The Greens stand down in Labrador

Elizabeth May’s party wants to cooperate

by Aaron Wherry

Elizabeth May announces that the Greens will not field a candidate in the Labrador by-election.

Elizabeth May announced today that the Green Party of Canada has decided not to field a candidate in the upcoming Labrador by-election and challenged the NDP to do the same…

The Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada has made the decision to step out ahead of nominating meetings of other parties to call for cooperation in Labrador. Peyton Barrett, Campaign Manager for George Barrett, the Green Candidate in the 2011 election, concurred, “At the grassroots level, we agree that cooperation can work in exceptional circumstances and when it is in the best interest of voters.”

This is what Ms. May suggested the Greens would do if a by-election had been called in Etobicoke Centre as a result of the dispute between Ted Opitz and Borys Wrzesnewskyj. As I noted at the time, there’s not really any precedent for such a move.

Via Twitter, Ms. May says the Labrador Greens wanted to do this and, as in Etobicoke Centre, points to questions about the integrity of the election as a reason for doing so. She also says she offered “cooperation” in the Calgary and Victoria by-elections.

The Greens took 1.3% of the vote in Labrador in 2011 (although, if those votes had gone to Liberal Todd Russell, he’d still be the MP right now).

Update 1:54pm. In a release from her Liberal leadership campaign, Joyce Murray says she approached Ms. May and proposed the idea.

“When news broke that a by-election was imminent following the resignation of Peter Penashue, the Harper Conservative MP forced to resign last week due to an election financing scandal, and in light of the 2011 results in Labrador and Stephen Harper’s attempt to stack the deck in Penashue’s favour, I called Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and asked her to consider having the Green Party EDA not run a candidate when the by-election is called. She immediately agreed to discuss the unique circumstances of this riding with the Green Party’s Executive Council and today we see the result: the Green Party has announced that it will not run a candidate in the Labrador by-election,” said MP Murray. “I am solidly on the record supporting local level electoral cooperation to elect progressives and defeat the Harper Conservatives. In this instance it is abundantly clear that the progressive candidate with the greatest ability to do that would be the Liberal candidate and not the Green Party candidate.”




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The Greens stand down in Labrador

  1. I am wondering if this is truly in the Green Party’s best interest. Carrying this reasoning to its logical conclusion means that the Green Party might as well close up shop — so as to avoid “dividing” the vote. If the differences between the Greens and the Liberals are so small, then why are the Greens even a party? May is doing incredible damage to her party’s brand.

    • J Story, you would have the Greens with a historic 1.3% of the vote in that riding, expend their party’s scarce resources in order to weaken the second and third place parties? Such, you believe, would be a fine purpose for the Greens as a party? Did you happen to mention whether you have the Greens best interests at heart, in commenting? If so, then I suspect where you err, is in assuming that your preferred “logical conclusion” is the only logical conclusion of the reasoning for cooperation.

    • The Green Party is really just the Elizabeth May Party now. Her hope is that one day in the future an NDP or Liberal government will make her Environment Minister. It’s all about building her own personal legacy now.

      • The GreenConservative Party is really just the Elizabeth May Stephen Harper Party now.
        It’s all about building her his own personal legacy now

        • That’s true. Stephen Harper is the only elected Conservative MP, just like Liz May is the only elected Green Party MP. Thanks for reminding us all. You’re very perceptive.

  2. I think most of the public are well aware that Libs and Greens are no where near the same on policy YET also know that Libs are at least marginally less toxic than the current regime. This offer is being made in the hopes that it sends a message to the public that the greater good requires cooperation in the short turn to fix our electoral system and country before cons turn it into a moon scape. This is not a Green surrender and IF the other Parties continue to balk at cooperation the public will see them for the egotists they are and I hope punish them at the ballot box

    I’m confident that if an NDP had been second in Labrador Greens would still step out of this race to make a point, punish Penashue and would call on the Libs to do the same, it’s nothing to do with the GPC siding with the LPC. My message to both the NDP and the LPC, Don’t let your egos win over the logic of cooperation to defeat Harper, times running out.

    • In this instance I would agree. The re-election of Penashue, given the methods used to get elected the first time, would be a travesty and an insult to democracy in this country.

  3. “Here is a simple fact. Until and unless the opposition parties agree to some form of a primary run-off election (maybe even on the internet open to all voters in the riding, not just party members) in every riding after nominations close, but before the next election, with two
    simple purposes, one; to prevent any party in the future from forming a majority with less than 50% of the vote by passing an electoral reform law to introduce proportional representation, and two; to introduce Parliamentary reforms including free votes and party reforms including open nominations and major party policy being binding after elections
    unless overturned by referendum, so that people would trust the government to be stable and not do anything unexpected until the legislation was passed and a new election called, the Conservatives will rule. After all, a 42 year reign of the Ontario Progressive Conservative government was ended with simple a two year accord between the Liberals and NDP that made David Peterson Premier.”

    • and that deal led to the horrible NDP government of Bob Rae and the rise of Mike Harris and his policies.

      Seems you would rather forget Saskatchewan and the deal the NDP did with the Liberals to keep the Sask Party out of office. Nevermind you destroyed the latter and bolster the Sask Party as the only real opposition. You live in a world of hate that is more harmful to Canada than anything you say to contrary.

      • Seems you have forgotten that former Conservative Saskatchewan Premier Grant Devine and most of his Cabinet and members of the Legislature were removed by the voters for their conduct before the Police could do it under the law. How about your hero Mike Harris and his Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s promises to balance the budget, lower the deficit, reduce spending, and allow voters to have the power to make sure they and future politicians would keep their promises, because he promised as part of the “Common Sense” revolution, to pass a law allowing Citizen Initiatives or Referendums.

        However, he did none of these things, but he did feed a gainsburger to the pack of wild dogs biting at the heals of the rest of us, by cutting corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthy, leasing 407 for 99 years to foreign investors for less than one years profits and selling our locally owned hydro utilities that produced power at cost and gave us an economic advantage for half a century before he took office and destroyed that too.

        The only thing more harmfull to Canada and our provinces than the dictators we give five year absolute majorities to with less than forty percent of the vote and who promise one thing and do another after being elected, like is the case with our present Prime Minister, is people like you, who are so misguided and selfish that your votes and attitudes are what got us into this mess in the first place. When the time comes and the government lead by Mr. Harper or whomever leads it is defeated, voters will have elected 338 MPs who will be forced to represent their wishes, change the electoral laws to implement a proportional representation based system and thereby ensure that no party will ever form a majority government again with less than 50% of the vote.

        And then you can move to Zimbabwe and live under the Rule of Robert Mugabe and work as a servant in his $200 Million dollar mansion paid for by the blood of the people and foreign aid that was supposed to go to them, another fine example of Conservative Leadership in a country controlled entirely by foreign corporate interests. Or even better, you can move to Russia and work as a homeless peasant labourer and live under the boots of Putin and his Conservative majority, supported by the murder, rape and pillaging of their citizens by their police and other authorities answering entirely to corporate interests as well. Even better yet, you can go to China and get a job as a foreign worker, because theirs will be working in Canada doing your job for slave wages.

        • “The only thing more harmfull to Canada and our provinces than the dictators we give five year absolute majorities to with less than forty percent of the vote”
          So I guess you had a huge problem with Jean Chretien?

          • Exactly. A dictator is a dictator, regardless of the particular political party or other favourite flavour of the day, week, month, year, decade or century attached to the excuse of an electoral system that elected them.

          • I certainly did.

      • That deal, which led to that “horrible NDP government of Bob Rae”, really had little to do with it. It was vote splitting, and poor alternative leadership candidates. Much like the situation that gives us the current federal government.

  4. The Green party got 139 votes, 59 votes more than needed to elect the
    Liberal. As a founding Candidate and former Chief Agent and member of
    the Green party of Canada I believe that until and unless there is some
    form of electoral co-operation between the Greens, Liberals and NDP, the
    Conservative will win another absent mandate to govern without
    restraint, as it seems every majority government in Canada or its
    provincial governments do now.

    We have no tools of direct democracy in Canada, except in BC, no way of
    making parties, leaders or candidates keep their promises or to keep
    them accountable after they get elected, other than defeating them in
    the next election only to replace them with successors that behave in an
    even worse manner. The only way to change this is to force the issue
    during an election that elects a minority government, because we have
    seen what happens when we give a majority to a leader promising open
    accountable government, Senate reform, to repeal the GST or to
    decriminalize the possession of marijuana and we know they will not do
    it unless they must.

    It is only partisans in pursuit of power that are willing to risk the
    future of their Country or Provinces in the hands of incompetents or
    worse, while waiting sometimes endlessly for their turn, rather than
    making changes so such people never get absolute power again. That is
    what is at stake here, it is all or nothing.

    • You say one thing but want to do another. Your hatred of Harper is partisanship at its worst. You have no real policy other than “Stop Harper. He’s Satan”.

      Canadian’s are much smarter than you think. They cherish their right to choose the party they support over your attempts to get the Liberals back into power under the guise of the 60% smoke screen.

      Stop pretending to be democratic supporters and admit what you really are.

      • Actually, it’s “Stop the CPC.. they’re damaging”

        • Yes, this is really a choice between good and evil. Anyone who votes Conservative is in favour of evil.

          • Whatever Orson. Let me know when you’ve got something intelligent to say.

          • Drink!

  5. Elizabeth May and Joyce Murray are to be congratulated, but even more so, are the local riding associations.

    In the Labrador case, the local Green campaign team has made the logical decision with 1.3% of the historic vote, to simply support the liberal nomination. The decision is consistent with the position taken by Ms May and her party, in favour of one-time cooperation to achieve electoral reform.

    What has always been critical to the proposal to cooperate, has been the need for a formula that allows for a democratic decision over who will run in which riding. The Murray campaign recently released an excellent summary of how such democratic choices could be made. In summary, they would involve the riding associations in 20 – 50 strategic ridings, choosing to nominate candidates as always, but to submit them to a primary run-off, to determine which party’s candidate would run in the election.

    • Is there actually such a thing as “Labrador Greens”?? They ran a paper candidate last tiem and had no campaign, I’m sceptical that the Green party actually has any members in all of Labrador – so there was no one there to agree or disagree with what May is suggesting.

      • Their candidate in 2011 was George Barrett. Their voters, though few, would be twice the margin that the “Conservatives” won by. You would have to have read several sentences into the article to know that, so don’t feel bad.

  6. Presumably, this is as much about Penashue specifically as the Tories generally, no?

    • You might say it is as much about the Tories generally as about Penashue.

    • Penashue is pretty much a 5 star generally

  7. Martha Hall Findlay is so far off her rocker I’m amazed she hasn’t been booted out of her party.

  8. The Green Party will not be running a candidate in Labrador because the party has no effective local organization. Elizabeth May doesn’t want the NDP to run a candidate because to do so would raise the profile of the NDP nationally and weaken the Greens in the long run.

  9. My only problem with this is that there’s no guarantee the Green vote in Labrador will go to the Liberal candidate. Some of the vote may have simply been a “none-of-the-above” protest vote, and they may just stay home for the by-election. Some may lean more towards the NDP or the Cons than the Liberals.

    That said, looking at the results of the 2011 election, I hope that the NDP follows suit and has their candidate step aside. At the very least, it will make for an interesting experiment on voter intention under a true ABC scenario. It could potentially answer the question: What percentage of NDP/Green will vote Liberal if they don’t have a candidate of their own to vote for, in Labrador? Whether that question could be applied to other ridings may be doubtful (and the flip-side: what percentage of Libs/Green would vote NDP under the opposite circumstances? would remain unanswered).

    • Certainly, we got part of the answer in the way that the Liberal collapse helped the Cons to a majority as well as helping the NDP. In an either/or situation especially with worries about the economy the Conservatives will benefit, at least in a national election. My most definite disagreement with Harper and the “unite the rest”ers is I do not want to have to choose between two parties left and right federally.

  10. What a marvellous time to be a Tory and huge Harper supporter : there is nothing better than the sound of left wing nut teeth gnashing, hair pulling and rending of garments by the so called progressive elements of the NDP, LPT and Lizzie parties : I sometimes wonder if you realize just how much we Tories appreciate your continuous drone and round and round the circle you go with this idea! The more it makes the headlines and is taken seriously the longer we will be in charge and taking care of business – so I hereby and on behalf of all other Tories (I think in this case I can indeed speak for the others) officially and with the greatest magnanimity not to mention hearftfelt apppreciation thank you – and agree with all of you – yes indeed go ahead sign up for web sites, create new faux supporters classes online rally around the twitter account and keep up the good work because make no mistake about it! You are the reason Harper will be able to remain in the PM’s seat and Mulcair will be leader of the oppostion for as long as they wish and we Tories owe it all to you!

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