Oh No! It’s deja vu all over 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.
Filed under: 2008 Election, Greens In the News, Internal Green Politics, Political Strategy, Ridings to Watch | Tagged: David Chernushenko, Elizabeth May, green party canada, Green Party of Canada, green party organizing, internal green party politics, vote green | 12 Comments »