Okay, so I’m going to say this up front, because y’all know I would never knowingly lead my readers astray, even by omission: Thanks to the miracle of embargoed press releases, I do, in fact, know why we’re here today, but I can’t tell you until 11:30, since a) that would be wrong, journalistically; and b) I don’t think I could withstand the look of quiet disappointment on Elizabeth May’s face if I did. So you’ll just have to wait it out along with that portion of the rest of the world not on the Green Party email. distribution list.
Oh, and I know I *could* change the headline, but that would feel wrong too, somehow. Inauthentic. Contrary to the spirit of livebloggery.
Hey, out of curiousity, does anyone out there – presuming there *is* anyone out there, that is, it being a supremely glorious Saturday morning, and a long weekend besides, so why on earth would anyone be huddled around the LCD screen feverishly mashing the refresh key? Anyway, was yesterday the first time a Canadian court hearing has been liveblogged? I know that that human rights tribunals have been — I did one myself, in fact, just ask my legion of fans over at Small Dead Animals about that one — but a *real* court hearings? Let me know.
Okay, so apparently Canadian Press broke the embargo, so I’m not sure if I’m still bound to it, but – oh, hell. Blair Wilson is crossing the floor, although actually, that won’t happen until the House comes back and there is a floor to cross, and becoming the first Green MP evah! Bring on the debates, Consortium — you can’t keep Liz May out now! What, you want to discuss alleged election fraud, angry in-laws and umbrellas? No sense of imagination, people.
And they’re here! A beaming Elizabeth May, who is wearing – blue, for some reason. I mean, logically, I know she doesn’t have to wear green *all* the time, but it always seems wrong to see her in another colour.
Blair Wilson, meanwhile, looks just plain delighted to be here. Has he forgotten that these are *journalists* sitting in front of him, and not well-wishers?
This is historic in so many ways, May tells the crowd – not only is this the first Green elected official at any level in Canada, but it means they can’t keep her out of debate.
Oh, and the now former candidate in that riding is cool with the whole stepping aside for Blair Wilson thing, in case anyone wondered, and I’m pretty sure it would’ve come up.
Blair Wilson now gets to talk, and he describes this as “coming home” – he shares the same values as the Greens, and he looks forward to seeing those values espoused by Elizabeth May in the upcoming debates.
Aww, now Elizabeth is going to pin him. No, not like that, you perverts – with a lovely Green election pin, with the logo with a design that always seems vaguely seventies to me.
Not surprisingly, the question of whether or not this really *does* give her a spot in the next debates comes up, and she points out that one MP was enough for Preston Manning. Which is true.
Global’s Ben O’Hara Byrne implores May to “make me not cynical about this” – “But you’re a reporter!” She points out – given the apparent opportunism at play here, and she points to the efforts that the party has made over the last few years – running in byelections and elections, and coming in ahead of the NDP at times. The Greens can no longer be considered a “fringe” party, and Wilson was, in fact, an Independent MP. “We didn’t poach anyone.”
Chris Hall wonders who approached who, and how this whole thing will work – apparently, she first met with him last week, after a go-between on his side had made initial contact. In the meantime, there was “deep financial information” being shared by Blair Wilson with unnamed Green Party “go-betweens”, and eventually, she came to the conclusion that he was a “great guy”. A “great guy” who, she says as an aside, is about to launch a lawsuit for conspiracy to defame. That sounds like a great way to kick off an election campaign!
Back to Blair Wilson: This was the case of “the sun, the moon and the stars” all coming together, which sounds like a cataclysmic astronomical event, but he probably means it as a much less black-hole-creating-y metaphor. Anyway, he says the same thing, pretty much — he came to the Greens after resigning at the time of the initial allegations, and he’s happy that eventually, he was cleared. He did have discussions with the Liberals, but eventually, it reached an impasse — “It just wasn’t going to work.”
Julie Van Dusen asks the question I’ve been pondering – does Wilson actually qualify as a Green MP, since the House hasn’t been sitting? According to May, they’ve looked at this very carefully, and have sent the necessary letters to the Speaker, who maintains the list of party affiliation 365 days a year, regardless of whether the House is sitting.
Colleague Wells asks who the next PM of Canada should be, and he doesn’t miss a step: “Elizabeth May.” Any second choices? Nope, Elizabeth May.
He does have kind words for the Green Shift, which will “go a long way” to restoring the environment, but notes that it isn’t quite as good as the Greens’ Plan.
More questions about his departure from the Liberals – he left on “good terms”, Wilson assures us, and wishes them well.
As for the defamation suit, a very good question from CP: Was that one of the reasons for the “impasse” over returning to the party? Is he planning to sue Liberals? It doesn’t sound like it – Wilson describes it as a “private family matter” – it has to do with his father-in-law and the Vancouver Province.
One more question – from Ben O’Hara Byrne again – will Wilson *really* count as a *sitting* MP if the House doesn’t come back before an election? May seems pretty sure that he does. The circumstances, she suggests, are of Harper’s making, but the Speaker has been notified. She also bemoans all the work that has gone into those byelections that may be for naught. Naught! Okay, she didn’t say naught, but that’s a fair paraphrase. “This changes everything,” insists May.
Aw, Nova Scotia independent MP Bill Casey is Elizabeth May’s “hero.” It’s hard not to like Bill Casey, y’all. Sorry, I got distracted there – she’s really, truly convinced that there is no way the Consortium – cue sinister theme music – can reject her now.
She thinks it’s “essential” that she participate in the debates, particularly given the climate crisis, and the current PM’s refusal to do anything other than “throw mud” on the plans put forward by other parties.
One more last question – any reply from the Speaker? It’s not clear, but it sounds as though as far as Blair Wilson is concerned, it’s proceeding according to plan; it may still be in progress, but he is now a Green MP.
And the last last question from Julie Van Dusen, who wants to know what’s the big deal for byelection campaigns facing absorption by general election? The dynamics are different, for one, May notes – but it’s also a tremendous amount of work, and these candidates are so close to the finish line, only to have it moved at the last second. She then goes on a tirade about the PM’s contempt for Parliament and the public, and suggests – wait, she seems to think that a party could go to federal court and seek an injunction against breaking the fixed election date law. Really? That’s a fascinating idea.
She’s also, by the by, no fan of the fixed election date, since she loves the parliamentary system – or Senate reform that would lead to gridlock, and she issues an open call to any constitutional lawyers out there to weigh in on whether there’s any way to protect the byelections from the rampage of the Prime Minister.
And that’s it. Huh. I think she just managed to make news – not just over Blair Wilson, but also taking the PM to court. I can’t believe nobody – not even Colleague Coyne – has suggested that before. Errol Mendes, pick up the green courtesy phone.
UPDATE: Okay, Colleague Coyne did, in fact, post about this very possibility after Mendes brought it up in an op-ed that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. My apologies for not checking before leaving for the May presser, but honestly, I don’t think anyone was expecting that.