Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Elizabeth May & Dion Work Together

April 13, 2007

Elizabeth May & Dion Work Together

Cooperation in Canadian Politics?!?

Well, I suppose these days it's becoming a bit more common.

The Harper Government and Jack Layton worked together on the Clean Air Bill (C-30) and now Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada has agreed to not run a candidate in Dion's riding, while Dion will not run a Liberal candidate in Central Nova, the riding that May has chosen to run in.

Leaders' ridings have always been treated differently in party politics. In the past, no other leader has ever taken the Green Party leadership seriously. This reciprocal leadership non-contestation is simply a statement of principle that we need urgent action for the planet. There is a tradition of “leaders’ courtesy”. For many years, Canadian political leaders observed a tradition of not contesting each others ridings. This tradition existed for decades and has included such people as John A. Macdonald, Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie-King.

Canadians want their elected officials to work together for the good of our country. It looks like the Greens are bringing a spirit of kindness and helpfulness to politics. This answers the question of whether May would change politics or politics would change May.

It's now been demonstrated that the Green Party of Canada is a serious player. The Greens are running to win in ridings across Canada. The Green Party of Canada puts our country and our planet above partisan political games, and cooperation, not competitiveness, is our core value. The Green Party will always put principle and progress above petty partisanship.

Elizabeth May continues to tell the truth. When she ran for leadership, Elizabeth May promised to be a relentless truth-teller, even if that might be to a short-term disadvantage. May’s experience with Mr. Dion is that he is honest, intellectually rigorous and thoroughly committed to Kyoto. She formed and expressed that opinion before he became Liberal leader, and she continues to express that opinion now. May’s comments about politicians and their records has no ideological bent. It is based only on their records. This announcement shows that Elizabeth May is telling the truth when she says we’re doing politics differently. The Green Party wouldn't be where it is today if not for her leadership.

Both parties were motivated by wanting a better Parliament. Stéphane Dion wants Elizabeth May to be in Parliament. Both leaders want more MPs in Parliament who recognize the serious threat of climate change.

This announcement doesn’t change the fact that outside the leaders’ ridings Green Party candidates will be running hard to defeat Liberal MPs and candidates. We are committing to electing a solid caucus, not just one or two MPs. We cannot expect other parties to keep a clear focus on issues Greens care about: social justice, the need for a peace-making approach and independence in our foreign policy, or on climate, unless we have many Green MPs in the House. The Party is working hard to ensure that Adriane Carr, Deputy Leader, wins in Vancouver Centre, where she’s running against Liberal MP Hedy Fry.

The Green Party does not conduct it's business like other parties. We think there is far too much partisanship getting in the way of real progress. Greens will always put the health of the planet above short-term partisanship, and in doing so, the heath of Canadians and the path to a sustainable and vibrant economy as well.

In Elizabeth May's own words, “I have discovered a lot about politics since becoming Leader of the Green Party less than eight months ago. I have discovered that there is a nastiness to partisanship that exceeds sense. It is essentially a form of tribalism, and quite primitive tribalism at that. As Leader of the Green Party, some would prefer I never said that Mr. Harper’s policies are the biggest threat to our planet and our country, even though they know that to be true. They would prefer I never said that Mr. Dion is a man of integrity (even if we can all agree his Party has appalling baggage). I promised when I ran for leadership to be a relentless truth-teller. Even if that might be to a short-term disadvantage.

The Green Party will always put principle and progress above petty partisanship. So I am proud of what Stéphane and I have agreed to do. In addition to not running against me in Central Nova, he has signaled a willingness to reform our electoral system. This is real progress toward Green goals.”

Statement by the Hon. Stéphane Dion, Leader, Liberal Party of Canada and Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada


Cameron W said...

Chris Tindal in Toronto blogged on this subject.

TIZReporter said...

Is the Green Party a Political Phantom?.

Cameron W said...

Thanks for the post TIZ.

I found this interesting:

"...Today, the Green Party and the Liberal Party came to an agreement. In exchange for the Liberals not running a candidate in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, May has endorsed Stephane Dion as the best person to be Prime Minister.

May could be out of touch with her own supporters in this step. In the latest SES Research Poll on party leaders, only 8.9 percent of declared Green Party supporters said Dion would make the best Prime Minister. 23.7 percent of those same supporters said Stephen Harper would be the best Prime Minister. That figure for Harper is actually higher than the support for May who 22.7 percent of her own supporters who said she would make the best Prime Minister. (Source: SES Research Poll)

There is some good news for the Green Party. Angus Reid Global Monitor released a poll on April 11th. Angus Reid states, "Many adults in Canada think the Green party is well prepared to deal with the issue of climate change, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 34 per cent of respondents think the Greens are best suited to develop effective global warming legislation..."

It points to the possibility that the Green Party does in fact draw a significant amount of support from the ex-PCers, 'blue conservationists', and 'green conservatives'.

It also shows that the Green Party, with a platform and policies on all issues, is starting to be understood and approved of by a huge amount of Canadians.

Anonymous said...


As a member of the GP caucus representing Alberta, do you have or express an independent voice?

I have just rec'd, via e-mail, "TALKING POINTS" concerning this deal.

Your blog is almost verbatim what you were advised to say.

What can I therefore discern about the caucus, your independence and your blogs in the future?

Cameron W said...

Yes I do have an independent voice.

I was never advised to say the talking points, but they were offered to me for use if I wanted.

I threw up a revised version of the subject discussion points right after I received them, as I agree with them and thought it would be a good starting point for blogging on the subject. The other post I made on this subject, right after, at the link just below, is all of my own thoughts.

See THIS LINK - open letter on May & Dion.

Anonymous said...

So, as a member of council (sorry- caucus was the incorrect term) were you involved in the decision to terminate the contract with the party's strategist, Dan Baril, as media reports suggest, or were you just advised of the decision after the fact?

If you voted, did you also vote to hire him many months ago?

Cameron W said...

Hi anonymous,

What media reports are you referring to?

Federal Council tasks staff with a lot of work, and isn't always involved in decisions that staff are entrusted with. The Green Party of Canada Federal Council operates under a governance model, rather than a working model, where the council would do all the work. While the council is involved with directing staff and many other important decisions, it does not do all of the day to day work.

Regarding Dan Baril, he has never to my knowledge advised federal council directly, at least not that I know of. I think he advised the Federal Campaign Team, and maybe other bodies of the Party, but I'm not exactly sure.

There was no vote that I was aware of by Federal Council to hire or fire him.

Most people in Canada aren't hired or dismissed by vote, and according to labor laws I'm not sure it would be legal, but I don't know a lot about that subject.

Hope that helps! ;-)

Say, are you a member of the Party?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that explanation.

I did go back and check the media reports, and it appears, in combination with some blogs I read, I did read between the lines. What I took to be council decisions obviously weren't as you have noted above.

Sorry for making the incorrect assumptions.


Cameron W said...

No problem.

That's one of the purposes of my blog; to offer a communications channel to members of the Green Party and other people interested in the Green Party.