The newly elected member for Saanich-Gulf Islands


Kady O’Malley explains all of the things Elizabeth May won’t be able to do as an independent MP.

As an Independent, May will not be able to avail herself of the additional financial resources provided to officially recognized parties, which are allocated by formula depending on caucus size, and include a salary boost for the leader, as well as extra funding for staff, research, hospitality and travel. She will not automatically be allocated time during debate, nor will she have the right to respond to ministerial and other statements. She certainly won’t be guaranteed a regular speaking slot during the opening round of QP … May also won’t be able to count on clocking in time at committee unless one of the other parties is feeling particularly generous when Procedure and House Affairs meets to draw up the membership lists. As an Independent, she won’t be given a seat at the table unless another party is willing to give up one of their slots. 


The newly elected member for Saanich-Gulf Islands

  1. It didn’t stop Deborah Grey, and it won’t stop Lizzie May. It’s a foot in the door.

    • False equivalency.

      Deborah Grey was the harbinger of the Reform Party movement that feasted upon the corpse of Mulroney’s disintegrating coalition in her 1989 byelection.

      Elizabeth May is the harbinger of… Elizabeth May.

      • Lizzie May is the harbinger of the Green Party, like it or not.

      • It doesn’t matter what I like. What matters is the fact that the Reform Party was emerging at the time of Deb’s ’89 byelection victory to wholesale supplant the PC Party in the west.

        By contrast, Elizabeth May decamped for Saanich-Gulf Islands immediately following the ’08 election, and spent the intervening 2 1/2 years building her chances of election there to the exclusion of the other 307 Green Party candidates.

        For these “efforts” the Greens were rewarded with 40% fewer votes than in 2008. I don’t see a comparable trend here.

        • That’s because you’re unaware it’s an international party…it isn’t just her alone, or a few others scattered across Canada.

        • Presume, much?

          I have not seen any evidence that May’s compatriots in the international Green movement assisted her in any material way in this campaign.

        • Presume much?? Since you have no idea what goes on in the Green party, how would you know?

        • Well, you’re the one who introduced us all to this international Green movement. By all means, give us examples of material assistance provided by Green parties outside of Canada towards the common cause, as it were.

          We eagerly await your edification.

        • Anonymous_like_the_rest_of_us. ….still no reply button…this is really awkward…but to answer your question I have no idea how the party helps each other internationally….and you don’t either.

        • Then why bring up the international Green movement at all? We’re not all daft here, I happen to know quite well about other Green movements, such as in Germany, where the party has previously entered cabinet.

          However, where does this logically follow to the benefit of Elizabeth May and her one little seat on Vancouver Island?

          • ‘One little seat’ – now certain seats are more important than others?

        • Anonymous_like_the_rest_of_us I brought it up, because of the insistence she is only one member, with only one seat, and has no other backing.

          • You can officially have the last word. Your circular logic has won the day. Kudos.

  2. And you can bet she’ll be complaining about *all* of those things.

    Hope her party enjoys the 40% less in voter subsidies it’ll receive this time around. Should be a solid foundation from which to build a national organization.

    • It’s fairly moot anyway, since the voter subsidies will be eliminated. She made the right trade-off.

      • Perhaps, but back to Kady’s point; what good is it being the only Green Party member in Parliament?

  3. This really looks like it is a ‘poor May’ piece, but to be blunt – this is what she, and her party, have earned so far. That may change in the future, but let’s be honest; right now she is lucky to have a seat.

  4. You can bet May will be making demands. Hope Harper has the good sense to say no. And here are the left overs from the Bloc whining to the same tune already, lol!!!

    “The only female Bloc Québécois MP remaining after last week’s election says her party will still ask to be recognized in the House of Commons.

    “Because the House of Commons recognized us like a nation first of all, and we represent 24 per cent of the people in Quebec, I guess we have the right to be a party,” said Mourani.

    According to the Parliament of Canada Act, a party must have a minimum of 12 members in the House of Commons to gain official party status, which grants a party certain funding and parliamentary privileges.”

    • I’m not sure I understand the point of requiring 12 seats for official status. It’s an artificial barrier to entry to protect incumbents. I has no democratic justification.

      • 12/308 = just under 4%. Arbitrary or not, that seems like a good dividing line for where to take parties seriously enough to grant privileges and subsidize their office help, although I wouldn’t object to raising it to 16, just to make it a slightly-rounder 5%.

        Our inherited parliamentary democracy has been a party system for centuries, and therefore the structure and rules are based around parties, not individuals; why should independents get any special privileges? If the voters wanted their MP to be more useful in the House, they could have voted differently.

        • I can’t say I agree. MPs should have equal access to resources. Parties will still make sense, as there are economies of scale in party organization.

          12 is totally arbitrary. Why not 155? It’d make the incumbent even cosier.

        • I agree that 12 is totally arbitrary, except inasmuch it’s a significant number for assembled groups in western culture and history – juries, apostles, etc. – but I think it strikes the right balance; only serious parties with significant support can make it, without requiring such parties to actually be all that successful overall.

        • For some of the privileges i agree, extra pay as a leader when you’re the only MP seems silly for instance. On the other hand re: question period, she should get the same privileges as other MPs. As 1 member maybe only every tenth or twentieth question period she gets to ask a question in the first round (she is only one member). But that seems an inappropriate resource to take away from an elected representative entirely.

        • Because we don’t live in the 1600s anymore?

          I think a better system would be not to boost May’s privileges and powers, but to take away those of the parties. I can see giving extra pay and research funding for certain positions — PM, leader of the OLO, cabinet and shadow cabinet positions but that’s based on position, not party.

          Committees in particular should be open for any MP to apply for, and the choice among them (if there are enough) made by random draw and negotiating thereafter.

          I believe speaking time already has random allotment for anybody who’s not a cabinet minster.

    • Since the HoC is about to grow by ~35 seats, the defence of recognizing rumps like the Bloc Quebecois becomes even more untenable.

    • As Canadians have some difficulty voting for such organizations that aren’t Canadian political parties running candidates in Canadian elections, what’s your point?

      Are the Greenintern going to provide something beyond moral support? And do you not think “Vote for us, we’re a completely international party with no particular attachment to Canada any more than the other 180 nations in the world” may be a problem, post-Ignatieff?

      • Oh? When did we all decide that?

        • There was a meeting last week about it. Punch was served.

          But seriously, is there any particular reason why a voter should be drawn to a party that has an international presence?

        • nmm66 I still can’t reply to you directly, as your post shows no ‘reply’ button. However why wouldn’t people be drawn to a party that is international? It’s the age of globalization after all….many people were even waiting for the party to be established here.

        • It should be noted that the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP do all belong to the international organizations for their respective philosophies. However, none of them tout that their policies come straight from central planners in Oslo, Oxford or London. Why do you think that might be?

        • AVR probably because they don’t. The other parties elsewhere in the world are quite different than they are here. There is no ‘philosophy’ central to all of them.

        • Yeah, you’re just being trollishly obtuse now. I’m done for today.

          • When you don’t have an answer, you depart. LOL

  5. The other parties could get together and cut her some slack, say with some budget, pay, and questions. I think it has happened before in Parl systems.

  6. Yet more evidence that political parties are part of the problem, not the solution.

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