmill again.

Oh No! It’s deja vu all over again.

Running in Central Nova again?!

Running in Central Nova again?!

I just read back to back posts at Report on Greens, where yesterday Elizabeth May had seemed to back down on her insistence on running in Central Nova, and thenflip flopped in a CTV interview. Yesterday I was quite pleased. I assumed that Elizabeth had seen the light, and realized that it was simple necessity  that she win a seat fair and square. Even casual observers of the GPC could see that her future, and even the Green Party’s future depends upon meeting the raised expectations of the electorate and the Party. After all, if the Greens were content to make marginal, and incremental improvements in their vote, then they would have elected David Chernushenko leader, and been guaranteed solid organisation and management. Instead, the GPC elected Elizabeth May because her high profile. Her undoubted media savvy seemed to offer the best chance of a strong Air War, and maybe a couple of seats in the next general election.

We all know that things somehow went wrong when Elizabeth rejected the professional advice of Dan Baril, and decided to run against Peter Mackay in Central Nova. I won’t rake it all over the coals again. Suffice it to say that Central Nova would vote for Peters dog if Peter was unavailable, just so long as the dog went by the name Mackay. It could be that Elizabeth thought that her pact with Dion not to run a Liberal candidate against her would suffice to unseat the favourite. There’s no question that Elizabeth’s desire to represent the riding where she and her family have lived for several decades weighed heavily on her. I have little doubt that more than a dash of wishful thinking was involved.

What actually happened is history now. The Green Party of Canada injected $80,000 into the campaign, out of which an astonishing $31,000 was spent on mostly print advertising. The bulk of the balance of their spending was on office rent, heat, and phones. A total of $55,000 was expended, (about $25k less than the spending limit), and Elizabeth May came in 6,000 votes behind Peter Mackay. Mind you, this was without any Liberal candidate in the race.

Now I’m sure that the Central Nova campaign identified all of the local GPC supporters. (NOT). I’m sure that they learned all about running an effective campaign in Central Nova, (NOT). Does Elizabeth imagine that with Ignatieff’s commitment to run a Liberal candidate against her, this will split the Conservative vote? Will the Lib/Con split to a greater extent than it splits her own vote? Not gonna happen. I don’t have any local opinion research to back me up, but I sincerely doubt that Elizabeth does either. I will eat my hat if any serious polls of the local electorate would support her in her decision. What the devil is she thinking then? The only thing I am left with is to suppose that she knows something that I don’t know.

Is Peter Mackay going to run in the next election or not? If he goes, and decides not to run his dog against her, then May suddenly becomes my favourite to win there. That could explain it. I will profusely apologise if that is the case. If it isn’t, then I am very disappointed indeed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Bill Casey, the Independent, and formerly Progressive Conservative incumbent in the next door riding of Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, has announced his intention not to run again. The Liberals will nominate Tracy Parsons again, which is not the best news for a run by Elizabeth, but this riding is a much better choice. It will be up for grabs, and there is enough time to do the fieldwork needed to elect Elizabeth there. This will meet Elizabeth’s need to be close to home, and will meet her Party’s need to bloody well put the puck in the net. If Elizabeth wants a slam dunk, then perhaps she could, for just a teensy weensie second, consider a guaranteed seat in Ontario? It’s called Guelph, and Mike Nagy has done a bang up job, and I mean really excellent, of preparing the ground for another heavy hitting candidate.

If not Elizabeth, then perhaps an invitation to David Chernushenko to stay in Guelph for 6 months or so is in order? The press would really eat up a ‘Leader in Waiting’ story, and I guarantee David would have an enormous volunteer presence if he took this bold step. It could be that he will be running municipally in 2010, but David, consider well how a high national profile could affect your future. The leadership of the GPC would be yours on a platter were you the first elected Green.

I think that the Green Party of Canada has to start examining it’s devolution into a leaders cult. We need more breadth, more high profile candidates to move forward with. I think that we need to start actively seeking out, and recruiting ambitious souls who are Green at heart. There is no question that there are many hundreds of Canadians with high profiles, who might leap at the chance to be the first Green Party Member of Parliament. There is no question that there is a plethora of high profile local ‘talent’ that could make a go of it in one, or all of our stronger riding’s. I don’t expect that our Ottawa office will look all that kindly on any major figures who stand forward, so it’s going to be up to the local EDA’s. Have a look at my previous post about recruiting municipal politicians as candidates. Hook up with your local councillor, mayor, and the second and third place candidates in the last election. Check out the candidates from the losing Party’s in the last few elections. You never can tell, but I bet if every EDA in Canada were to approach all of the above, we would recruit quite a few strong contenders, and win a seat or two in the next election.

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12 Responses

  1. “The press would really eat up a ‘Leader in Waiting’ story”

    I really doubt it. A CP press story, I guess. Then {blank}.

    David C. has his supporters, but he is identified with certain power brokers many of us otherwise loyal greens dislike.

    GPC staffers meddle far too much in party affairs, and until that changes, the party will remain an internal mess.

    E. May brought more profile to the party, but does not seem to know how to fix what Harris and crew broke.

  2. Actually I am curious,
    I am not of the opinion that the leader should matter much beyond the public spokesperson role. I don’t much care who is leader, provided the Party, and especially staff get clear and effective direction. Succesive leaders have gathered control into their hands, despite their constitutional limitations. Jim had real strengths, but managing people and processes wasn’t one of them. Elizabeth likewise has real skills, but damned sure those don’t include political campaigning, or organizing.
    Council generally has a few good organizers, and campaigners on it, but they get bogged down in internal conflicts. Should we have a President to manage the staff? Councillors are not paid, and don’t have the time to actually manage. The leader isn’t, and shouldn’t be elected for management skills. How do we reconcile the need to direct staff, and the need for staff to have some elbow room to work?

  3. […] [The Star] Greens more united than ever, standing behind leadership: May [CP, via Metro] Elizabeth May to tilt at Central Nova windmill again. [Not an Official Green Party Canada […]

  4. I think that one major reasons that May will not abandon Central Nova is that she now has a power base there [and among all Greens in the region], which would not happen anywhere else, and gives her more clout to have things her way within the party. Control freaks can never get enough of that.

    I elaborate why only a place like Central Nova would offer that kind of fiercly loyal power base in this Babble discussion thread:


    I live in rural Nova Scotia. I actually think that the Central Nova Greens have put together a pretty impressive political machine. But unless Peter MacKay is going to pack it in, she doesn’t stand even a remote chance of winning there, ever.

    Just too far to go, and not the kind of place to ever have a big enough slice of the population warm to the particular kind of appeal she has.

    And even if MacKay suddenly quits, that would only promote her to longshot status.

    Not to mention that she is having zero spillover effect on surrounding ridings… which I predicted when she made her choice, and I believe would have NOT been true for a number of ridings in Ontario or BC where she could have had coatails.

    But thats all academic now.

    She was only suggesting an openess to run elesewhere in a general election because it sounds good. And besides herself there are now way too many people with a substantial stake in her being in Central Nova… people who carry an incresing weight within the national party in their own right as well as more voices of Elizabeth May.

    My post on why Central Nova is such a unique power base for her was at March 2, 2009 – 7:26am in that discussion thread, But the next post also is about how she throws her weight around.

    Comments on that welcomed there or here.

  5. You might be right about the reasons EMay wants to continue tilting at Central Nova. I also think that her reasons include the fact that she wants to be able to commute between her home and Ottawa regularly on the taxpayers tab.

    What do you think of Casey’s old riding? Would the old PC’s there be attracted to EMay, or would they split between the Lib’s and new CPC?

    As far as the weight of Central Nova acolytes within the National Party is purely a case of loyalists filling patronage slots. Elizabeth never felt at home with Green Party types, and I don’t think she trusted anybody that she didn’t bring with her. She might not have been far wrong there, but she was not very wise in the following respect. The Greens visible from Ottawa are just the tip of the Party. There are tons of networks that she simply doesn’t know exist, because they don’t touch council politics with a ten foot pole. The GPO is stuffed full of people who watched her victory with some trepidation, and when their negative expectations were fulfilled, they bailed to Provincial politics. When the next leadership battle commences, she better watch out, because all kinds of people she knows nothing about, because she never reached out to them will come out of the woodworks, and bite her on the ass. Her NS base will look pretty ridiculous then.

  6. Thats why she is building an empire in Central Nova that is concretely independent of the organization of the national party.

    Not just to throw her weight in the national party, but increasingly to not need it. For example, to render irrelevant whether the national party thinks that $15,000 or more per month, non election time, is poured into a riding where she will never win.

    They will [and maybe it is already most of the way to “are”] generate the cash flow themselves, from within the Central Nova EDA- fundraising nationally of course.

    For that, check out http://www.christindal.ca/2009/03/02/where-does-the-green-party-go-from-here/comment-page-1/

    I think she’s be worse off in Casey’s old riding, even without an incumbent. Its hard to explain all the elements of this, but it is most difficult for the GP to have traction in the Maritimes. I said it 2 years ago, and nothing has changed. Do you think that would have been true if she was still in LNC or elsewhere in Southern Ontario? Or in urban/suburban BC? Not to my knowledge and living experience of those places.

    Greens may be able to crack that. But you need a lighter nut to crack. And while I’m prejudiced about May. I don’t think she’s the right person to do it. A politician can’t win on their capacity for face to face charisma. And Nay does not impress Maritimers at the distance they see her.

    • I don’t know enough about maritimes politics I guess. I do know enough about Ontario. These kinds of resources would suffice to win quite a few different ridings for a leaders campaign. It appears that the Party had quite a bit of pre-writ resources going into Central Nova, and feet on the ground doing effective fieldwork counts everywhere.

  7. […] The second reason is a long shot, but an exciting one for federal Greens. If Peter MacKay became the next secretary general of NATO (a possibility slightly more likely now that U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden is reportedly lobbying on his behalf), that would make a vacated Central Nova more winnable than ever for Elizabeth May. She could convincingly argue that she’s MacKay’s natural successor having already paid her dues there, and that she’s always remained loyal to the riding even when the going got tough. […]

  8. She has no chance of winning in Central Nova despite her “kool-aid drinking” organization and she has less chance of winning in Casey’s old riding. She wouldn’t poll 10% there.

    • Deano, that just isn’t a realistic comment. There’s no need to guess about it though, with Casey’s resignation today, we will probably get a chance to see in the upcoming by-election. That assumes, ( and a very bold assumption too) that there won’t be a general election first.

  9. Harper will hold of 5 months before calling the bi elec.
    I made a mistake in my last post. I am Green at heart but E May won’t poll above 7 percent in CCMV.

  10. The numbers in CN return can’t reflect accurately the paid staff members on the ground. Not a chance.

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