May misplays the “sexism” card


There’s something nostalgically  retro about Elizabeth May cry of “sexism” to explain her exclusion from the leaders’  debates. After all, isn’t “sexism” the very vehicle that transported Sarah Palin to the VP debates south of the border?  Talking to a group of reporters on Parliament Hill yesterday, May played the victim, blaming the “old boy’s club”: “This is anti-democratic, closed-door, backroom decision-making by four national party leaders who are all men and five television executives – who are all men – to keep out the one woman leader of a federal party.” 

That’s poppycock, of course.  Even more laugh-out-loud funny is May’s outrage over “anti-democratic, closed-door, backroom decision-making.” As I learned researching this profile of her last year, behind May’s feisty-martyr public persona is a woman well-acquainted with closed-door finagling. Just look at that contentious arrangement she hammered out with Dion in Central Nova last spring.

May belongs in the leadership debates for the very reasons the leaders don’t want her, and none of them has to do with the fact she’s a she. Rather, her arrival signals a potential threat. The Greens may have only garnered 4 per cent of the national vote in the last election, but  they’re currently standing at 10 per cent, behind the NDP at 16 per cent, according to this Aug. 30 Ipsos Reid poll. May’s presence would be, at worst, an oxygen-sucking distraction, at best a gust of fresh air. She’s whip-smart, charismatic, possesses a rapier wit and can speak across the range of issues (though her Central Nova deal with the Grits hand-cuffs her from really going to town on their woeful eco record). 

Why the pols don’t want her is obvious. But what are the suits who make up the shadowy TV network “Consortium” thinking? They can’t use the “no Green MP” excuse now that former Independent Blair Wilson jumped last month. May’s presence would draw viewers and raise the level of spectacle. So why the freeze-out?  That’s the question May should be asking, instead of serving up a “I’m just a powerless woman against the patriarchy” explanation. It’s just so 1970s.


May misplays the “sexism” card

  1. Well put, Anne. The strange thing about the “those won’t let me in because I’m a girl” line is not only that it’s innaccurate, but also that it directly undermines the far more appealing “they won’t let me in because I’m a threat” narrative, which speaks to May’s gravitas, credibility, and competence – the very image she needs to cultivate if she ever wants to be elected.

    Personally, I think Harper is particularly worried because giving May all that national attention may make things difficult for MacKay in Central Nova. The riding is solidly his, but if the idea that she’s on the level with the other leaders seeps into the public consciousness, that could conceivably change. But what do I know, if there’s one thing I’ve been reminded of a thousand times in the past two days, it’s that we’re all just playing checkers against that wily chess master…

  2. This is a really good point.
    It was the responses of the other leaders to Harper’s refusal to play with May that really bothered me. Instead of calling out the PM on what appeared to be a petulant stance, and refusing to allow him to dictate the terms of the debate, Layton and Dion turned around and said, well, if having May means no Harper, than we’ll support the ousting of May. Why not instead invite Harper to make good on his threat and bow out. Have the debate without him. I’d be interested to know whether Harper would ultimately be willing to take this particular issue that far. And if so, why? Certainly not because she’s a girl.

  3. I agree. It looked whiny to sling the sexism charge without evidence.

  4. Especially whiny if you consider that for the 2006 debates, Jim Harris (a male), then leader of the GPC was also turned down largely for the same reasons. The vote for the GPC did not change appreciably between the 2004 and 2006 elections (4.3% to 4.5%) and they had also no members after the 2004 election who had actually sat in parliament as an elected Green.

    Does anyone recall Audrey MacLaughlin or Alexa McDonough being denied a spot in the Leader’s debates because they were female?

  5. Any woman who’s voice drips with such obvious hatred as she gets on national tv and blames “4 men” and then “5 men” has just lost all credibility in my eyes.

    Who is really the sexist here? The most sexist notion of all is that only one gender is capable of sexism.

    I am so sick of these fembot harpies.

    Someone who willing shows such contempt for 50% of the population of the nation is obviously not fit to run for office, let alone speak to the nation.

    Show me a politician who talks about women the way that May dissed men. Replace the words “men” with “blacks” or “Jews” and you should quickly see how awful it is to have female politicians running for office who continue to parrot this kind of nonsense.

    Pound sand, Elizabeth May. You lost my consideration, and hopefully that of the other 15,000,000 awful Canadian men as well.

  6. LOL Rob. Your indignation is a little over the top don’t you think?

    While her comment may have been misplayed, she *is* the only female candidate and a one off comment like that was clearly designed to remind female voters what it is like to be a women in a mans world.

    But hey nice try there to spin it out of all proportion. :)

  7. No, it is not over the top, Dave. Did you actually see and hear her say it, or did you just read it.

    She said “men” with such hatred in her voice that it was disgusting.

    But hey, nice try at being a feminist apologist.

    If sexism is disgusting from males to females, then it is equally disgusting from females to males… because, after all, you do believe in equality, don’t you?

  8. May in a very strange way is about to experience an old axiom : be careful what you wish for! Now that she has finally managed to finagle her way onto the public stage we are about to experience a newsflash : politicians are chameleons (they have to be). May will have to work on her persona or she will lose the support that right now just comes from the name of her party after all put green in your name and you can probabaly get 5% of the canadian vote right there. She has a terrible habit of cutting people off and if she doesn’t deal with that she will go down in flames. She is canny, articulate and intelligent so I for one am looking forward to the debate and being a conservative myself I am going to watch the dynamics closely as she and hers are obviously going after the Conservative, BQ, NDP and undecided voters right now but you know what they say about politicians. She has already expressed her desire for Dion to be PM so I don’t expect her to target him at all (that will come later if she’s smart)

  9. I wish the rest of Canada could have had a first hand view of her shananigans in Cape Breton 30 years ago when she hung a bunch of farmers and woodsman out to dry in an ill concieved law suit againt a local pulpmill. She fled to Ottawa leaving the locals to clean up the mess

  10. she said “men” with such hatred in her voice that it was disgusting.

    Calm down, dear.

  11. Some of the macho-men’s vitriolically misogynist comments against May are a bit retro, don’t you think, boys?

    Come on, now, we saw last night 4 suits and a lively, informed, intelligent and feisty woman debating and holding her own against the Fascist Father of the almost-Parliament of Canada, Herr Harper!

    Elizabeth is a breath of intelligent, voter-magnet air that will give the tired old macho-megalomaniacs in Ottawa a run for their taxpayers’ money!

    You go, girl!

  12. Rob Fedders

    What’s the matter, sweetie, are you suffering from premature andropause again?! tsk tsk such “hatred in your voice” hon! Tone it down already. Your mama may hear ya!


  14. Lol! Bring it on.

    I notice there is not a real intellectual rebuttal.. rather, just typical PC fembot insults, as usual, void of any intellectual input. Sigh. Long live MAY! MAY she bring Canada right to into Communism!