Workin’ in a coalition mine Whoop! About to slip down


It’s been so long. Time for a new variation on a favourite old tune: The question of just what Elizabeth May will do if this election gets to the home stretch and Green votes could conceivably make the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal government is posed again by this morning’s La Presse. As you will recall, May has seemed in the past to suggest she would do anything to stop the Conservatives, including calling on less-competitive candidates in every riding to throw their support to the leading pro-environmental candidate (defined as “not Conservative”) (defined therefore, in most but not all ridings outside Quebec, as “the Liberal”).

Now there’s more. I want to emphasize that Joël-Denis Bellavance’s story in La Presse is exceptionally darkly sourced (“a Liberal source well-informed of the talks between Liberals and Greens”) and it contains a formal denial from May’s spokesperson (“It’s without basis”). But what it suggests is interesting:

“But this pact also provides for Mme May to pronounce herself in favour of the election of Stéphane Dion as Prime Minister in the final days of the election campaign…

“‘The idea of the accord, it’s like a non-aggression pact so that on the eve of the vote, we arrange it so the environmentalist forces in urban centres rally around Stéphane Dion. In the discussions with Mme May, it was implicitly understood that she put out a call in favour of Mr. Dion. That has always been the spirit of the agreement,’ said a Liberal source well-informed of the talks between Liberals and Greens.”

Again, I need to emphasize that I don’t find the level of sourcing in this story satisfactory, given the prominence La Presse has given it. It’s a story about an accusation launched anonymously by a political opponent of the Greens. It does not settle the question it raises. But now the question is raised, in one of Canada’s largest newspapers. May is doing media interviews in Toronto today. The question, it seems to me, is not so much “Is there a pact?” It’s to test the negative: “Can you say right now that every Green candidate must stay in the race right up to election day, even if their vote could be what keeps a Liberal from winning?” Or, more simply, “You’ve said you do not want to be the Ralph Nader of Canadian politics. What does that mean?”

And since the source for this story is a Liberal, Stéphane Dion should be asked his understanding of his own agreement with May. Does that agreement contain clauses whose import we haven’t yet seen?


Workin’ in a coalition mine Whoop! About to slip down

  1. Ms. May is an agent provacateur inserted by CPoC to split the centre-left vote.


  2. Calling Andrew Coyne,

    calling Andrew Coyne,

    you naive idealism just called, he left a message saying he’ll be on stress leave. He says to call him back when the next Liberal leader is elected.

  3. Hasn’t Harper already stated that one of the reasons he didn’t want May in the debates was that he believes May will be endorsing the Liberals before the end of the campaign?

  4. It’s interesting but since the secret May-Dion pact was signed and whatever its contents are, things have changed dramatically on the Canadian political scene. Canadians don’t support Dion for Prime Minister with the enthusiasm of Elizabeth May, presumably that lack of enthusiasm is applies to would-be Green voters. Liberals will need more than a few Green votes to make a difference since they’re currently polling in the mid to high 20’s. Meanwhile the NDP are surging.

    May may now want to renege on her secret pact and try instead to consolidate her support. Dion will cry out that “It’s unfair”, but all’s fair in love and politics.

  5. I know a few Greens. They support a somewhat fringe party, in part because they march to the beat of their own environmental drums.

    I’m not sure how many will heed the “now become Liberals” call.

    I suspect precious few.

  6. My God you’re boring, Kody.

  7. On a note more serious than my previous post…

    Here is how on voter I know is reasoning right now: she is committed to environmental protection (drives a Prius and contributes to green causes). She will not vote for Harper – obvious – and likes Ms. May.

    Being determined to see Harper defeated, she claims she will vote Liberal in spite of her discomfort with Dion.

    Anyway, Dion and May SHOULD be challenged on this because – to me at least – deals like this feel undemocratic.

    Will it change the mind of the voter I cited? Doubt it, but who knows.

  8. Paul Wells directly confronts a commenter,

    with namecalling,

    and by pure coincidence its again a conservative commenter.

    What are the odds?

  9. Ask Ti-Guy, Einstein.

  10. Paul Wells:

    Just read the title of this post again. You carry musical dialogue with you. (Flowing through meaning.) When is the next music post coming. Looking forward.

  11. Actually, Mike, there’ll be a new iTunes playlist today. A little different from the earlier ones.

  12. I have a hard time putting any stock in this report at all. Should every politician of every stripe have to respond to every unsourced rumor out there?

    Maybe, I guess, seeing as this is an election… but it seems unfair.

  13. Paul Wells:

    Thank you.

  14. Scott M.: your point’s very well taken, which is why I flagged my procedural problems with Joel’s story. But I posted about it because this particular “unsourced rumour” does not come out of nowhere. The Le Devoir interview I link to, above, takes a very similar thesis from Elizabeth May’s own mouth, as recently as this spring.

    And the disagreement over this fundamental strategic question — run hard til the end, or encourage strategic voting at the expense of your party’s own existence? — was at the heart of the Green leadership campaign. David Chernushenko sought to call May out on *precisely* this point, and her answers were, at the very best, highly ambiguous. And why did Chernushenko ask? Because in 2006, when he was the Ottawa Citizen-endorsed Green candidate in Ottawa Centre, she was an NGO leader signing the public appeals of the “Think Twice Coalition” in favour of strategic voting, i.e. the mass abandonment of third and fourth parties in favour of Liberals.

    So it’s a simple question: has she changed her mind since she was a member of Think Twice?

    I’ll write more on this later.

  15. kody,
    I know there are many who do support the greens as a protest party. But most of the active Greens I know are not like that. They are smart, policy-focused, and not token environmental lefties. I used to work down the hall from one of the Greens offices and they do not fit the strerotype many people have of them. I will admit that Elizabeth May has not done much to dispel that sterotype, but I think we owe it to the political discourse in the country to examine the Greens a little more intelligently.

  16. I don’t think the provenance of the story is that interesting – it has legs regardless. Of course the Liberals are the most motivated to put this around since they need to pull together the left wing votes to have any chance of progress against Harper, but it does not neatly illustrate the difficulties of the left-wing voter. Who do they vote for?

    Just as Chretien benefited from this problem for right-wingers in the nineties, so Harper may run the same trick now. I was struck by Harper’s comments on Wells’ remake of the “Breakfast Club” where he claims to now hold the centre ground in politics, particularly in respect of economic management.

  17. Bang on, Bill Simpson.

    But would there be a right if the left and centre united? Or would a new centre evolve?

    Like a clock, where left and right keep moving but like a clock, does the centre hold?

    So let’s just keep *twirling, twirling.

    * Macleans writers’ copyright.

  18. elizabeth may is a carpet bagger in the green party and will throw it under the bus without hesitation. and stephane gets his cheerleader on stage with him. if this is surprising to anyone..

  19. “So it’s a simple question: has she changed her mind since she was a member of Think Twice?”

    Elizabeth May was crying foul, with some justification, for being excluded from the debates, saying it was undemocratic. Hopefully she comes clean about any secret pact that she’s made with Stephane Dion. Anything less shows complete disrespect for voters. She’s no longer heading an NGO, she’s now leading a political party and she has to account to its members, but more importantly, Canadian voters.

  20. If concern for the planet is paramount, if Mr. Dion is truly the best Prime Minister or at least the better choice among two, if the ultimate goal is to prevent the really bad guy (presumably Mr. Harper) from getting back in, and if colluding to work together is the recipe chosen for achieving the stated goal, then not running competing candidates in St. Laurent or Central Nova only, isn’t going to cut it.

    Not that Green’s fractured ~4% of the vote last time is, this time out, going to do anything for anyone in any particular riding, but assuming the current 8-13% was to hold and was somehow concentrated – which it isn’t – wouldn’t it make more sense to the purported crucially important planetary goal of making sure our next prime minister is Mr. Dion and not Mr. Harper, have a better chance of success with a full-scale merger? Or, simply cross the floor and be done with it becoming Environment Minister or at least the opposition’s official environment critic.

    Dan Baril blog (former strategist to E May)
    Dion, Layton and come what May; the road to a personally difficult decision
    April 16, 2007

  21. No offence, but “a Liberal source well-informed of the talks between Liberals and Greens” is pretty consistent with a lot of descriptions I’ve seen over the years, so I wouldn’t call the story “exceptionally darkly sourced.”

    Hence (look, I said hence) it’s just as likely to be as true or untrue as any other story based on a non-named, supposedly in-the-know source.

  22. This reporter is a Duffy henchman…he spews neverending lies….gimme a break.

  23. What is also interesting about this; a lot of people (Green and otherwise) supported Ms. May’s bid to be part of the debates. How will they feel about all of this? A lot of Green support comes from folks who are tired of “politics as usual”. Casting Ms. May in that light should be fairly damaging.

    Simply leveling the accusation at May might be enough to taint her bona fides. That’s why she needs to come out strongly with an explanation.

  24. Paul:
    You have to take into consideration that with every election the Greens are working hard to build a brand, discourage thoughts of them as a one-issue party, and put in a place an effective party structure. Since every vote counts towards additional federal funding for parties, and the green party allocates money to ridings based upon how many votes they received in the election, I can’t imagine Elizabeth May making any endorsements of a non-Green candidate that late in the game. It would be demoralizing to the volunteers in that riding, bad for party financing, and the no one would support it. Elizabeth May is a very bright and a lot more politically astute than you are giving her credit for.

  25. “If concern for the planet is paramount, if Mr. Dion is truly the best Prime Minister”

    It is pretty tough to have a reasoned political dialog when “concern for the planet” is the issue at hand. It is about as edifying a subject as patriotism is in the US presidential debates, and has become a similar stalking horse for all kinds of nonsense.

  26. It is pretty tough to have a reasoned political dialog when “concern for the planet” is the issue at hand. It is about as edifying a subject as patriotism is in the US presidential debates, and has become a similar stalking horse for all kinds of nonsense.

    Don’t know about that — no one in the states has “patriotism policies”, but all politicians have some sort of environmental policy. It may be a bit overblown to state it in that manner, but isn’t the environmental policy of each party important? They each have an impact on quality of living, the economy, etc.

  27. I would like to think that a serious reporter with a serious editor at a serious paper would only run with a story if the source were much brighter than your dark characterization, Paul.

    Forgive me, I am an incurable right-wing optimist in my outlook on the world.

  28. For absolute certain, the status quo cannot prevail, because currently the quo has no status. Red and Green supporters are left with no clear direction on what they are supposed to do, and this only further feeds beast that Mr. Dion is somehow not a leader. Why would you knowingly hand Mr. Harper such a gift?

    The objective, allegedly, was to unseat Mr. Harper as Prime Minister. Well, unless Mr. Dion is about to cross to the Green Party – which maybe given the wolves behind him isn’t such a far-fetched idea – Mr. Dion must tell all Liberals in all 307 ridings to vote Liberal.

    And, if Ms. May is sincere in her statement that she wants to see Mr. Dion as Prime Minister over Mr. Harper, then she too must also tell all Greens to vote Red. If they both don’t do this, how else is Mr. Dion supposed to win more seats than Mr. Harper? Failing this, the state of confusion that has been created is only going to cause vote splitting which, taken to its logical conclusion, Mr. Harper has been handed a second gift, a Majority.

    Dan Baril blog (former strategist to E May)
    Dion-May; next moves
    April 18, 2007

  29. I think May should be in the debates regardless if she plans to sell her party down the river a few days afterwards. May has few policy ideas that are identical to Liberals and so she will mostly bring a new perspective to the debates. I would also like it if a few of fringe parties leaders were included as well.

    Our elites always want to manage the hoi-polloi and tell us what’s good for us. I think it’s fantastic that someone outside the usual network is going to get a chance to present their ideas.

    I also agree with Wells that she and Dion should be questioned about what their plans are so potential Green voters know what will happen if they vote green. However, I am sure the two leaders will be entirely slippery and issue non-denial denials about how there is no agreement or somesuch.

  30. It’s too early to tell which way this double-edged sword of a pact will finally cut. It’s good to see J.D. stirring the pot here, and Paul giving the story legs.

    There is also the aspect of the $1.75 (it could now be $1.89, not sure) per vote per year that each party gets after all the votes are counted.
    So I’m sure Party officials will have something to say to their respective Party leaders before any Party candidates are thrown under the bus in the final days.

    There are bills to pay. And for some Parties (most notably the BLOC), it’s a lot harder to raise money from deep-pocketed, short-armed “supporters” than it is to get it from this per voter subsidy.

  31. Scenario 1:
    Peter MacKay handily wins New Glasgow.
    Conservatives get majority government.

    Scenario 2:
    Peter MacKay loses riding to May
    Weak Minority Conservative government is formed

    Who wants to tell me what happens to Elizabeth May after each of those scenarios?

  32. Or rather what happens to the “Green Party” over all.

  33. jwl makes a rarely-made argument: that even if May wants Dion to be PM and is willing to make strategic decisions to advance that cause, it’s not obvious that she should be excluded from the debates. *So what* if she wants him to be PM? Jack Layton is running in a very different way this time, but it was simply obvious in 2006 that, for his own reasons of NDP survival, he preferred a Harper government over a Martin government and had made strategic decisions that made that outcome likelier. Should he have been excluded from the debates? Of course not.

    My own preference with regard to the debates was that May be excluded simply because she distracts from the pertinent confrontation, which is between the leaders of the two largest parties. Anti-democratic? You bet. If there were more debates there could be different geometries: a Harper-Dion one-on-one, a debate among six or sixteen parties like Marxist-Leninist and so on, even the five-leader debate that was held up in some corners as the democratic ideal and which will now take place.

    But the idea that informal or even formal cooperation between leaders should bar one from debates is, to me, silly. Say A and B form a coalition even though C has more seats than either A or B. Does that bar the leader of A or B from debates during the next campaign? What a dumb rule.

  34. Riley Hennessey:

    Re Scenario 1: Should MacKay win, it will not be “handily.” Based on an in-house media poll a couple of weeks ago, he and Lorifice are running 35% and 33% respectively. The Lib vote in Central Nova has gone over to the Dippers en masse.

    Re Scenario 2: Not a chance in hell May wins the riding. It is for Lorifice to quite possibly lose. May will be lucky to pull 5%. Do you think someone might be polishing off her polical resume after October 14%?

    Re having gotten what she wants (debate participation) and eventually coming out as a full blown Griberal, she will fall on her own sword.

  35. Scott M,
    I am all for discussing environmental issues (clean air and water are top of my list), but not in the context of “saving the planet”. It is so vague and malleable as to be meaningless. It also allows politicians to dodge real and correctable issues (like clean air and water :-)).

  36. I agree completely with JWL : the more the merrier as if we don’t give a platform to the whackos out there their ideas percolate through society more often than feeding the general malaise let them have a stage provided they meet certain basic criteria and then the voter can decide the only real issue I think is logistics at what point when you have 20 debaters how to you manage any serious debate as invariably it would be either chaos or canned speeches and little or no interplay and if the leaders can’t handle it well if you can’t take the heat don’t sit in the seat.

  37. She needs to be asked about the direction she’s going on this pact with Dion, or whether it exists at all. Come to think of it, I wonder if the mainstream media intend to ask Elizabeth May about her position on abortion now that she’s front and center, and God knows, it’s been asked of Reform/CCRAP/Tories since Christ was a cowboy.

  38. Paul,
    I also think it is absurd that it is considered undemocratic (another horribly overworked word) if someone is not included in any particular staged event. It is not as if the Greens do not have ample opportunity to present their arguments all over the media, not to mention any street corner they want to stand on, so please stop the whining about this debate.

  39. Bill Simpson:

    I am embarrassed for anyone over the age of 18 who thinks in terms of “saving the world.” That would make just about all Greens. You start with your own ass, expand to your family, neighbourhood, community, region.

    Did no one catch the contradiction in the article of, “the environmentalist forces in urban centres rally around Stéphane Dion?” So a bunch of urban button pushers are environmentally hip? I would imagine it’s the same “green” demographic that Ms. May has brought on board as Green membership. The metropole scolding the hinterland! It’s about as inane as Toronto claiming to be the country’s greenest city. Toronto CANNOT be “green.” It is an entropic impossibility.

  40. To state the obvious, the left is largely spinning their wheels here with all this manouvering. Shifting the green chairs on the Titanic, so to speak. The Libs, NDP and Greens should long ago have gotten together to create one party.

    I suspected that Bob Rae was poised to do that (I have no evidence, just a gut feeling), and therefore the CPC was most afraid of having Rae win the Libs leadership race.

    When Harper was uniting the right, this is one message I took from him:

    “To the fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, democratic reformers, Quebec bleus, etc … A united Conservative Party can’t give you everything you want, or even MOST of what you want, in the way of policies. But it can give you a heck of a lot more than the Liberals will EVER give you.”

    My take is that there MAY be a leader out there who can make the same kind of case to the coalition of lefties. But I don’t think that same hypothetical leader is willing to do the long hard work to get it done. There is no Harper of the left.

  41. The Greens and Liberals on face book are trading their votes, agreeing to vote by proxie for the other party where there is a chance of defeating the Conservatives.
    Ie: you vote for my party in your riding and I’ll vote for your’s in mine.
    Is this legal?
    It sure as hell is not democracy.
    Where is elections Canada on this issue?
    Electral votes are not a commodity to be traded.

  42. “A lot of Green support comes from folks who are tired of “politics as usual”. Casting Ms. May in that light should be fairly damaging.”

    Well her acceptance of the floor crosser Blair Wilson is just more of politics as usual. It seems to me that the Greens under Jim Harris railed at the Emerson floor crossing after the last election, so for her to say they want to do things differently just doesn’t hold any water. She basically admitted at the time that they accepted Blair Wilson so that she could get into the leader debate.

    While I can’t find a link right now, (actually I haven’t looked yet) I do remember when this non-aggression pact was announced that her intent was to do whatever was necessary to endure Dion became PM. So while you are entitiled to your opinion Paul (and that is what you are paid for), it is just your opnion, but I wouldn’t dismiss Joel’s article out of hand.

    May is a Dion cheerleader and possibly unofficial advisor. The evidence of that is May’s comments after the speech from the throne where the government stated that they were not going to abide by Kyoto. Kyoto was a huge part of the Green’s platform in 2006. After the speech was finished, she stated “that there was nothing in the speech to have an election for, which I interpret as a signal to Dion to not vote against it. It also shows that she has abandoned a main pillar of what the Greens stand for, or is willing to throw principle under the bus for the sake of political expediency; in other words, “politics as usual”.

    My prediction is May will endorse Dion and subsequently be trounced by Peter McKay.

  43. Small clarification: I’m not dismissing JD’s article, which is why I posted it. I’m anticipating, and acknowledging the validity of, concerns about its sourcing. As a rule I find JD is well-connected to people who know what’s going on.

  44. Durward,
    Why is this not democratic? People freely discussing the voting plans seems to me a pretty obvious thing to do. Just because it is under the aegis of a political party does not affect it.

  45. Don’t forget that the Green party has replaced the NDP as the protest party of choice.

    People that would normally vote Liberal but can’t handle Dion, or are Conservative but can’t handle Harper, and NDPers that dislike Layton can feel nice and safe parking their vote with the Greenies.

    It’s not out of an overwhelming awe of the Green parties platform (um, do they actually have one?) but rather the comfort of knowing that they will never get near the reins of power and are therefore in no danger of having their policies ever implemented.

    Any poll that shows the Greens are above 10% is just wrong, and even if that many people did say that for the pole, the vast majority are just parked votes waiting to find their real home.

    May is certainly is in no control of the giant voting bloc, and while a few might follow her wishes, she is no kingmaker.

  46. Superb, Bill, so you don’t mind then if May takes the place of your preferred candidate?

    Paul, wrt only having the two “contenders” in a debate I always think back to the 1993 election, where one of the main “contenders” until that point was basically wiped out. It can be argued that part of that was because of the inclusion of “fringe” party leaders in the debates and the exposure that provided.

    As for the pact, while I believe it entirely possible of May in her own search for a government position (whether as Liberal or Green I don’t think really matters for her), I don’t think the Green voters would heed the call in any event. Most greens I know are quite anti-authoritarian, and if they vote strategically, it’s because they’ve already decided to, and if they haven’t decided to, they won’t just because May says so.

    It’d be a risky gamble for May, because I’m pretty sure the Greens wouldn’t stand for it, so she’d better have a place waiting for her in the Libs if she does.

  47. Mr Wells. The national post is having Ms May to some sort of forum. Now that some people are considering the Green as more of a party than a protest vote it would nice to know what their positions are. I sent this list of questions to the NP and it has disappeared into the ether. Hopefully Ms May might read this blog as she is hot topic and it seems that Green read the blogs is concerned about them. If you have an opportunity to run these question by Ms. May or if she and her cohorts happen to read them I think that the electorate would like to know more about their pltaform other than blanket support for the Green Shift and not wanting to tick off Islam by putting troops in Afganistan.

    Ms May

    What are your positions on the following issues and are they Green party positions:

    1) Immigration – do you support the Conservative immigration reforms introduced in the last budget? If not what would be your immigration policy?
    2) Senate reform. Do you support the senate in it’s current form? Support elected senate? Want the senate abolished? Would you accept a senate appointment?
    3) Do you support ethic committee inquiries such as Mulroney / Schrieber? Chretien/China lobbyists/sidewinder?
    4) Where do you stand on Insight (Drug rehab/harm reduction)?
    5) Law and Order… In favour of lowering age of consent or in agreement with liberal controlled senate to hold it up?
    6) Supreme court appointments – Should there be a vetting process beyond the current one which basically lets the PM appoint recommended candidates at his discretion?
    7) Supreme court activism – Who should make the laws in Canada – parliament or the supreme court?
    8) Abortion – there is currently no abortion law in Canada. Do you have an opinion or plan on this?
    9) Are you in favour of same sex marriage? Polygamy?
    10) First nations funding/ rights land claims – do you support the Kelowna accord? Support more accountability for chiefs and band administrators? Support the current status quo?
    11) Do you support the reduction in the GST? Should it be raised back to 7%.
    12) Do you support the $100 / month child care allowance that the Liberals want to increase to $200 or would you support universal funded child care like the Quebec system?
    13) Does the current federal/provincial equalization system require adjustment?
    14) Do you support charter schools?
    15) What is your position on universal medicare? Is there room for 2-tier private health care as put for by the head of the CMA?
    16) Do support the seal hunt?
    17) I was going to ask why you considered Canadians stupid , but I realize that this was a passing comment on the lack of understanding on the benefit of extra taxes, BUT why the heck did you try to censor the disclosure of this gaffe with threats of litigation.

    Richard Wachal Peachland BC

  48. It seemns to me that we were all very comfortable in assuming that the election was going to be called for October 14 based on well-placed sources within the Conservative Party. I don’t get why we’d suddenly have a problem believing sources now.

  49. T.Thwim,
    I have no doubt I will not like the result of my local riding but that will because more people voted for the other candidate. I have really no concern about how they chose to vote, so long as they are not coerced or whatever.

    I should be singularly ticked if May turned out to be my local candidate but that is how politics works. If you don’t like what is happening in your local riding, get out and organize!

  50. I am an undecided voter who is giving serious consideration to the Green Party, and I may well vote Green. I would NEVER switch my vote to the Liberals! I would rather vote Conservative than Liberal. If Ms. May urges me to switch my vote to the Liberal candidate, or to any other candidate, it is highly unlikely that I would ever consider voting Green again. That kind of cynical maneuver would totally destroy my faith in the Green Party.

  51. Activist, would you have been entirely credulous about what a Conservative said about what the Liberals were planning? Or a Liberal about what Harper planned? Or a Liberal about Elizabeth May? I’m more inclined to hang my hat on what people say about their own party. ‘Cause they, like, actually know what their own parties are doing. I don’t even see why that’s a difficult distinction to draw.

  52. To the extent there ever was a deal, I expect May to back away from it if it appears as if the Liberals are going to lose. If Harper’s re-election appears inevitable in that last week, why would she throw votes (and subsequent post-election money) away like that? It only makes sense if it looks as if Dion might pull out a win.

    Even at that, you can bet that the Green Party, never a bastion of unity at the best of times, would fracture badly upon the announcement of this news. Scores of Green candidates would disavow it instantly, and the internal strife within the Green ranks, always bubbling below the surface at the best of times, would make the old Canadian Alliance leadership fights look like a church picnic.

  53. The question becomes,at the end,when the results are in, will Ms.May still think Canadians as being stupid, or will Canadians think of her as being the stupid one.

  54. If May does throw her support behind the Liberals, this would make her lie complete to Green Party supporters. In the GPC English debate, she was very explicit in stating that she would not seek to make alliances with other parties. If she can break promises to her own party, she certainly is able to break promises to anyone.

  55. The way I read May’s unstated position, together with the Liberal spin in this article, is that she’ll end up backing Liberal or NDP candidates where she can, depending on the riding.

    I agree that might be politically damaging for the Greens among certain voters, but it might also (next time around?) increase Green support as non-fanatics perceive that supporting the Greens need not be a waste or an objectively pro-Harper vote-splitter.

    As to the legitimacy of the tactic, how else can new parties emerge in FPTP? Without the option of throwing support to a larger party on election day, a small party effectively must campaign against its own ideas. That doesn’t strike me as very healthy for democracy.

    Meanwhile, Peter MacKay can attest that secret deals are not always what they’re cooked up to be.

  56. The key aspect of the supposed deal is that it is between Dion and May, the result of which has to be by definition confused, contradictory, poorly communicated and the outcome of wishful thinking.

    Or, in one word, doomed.

  57. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070414/dion_deal_070414/20070414?hub=Politics
    “Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is dismissing any criticism within his party about *a non-aggression deal* struck with Green Leader Elizabeth May.
    Dion has agreed not to run a Liberal candidate in May’s Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, which is currently held by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.
    *In exchange, May is endorsing Dion as the best candidate to become prime minister.*
    Opinion within Liberal ranks is sharply divided. …”


    “ … Under the terms of the *non-compete agreement,* May has agreed not to run a candidate against Dion and will essentially endorse him as prime minister. …
    During the news conference May touted Dion as the answer to Canada’s climate change struggles, saying she has worked closely with him and has become convinced *he is the best choice to lead Canada.* …”

    Is that enough sourcing? Can I believe what journalists write when they quote politicians? Can I? Can I?

    Or should I believe journalists when they quote anonymous sources only if they attack the Conservatives?
    What a dilemma!

  58. I never did understand the debate over whether it is democratic or not to exclude Liz May. I agree with Paul that she only provides a distraction from the real contest, which is between parties that actually have a chance to form the government. Whether she appears in the debate or not has nothing to do with her secret deal with Dion.

    For the same reason, I’d like to see the organizers drop Gilles Duceppe since he is not running for PM and I find it ludicrous that the BQ leader is allowed to use up valuable debate time since his party, by definition, has no interest in forming government.

  59. I really like May because she is inclined to say what she thinks and believes. This is in sharp contrast to Harper and Layton, where Harper’s side only talked about the deal they had after it blew up in their faces. Layton never has come clean and dismissed the concerns of thousands of voters as a “distraction”. So, if this deal had worked, we never would have known that Harper and Layton conspired together to keep Canadians from hearing May.

    Since Harper and Layton have been so secretive about the deals they make together, I am much more curious about learning more about them. Did they conspire on which confidence motions to bring forward or on election strategy/timing?

    Meanwhile, May is an open book compared to Harper/Dion and so she is much more likely to tell us if something is going on.

  60. That should be: Meanwhile, May is an open book compared to Harper/Layton and so she is much more likely to tell us if something is going on.
    Dion was open about his deal with May and anyone who has seen the CPC website knows what Harper thinks of Dion.

  61. Paul, I’ll use your paragraph about questions that leaders should be asked to ask something about your interview with the PM. For Harper’s term in government one of your frequent complaints is that no reporter has asked him about the Iraq war. Then you got a sit down with him and didn’t ask. Why not? Not that I think your questions were softballs. You asked good questions and he gave good answers. But I would have expected that to be at the top of your list.

  62. BTW, on Layton and Harper’s more than year long deal to thwart democratic representation, it wasn’t even secret sources. In addition to the usual “top Tory” sources, two co-chairs of Harper’s campaign also talked about how Harper was only supporting Layton and how Harper’s team had contacted Layton’s team earlier that day to see if Layton was ready to cave or not, so they would know how to respond themselves. What is more fundamental than conspiring behind closed doors to make sure Canadians can’t hear a political leader speak?

    Meanwhile, if May were ever going to advise voters of something, they could still do what they wanted at the ballot box. I don’t see any comparison to the attempt at censorship of political representation that Layton and Harper conspired on.

    Not interested in writing about that, Mr. Wells?

  63. In spirit of Tommy Douglas, voted most famous Canadian, here comes the 2008 edited version of Mouseland

    Mouseland Revisited 2008 edition


    And when they couldn’t take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again.

    Then they went back to the white cats.

    Then to the black cats.

    They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition.


    And as Tommy said,

    You see, my friends, the trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

  64. “would you have been entirely credulous about what a Conservative said about what the Liberals were planning? Or a Liberal about what Harper planned?”

    Wells makes a good point. Maybe this is bogus and the Liberals are floating it to drive down the support of their erstwhile purported ally or at least non-enemy.

    I wish I could say there was some kind of long-term strategic genius on the Liberals’ part in making an alliance with May, followed by pulling the rug out from under her once the writ dropped, but I doubt it.

  65. Puffins…apology’s…suspensions..resignations.
    planes that dont fly….secret party deal’s..
    Honestly…the Sens v Leafs even when Domi was good wasnt this much fun!!! Is there a way I can vote for all of them and have this happen every couple of years!!! Carry on.

  66. Well if were going to entertain this than we have to entertain the JACK + STEVIE back room deal.

    I just found it interesting that the ‘dear leader’ would take his cue from Jack Layton.

  67. Calgary Junkie, way back wrote “To the fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, democratic reformers, Quebec bleus, etc … A united Conservative Party can’t give you everything you want, or even MOST of what you want, in the way of policies. But it can give you a heck of a lot more than the Liberals will EVER give you.”

    Imagine if the Liberals took a stand like that?

    “To the working class, environmentally conscious social progressive, or marginalized cultural communities: the Liberal Party can’t give you everything you want, or even most of what you want, in the way of policies. But it can give you a heck of a lot more than the Conservatives will ever give you.”

    But I guess the left want everything, and they would rather fight amongst themselves than get it.

  68. Wow. Wayne’s talking points have been found by Sue. I can tell because of the lack of punctuation. But where Wayne is amusing in a slightly sad way, Sue is simply vindictive and hateful.

    We miss you, Wayne! Hoping your having fun with Dion tonight.

  69. Wells just got SUEd by the Green Party.

  70. .
    All style. No substance. Stupid topic.

    Paul Wells, if you don’t like what a commentor says, delete it and move on.

    It’s rotten bad taste, bad manners, bad sportsmanship, bad journalism to insult a commentor attempting to participate. Stop it. It’s so Harperish.


  71. It’s nice to see one of the leaders come out strong on national security. The agenda that she’s calling is for boomers to “delay” investment into growing jobs (building contractors, wind turbine supply chain, railroad supply chain, agri/desalination R+D, etc.) long enough for boomers to start using last-year-of-life healthcare (2013 is when males start to die)…S.Harper intends to leaving his own children a pre-WWII. He intends for younger Canadians and those who care for the future world’s poor, to just sit and take it and not retaliate. Why do Conservatives even have children?
    Anyways, I’ve seen a voting methodology where 2nd place votes are accredited, which would make sense if we ever go to a two or three party system; be good for USA now. Otherwise, you get socially stuck if you make a mistake (corporatism USA), always moving to the gravity of the middle to win. Pandemic=AGW+rich.

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