Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Methinks they doth protest too much

April 20, 2007

Methinks they doth protest too much

Layton A Hypocrite About Deal, May Says

From the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald article by Stephen Maher:

"There’s something wrong with Jack Layton if he’d rather open up discussions with the Taliban than the Green party," Ms. May said.

The NDP has angrily denounced Ms. May and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion for agreeing not to run candidates in each other’s ridings. Ms. May says she has tried many times to persuade Mr. Layton to discuss similar co-operation, but he refuses to talk with her.

It’s strange, given that Mr. Layton is happy to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ms. May said.

"We know that Mr. Layton meets regularly with Stephen Harper," she said. "As a matter of fact Stephen Harper has praised Jack Layton as the leader of the opposition with whom he meets most often and finds the most co-operative."

But Karl Belanger, Mr. Layton’s spokesman, brushed aside her comments.
"If, and that is a big if, she ever gets elected to Parliament, we might answer her silly attacks," he said.

It was pointed out to me that the term 'silly' is a word used little to describe men, except maybe to try to emasculate a man, and that when used to describe women it is a sexist term.

- - -

NDP makes issue of Elizabeth May in the leaders debates
Two NDPers say yes; two say no.

From the Globe & Mail article by Brian Laghi:


MP Peter Stoffer, while agreeing with Mr. Layton that his party should run a candidate against Ms. May in the riding of Central Nova, said he thought she had the right to take part in the debate.

"I have no problems with her being in the televised debates, regardless of what happened in Central Nova. I honestly believe that she should have the right to be in the televised debate."

Meanwhile, Jim Laxer, a former party leadership candidate in the early 1970s and a political scientist, said he supports the idea of not running a candidate against Ms. May. A pact could help unite the opposition against Mr. Harper, Mr. Laxer said.

"I kind of think the deal is interesting because it's got some potential for a way for opposition parties who don't want to be divided up by Stephen Harper," he said.

He said Mr. Harper is dealing with the opposition against him piecemeal, which makes it difficult for the opposition to coalesce.

Mr. Laxer also said Ms. May should be part of the debate.

"I think she should be in the debate, but based on some kind of rule like 5 per cent [of the vote]," he said.

Mr. Laxer said the Greens, with 660,000 votes in the last election "clearly deserve a member of Parliament. . . . People should think of this on a higher level."

The party was not represented at the debates during the last election. Only parties with seats in Parliament and a comprehensive national platform were allowed last time.

Mr. Layton has said that the television networks decide who can take part. Typically, however, the networks require the agreement of all party leaders over who should be in on the contest.

Interestingly, a poll from January of this year showed that Canadians want the Green Party leader in debates.

- - -

NDP urged 2004 deal, ex-Green leader says

From the Toronto Star article by Susan Delacourt:


OTTAWA–Former Green party leader Jim Harris says NDP Leader Jack Layton sought a deal with him before the 2004 federal election, so he's baffled why New Democrats are suddenly saying that it's wrong for the Greens and Liberals to co-operate in the next campaign.

"Methinks they doth protest too much," Harris said in an interview yesterday, describing a meeting he held at a College St. café in Toronto with Layton before the 2004 campaign.

But according to Harris, Layton asked for the Greens not to run candidates in 2004 and to endorse the NDP instead. A 2004 newspaper story makes mention of the meeting and includes confirmation from an NDP strategist that Layton was looking for the Greens to back his party.

Layton, however, recalled yesterday that it was Harris looking for the NDP's support. "He asked for the meeting," Layton said, noting that Harris brought a list of demands, one of which was a request for the NDP not to run candidates against Greens.

That's not how Harris remembers things. He said he had gone to Layton to ask for his backing in getting into the televised leaders' debates during a future election campaign. Layton replied that Greens would need to do something for the NDP in return for their support. According to Harris, the question was something like: "Why don't you just not run any candidates and endorse the NDP and me?"

Harris said he couldn't see what the Green party would get out of that proposal.

Sometimes I'm left baffled and exhausted from trying to figure out whether the old-line political parties are being honest or just playing chess games. Our country still desperately needs transparency and accountability in our government, and I expect that electing Green MPs will help make this happen.

The Greens, under heavy fire, have to be careful and continue to respond to attacks with a pro-green message, rather than an 'anti-other' counter attack. Non-violence is one of the key values of the Green Party, and that includes non-violent communication.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Greens, under heavy fire, have to be careful and continue to respond to attacks with a pro-green message, rather than an 'anti-other' counter attack. Non-violence is one of the key values of the Green Party, and that includes non-violent communication.

Do you mean, like, gratuitously calling someone a liar in a formal GP press release?

Cameron W said...

Yes, that is what I mean.

I do not like the tone of the recent press release that I believe you are referring to. It's important to point out when Harper is spreading disinformation about the Green Party, and it's important for Greens to stand up for themselves and not be pushed around by those with power and influence, and it's equally important to do these things without resorting to 'gratuitously calling someone a liar'.

It could have been an honest mistake by Harper in misrepresenting Green Party policies. In fact, Harper could have made repeated honest mistakes in repeatedly misquoting GPC policiy and misrepresenting the Green Party. It also could have been done on purpose. What would that then be called? Is lying a fitting description of what Harper and the Conservatives did here? Did they 'lie' about income trusts, or was that an honest mistake due to inexperience or incompetence?

Regardless, their lies and attacks against the Greens must be met with calm and courteous replies. The Green Party can and must stand up for itself without attacking back.

The recent media release about Harper misrepresenting the Green Party was written in a way that corrects the - how do you call the lies lies without saying 'lies'? - falsehoods that the Conservative Party has been spreading. It was harsh, and listed a number of 'Harper lies', and IMHO, could have been written in a way that adhered better to the key value of non-violence. Non-violent communication is a skill that can be learned, and perhaps the GPC Shadow Cabinet should be tasked with brushing up on this skill.

Gina said...

Bravo!!

Anonymous said...

"There’s something wrong with Jack Layton if he’d rather open up discussions with the Taliban than the Green party," Ms. May said.

Is this the collaborative style that we can expect May to use with the NDP? She NEEDS the NDP since right now she has made the Green Party look like an extension of the Liberal Party and Green voters should simply vote Liberal to avoid the vote splitting as May has emphasized. Hurry up Ms. May, you will need to be able to work with the NDP and establish the Green Party as an independent party before the next election.

Cameron W said...

May has not made the Green Party look like an extension of the Liberal Party, although that is an argument I've heard some NDP supporters use. May has not emphasized voting Liberal to avoid vote splitting in agreeing to not run a candidate in Dions riding & Dion not running a liberal in her riding. It's a leaders courtesy that does not extend beyond those two ridings.

I agree that the Greens will need to be able to work with the other parties, and hopefully the other parties will be willing to work with the Green Party of Canada. If they don't wise up soon, it's their loss, since more and more Canadians are choosing the Green Party as a real viable option.

The escalation of negative partisan attacks brought on by Layton's lack of willingness to hold open discussions is not something I want to witness.

May has been very successful in communicating the Green Party's policies and platform to Canadians via the media, and she has been very successful in communicating with Dion. I hope she is succesful in her efforts to communicate with Layton, but it takes two, and if Layton is unable to place principles before personalities, it's his loss.

The Anonymous Green said...

Cameron,

What did you think about this idea - mixing religion and politics while preaching?
May preaches green gospel

The GP's Industry critic is willing to defend it. Even the language. See here.

Cameron W said...

I've made a couple of posts here on related subjects.

http://greencameron.blogspot.com/2006/04/faith-politics.html

http://greencameron.blogspot.com/2006/09/stop-bias-against-green-party-by-tom.html

Environmental stewardship isn't just a political issue, or an environmental issue. It's also very relevant to people of various faiths. In the post at the second link above, I explored what various churches thought about environmentalism and faith.

So environmentalism isn't just about politics for May. It's also about her faith, and in that context I see no problem with her talking about environmental stewardship in church.

Please let me know what you think of the posts at the links above.

The Anonymous Green said...

So environmentalism isn't just about politics for May. It's also about her faith, and in that context I see no problem with her talking about environmental stewardship in church.

Ok, I looked over your blogs, and your position stated above - I have no problem with either.

The issue not addressed is this form of moralizing - my position is more moral and Godly than yours.

As far as I know, Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, George Bush, Paul Martin etc. etc. etc. are God fearing people who are acting and doing things according to their personal beliefs and values. All have children. All have a vested interest in the outcome of whatever decisions they make.

So, no problem to me of others having views that are different, or are wrong, from my perspective.

But to suggest certain things are Christian, or reflect Christian values, and by inference those that don't agree with your view are, by extension (without saying it), anti-Christian, is way out there, without even naming names.

But to then identify political opponents in a house of worship, and introduce references to evil movements from the distant past, is truly offensive to me. It is way over the top. But, I am not a member of that denomination.

And if I was a targeted politician with young easily influenced children...

Worship as one likes. Just don't start demonizing others who worship differently, or who have different values and views.

The latter is best left to traditional political arenas.

A line that was badly crossed here, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"Green leader Elizabeth May is standing by her comments over the weekend that condemn Prime Minister Stephen Harper's stance on climate change, comparing it to "a grievance worse than Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis.""

And the Elizabeth May gaffe-capade continues! She makes light of the events leading up to WWII in some of her most recent statements.
Worse than appeasement of the Nazis!!! Really?!?

Cameron W said...

I personally never compare anything in any way to the holocaust or nazis, for fear that it would reduce the significance of those subjects.

My guess is that May is trying to say that not even those events had the prospective impact on the human race as climate change, and Harper is playing politics and not taking climate change seriously.

Comparing that to other serious historical events takes away the impact of the message; that Canada's government, led by Stephen Harper, is possibly contributing to the likely result of the collapse of civilization and starvation and deaths of millions of people around the world. Those situations and the role played by climate change are well spelled out in the Stern Report and the recent IPCC reports.

I'd really like to hear a copy of the sermon Elizabeth May gave so that i can separate spin from fact and know the entire story in context.

Cameron W said...

t.a.g. said, "But to suggest certain things are Christian, or reflect Christian values, and by inference those that don't agree with your view are, by extension (without saying it), anti-Christian, is way out there, without even naming names."

Did May do this? If so, is it 'way out there'?

I've been a part of many discussions with other Christians on the subject of 'living the Christian life'. There are all kinds of Christians. There are unfortunately some Christians who are judgmental, spiteful, and who fail to walk the spiritual walk that Jesus taught. I am not one to judge them, but I believe it is a responsibility of mine as a Christian to share my thoughts on what it means to be a Christian with them and others who in my opinion might be influenced incorrectly by the other person's misrepresentation of what it means to be a Christian.

This particular subject is somewhat off topic, and deserves a lengthy conversation, not just a few notes passed back and forth. I'm not sure that I'm expressing my thoughts on this clearly.

In a nutshell: It is not for me to judge others. I will however stand up for my personal beliefs and ensure that my faith is not misrepresented. Perhaps that was what May was trying to say.

t.a.g. said, "But to then identify political opponents in a house of worship, and introduce references to evil movements from the distant past, is truly offensive to me. It is way over the top. But, I am not a member of that denomination."

I agree with you that introducing that specific reference is offensive. I wouldn't have done it. I think I understand why May did it, but again I'd like to know exactly the context in which it was stated.

The Anonymous Green said...

Separation of religion and politics is always a good idea, whether on a pulpit or a soap box, in my opinion.

Other commentary can be read here:
http://politiquevert.wordpress.com/

and Macleans here:
http://www.macleans.ca/canada/national/article.jsp?content=20070501_112908_7308

Anonymous said...

Here are a couple of links

Several extremely odd statements.

- Through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can meet this moral obligation."

- While many evangelical Christians care about the Earth, a fundamentalist sect would rather see the planet destroyed, she said.

Cameron W said...

Green Party Leader dismayed that comments were distorted


May gets backing from Brits in comparing climate change to Second World War

Anonymous said...

Of all people, it is absolutely appalling that Prince Chuck would make fun of the events that led up to WWII which decimated Britain and adversely affected his grandparents. Absolutely shameful.

May needs to apologize to the Greens for her poor sense of judgement. Simply stating that she parroted a stupid analog from someone else is not leadership. We don't need spin...we need common sense leadership.

The Anonymous Green said...

In politics, it's the public perception that counts - especially if your stated intent is to raise the level of political discourse.

This response was entirely predictable:

Readers offended by May's analogy

National Post
Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Re: Elizabeth May's bizarre speech, editorial, May 1.

By comparing today's approach to the environment to pre-war approaches to the Nazis, Elizabeth May shows insensitivity to context and history. Her comparison of Stephen Harper to Neville Chamberlain is both demagogic and inappropriate, revealing that the Green party leader is still too green to have learned to control her excesses of rhetoric. Further, her belittling of Evangelical Christians, characterizing their theology as "waiting for the end of time in glee," signals a truly dangerous mindset. The Green party leader, who is also an Anglican minister-in-training, demonstrated that she considers herself and her religion to be morally superior to another. And it doesn't matter that she ridiculed the beliefs of a branch of her own religion, rather than those of an altogether different faith.

No Sunni Muslim in Canada should have to tolerate a Shiite politician denigrating Sunnism, no Orthodox Jew should have to tolerate a Reform Jewish politician's assertion of religious superiority, and all the vice versas one can think of.

Ms. May is not giving private lectures to her congregation now that she is running as Green party leader in alliance with the Liberals. She is being heard by a diverse public at large on an important policy issue. She should start respecting all of them.

Ed Morgan, national president, Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto.

Cameron W said...

t.a.g, the National Post has made it's own fair share of Nazi comparisons.

As I said above, I agree with you that introducing that specific reference is offensive. I wouldn't have done it.

The Anonymous Green said...

Yes, but the National Post author is not a leader of a Political Party.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

I see most of the GP comments on their blog defend or justify this approach pointing out examples where others have done the same.

Just because someone else set the bar low doesn't mean one needs to crawl under it to get by. You can also rise above it.

Cameron W said...

Well said t.a.g.

On that note, let's move the discussion on this subject to a more recent and relevant blog post of mine here.

Anonymous said...

A great piece on the televised leaders debates, Jack Layton's comments, and the Green Party:

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/205568