Mike Schreiner will become Green Party of Ontario leader

mike2The Green Party of Ontario, which was anticipating a leadership race culminating in a convention November 13 to 15, 2009, has just announced that at the close of nominations Mike Schreiner is the only candidate to become the next leader of the Green Party of Ontario. According to the party’s processes, he will still face a secret ballot vote against “none of the above.” (Just to be clear, he will kick NOTA’s butt.)

News reports had indicated that Mark MacKenzie was also going to contest the leadership. At this time I don’t know if he intentionally withdrew or failed to be properly nominated in time.

I will not pretend that I’m not disappointed there won’t be a contest. There are some negatives that will come out of this, specifically A) potential public perception, for anyone paying attention, that more people didn’t want the job and B) failed opportunity to gain media attention, sign up new members, etc. Leadership contests are good for parties, and this one would have been good for the provincial Greens.

However, as everyone in Ontario will soon learn, Mike Schreiner will make an excellent leader, and I’m very excited about the coming years and the 2011 election. That’s all for now, more to come later, I’m sure.

ps. To preempt predictable comments from some frustrated and vocal party members, yes, a big reason why there weren’t any other candidates is because of the party’s requirement that leadership contestants must be members of the party for at least 6 months. No, that’s not due to a conspiracy, it’s a decision that party members have made and recently reaffirmed. And no, I actually don’t like that rule. There will be some members who will propose (as they have in the past) that that rule should be changed for future contests, and I would agree. I think 6 months is too long, but it’s also the rule that was already in place for this contest, and the rules were rightly followed.

7 thoughts on “Mike Schreiner will become Green Party of Ontario leader

  1. I believe Mark Mackenzie (and other potential candidates like myself) decided not to waste time on a sham “leadership contest”.

    Party insiders had chosen Mike last year, because he’s a good team player. Which means he’s meek and will do whatever the insiders tell him to do. Sorry, Mike, the strings are showing.

    I imagine they would have preferred, for appearances sake, to go through the motions of a vote, stacked in Mike’s favour, but nobody was willing to play :-)

    If Mike had integrity, he would withdraw his candidacy tomorrow and call for a reset, and a more open, better publicized leadership race next Spring.

    John Ogilvie

  2. i actually agree with Ogilvie here about Shreiner’s best interest in withdrawing, as i said at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OntarioGreens/message/1833 , par of which:

    “Let Shreiner simply stand down, for now anyway. He should want to with all the controversy, and that would open up some space for other measures. What is a Green Party so obsessed with a leadership anyway?”

  3. Actually, I would like to see a two year requirement for membership in the GPO before someone can run for the leadership. Why would we want someone in the leadership who hasn’t been a member? He or she would know absolutely nothing about the internal culture of the party. That would mean that if they got the position that they would end up screwing things up royally.

    Sorry John, but I believe that the leader of the party should be a “team player”. What would you rather have? A dictator who doesn’t care what the other members of the party want?

  4. Bill, based on the federal GPC/Elizabeth experiment, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Don’t run for leader unless you have deep experience with the party.

    We will only appreciate Frank’s role after he has left. You have to be able to knit all these high-maintenance activists together.

    Sorry, I described Mike as a “team player” but the word I really wanted was “puppet”. Do you think the party leader should be a puppet, Bill?

  5. @Bill Hulet

    Wow, Bill, I’m surprised you support a long membership requirement, since all it really does is limit the democratic choices of the members. Why not let each member set his/her own appropriate membership hurdle, instead of imposing yours of 2 years or someone else’s of 6 (really 9) months? (I say 9, because you have to be a GPO member 6 months before nomination, and nomination closes almost 3 months before the vote. To be a candidate in federal elections, you have to be 18 by the day of the election – you can actually get nominated while you are still 17, as long as you would turn 18 in time to be elected).

    We should have a much shorter limit, then include length of membership in candidate bios. Each member can then decide for him/herself if the candidate has been a member long enough to be worthy of leadership. Contestants would be free to use length of membership as a comparative between each other (“I’ve been a member twice as long as she has”), if they feel that bolsters their case. Or perhaps they might run from the “outsider” slant – making a virtue of not having been part of a long-standing insider clique they are trying to overthrow. Both are equally valid positions to put before an informed voting membership.

    Think what might happen in the situation where the party is being run into the ground by an incompetent leadership team. Would people who wanted to challenge it be willing to hold an ineffective membership for two years just to wait for the opportunity? Or will they go somewhere else that they can have an influence sooner? A pernicious clique could even seek to perpetuate itself by driving out challengers (in disgust) before they reach the 2-year hurdle. The longer the membership requirement, the more the opportunity for the bad to drive out the good.

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