Sit tight, Elizabeth

Some have already begun to suggest that Elizabeth May should move to New Westminster-Coquitlam and start campaigning for the anticipated by-election there, now that NDP MP Dawn Black is stepping down to run provincially. This is a somewhat tempting idea because of the double-dividend of being able to campaign for British Columbia’s referendum on improving their voting system. However, there are at least two major reasons for Elizabeth to stay put for now.

The first is that we don’t yet know who is going to run for the leadership of the Ontario PC party. One possibility is John Baird (even though he’s having fun playing coy), which would open up a federal seat in the Ottawa area. Both Elizabeth and the Green party itself have strong roots in Ottawa, so that could be a good option.

The second reason is a long shot, but an exciting one for federal Greens. If Peter MacKay became the next secretary general of NATO (a possibility slightly more likely now that U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden is reportedly lobbying on his behalf), that would make a vacated Central Nova more winnable than ever for Elizabeth May. She could convincingly argue that she’s MacKay’s natural successor having already paid her dues there, and that she’s always remained loyal to the riding even when the going got tough.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. In the mean time, Elizabeth should wait and see.

9 thoughts on “Sit tight, Elizabeth

  1. Absolutely Chris,
    Anything can happen in politics, and there is no compelling reason to jump all over New Westminster. Apart from the other potentials you mentioned, you can be certain that there will be other vacancies to examine. Since any by-election will be an opportunitry to grow the local EDA, the Party should expend some resources, and do some basic fieldwork there, but there’s no need for any quick irrevocable decisions.

  2. Assuming the long shot of MacKay actually getting the NATO post, that still doesn’t stop Ms. May from actually running in the byelection. She didn’t permanently move to London and never ran there again despite paid advice consulting the opposite.

    As I suggested in my blog post (thanks for the link), a 6 month relocation to assist with the STV vote (a principle Greens believe in and would benefit all Greens) plus local campaigning to win the seat in a byelection (again, something that would help all Greens) would help on all fronts. Greater exposure for the STV campaign, greater exposure for the byelection, greater exposure to hard-core campaigning for the local volunteers, etc., etc.

    Secondly, she said that she would be running in any byelection that came up before the next general election. Why lose valuable days (or weeks) of campaigning and organizing before officially committing to something that’s she’s already informally committed to.

    If she has no intention running in any byelection, she shouldn’t say that she is. If she has no intention to run anywhere other than Central Nova, she should also stop saying she’s open to suggestions.

  3. In the last election May often advocating an ABC campaign to ensure that a Green agenda was presented, regardless of the party (Lib/Bloc/NDP/Green) presenting it. With that, why would May run in an NDP riding, potentially splitting the vote and electing a less progressive Conservative?

  4. Whooee! I don’t figger Lizzie needs to run in the first byelection to come up. This business with MacKay is interesting. Prince Igor has said there won’t be any non-compete Red-Green deals the next time around. That ain’t gonna make it any easier in CN. Even if the MacKay dynasty doesn’t have a MacKay running, the MacKay endorsement will still go a long way.

    CN is more winnable without a MacKay in the race but less winnable with a Liberal to contend with.

    Re the ABC approach, I think that may be part of what Elizabeth sees as errors in the last election. If it is all important to get a Green in the House, then ABC is wrongheaded. If the other parties, particularly the NDP, were the least bit cooperative and agreeable to ABC, the idea might have a chance but with the old line, entrenched parties all taking an “us against everyone else” approach, cooperation for the Greens just means losing.


  5. Peter McKay ain’t going to NATO. Biden’s lobbying aside, with McKay’s red-baiting over Russian overflights, his appointment would be needlessly antagonistic towards Russia, which is already upset with NATO expansion.

    But anyway, I agree that there’s not a compelling case for May to run in New West. BC is a good green province but this isn’t a good green riding…except that she promised to run in the next available by-election. So she’d need to find a way to walk that back. Not an insurmountable obstacle, but an issue nonetheless.

  6. Well, the good thing about the MacKay speculation and the extra room it gives May to stay parked, is that the possibility of his ascension doesn’t last very long I would think.

    But as what it would do for May- consider this.

    I’ve said elsewhere that given May and MacKay both running, a top flight candidate and resourced campaign is not going to be forthcoming from the NDP. Tilting at windmills is popular neither with party planners or potential strong candidates.

    If MacKay leaves- that TOTALLY changes. That makes it also quite winnable for the NDP.

    In fact, I’d call that an anyone could win situation- even the Liberals who are otherwise also rans in Central Nova.

    Net result if MacKay leaves: Mays chances only sightly better, if at all.

    Which brings the question back around, what kind of riding and what region is better suited for a near term Green victory. Have the Greens shown any traction or generalized progress in Nova Scotia with May having been ther for two years?

    What does that tell you about general LIKELY receptiveness… even in Central Nova. Sure she’s made headway in Central Nova. But any campaigner will tell you a good ground campaign can only move the voter inclinations so far.

    Elizabeth May and the Green Party don’t have 1o years to gradually make that distance.

  7. Anyone watching the Peter MacKay thing knows he is unlikely to get the job.

    But there is one definite effect this will have in Central Nova: his already high standing will be that much more enhanced. His improved national exposure [with the reprises of ‘next Leader of the Conservatives?’] produces a local halo those of you west of New Brunswick never see around your MP.

    As well as his stature itself, it gives Peter a LOT of insulation from any troubles the Cons have in the region.

    To win, Elizabeth May has to push the combined floor core vote for the NDP and Liberals down to the region of 20%. When both have a very high brand well above that range in NS in general and Pictou County in particular.

    AND she has to break the ‘glass ceiling’ for Greens in Nova Scotia that she has not yet dented.

    AND she has to start doing very well in directly eroding votes from the ever stronger Peter MacKay.

    To accomplish by the next general election, any one of those would be quite the acievement. And doing ALL three of them….

  8. This is all very interesting speculation yet we all know that Elizabeth will do what she wants without listening to the pundits or to her advisors.

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