Is Elizabeth May just a rumor?
May has once again been shut out of the televised leaders' debate.
Green Party sentiment in Canada is impressive, at about 9% in the polls. That's just shy of the Bloc's 9% to 10% national support. It's just over half the support commanded by the NDP. Not bad for a party with no seats in the Commons.
Concentrated as it is in Quebec, Bloc support translates into scores of seats. The Green vote is scattered across 308 ridings, in no place registering in sufficient strength to win the party a seat. Ms May could have won a seat, but chose in 2008 to reject ridings with promising high levels of Green support, was narrowly defeated in the unwinnable Peter MacKay-held Central Nova, and then disappeared from view. (She's taking on yet another Tory cabinet veteran this time, Gary Lunn, but at least his tree-hugger B.C. riding is more promising.)
I don't recall environmental issues disappearing from view since 2008. Neither did the NGOs and even private-sector corporations who've been mightily engaged in the gamut of pressing environment issues including the Athabasca tar sands, bike lanes as a remedy for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to the Kyoto II summit in Stockholm.
Here's Gerry Caplan on the Greens:
The Greens may re-materialize under Elizabeth May, MIA. After running a strong campaign in 2008, vindicating those of us who called for her to appear on the leaders’ debates, Ms. May promptly disappeared. Since climate change remains one of the world’s greatest crises – I will refrain from insulting readers by pointing out the tragic evidence – this campaign needs her very badly.
Warren Kinsella puts it less delicately:
May’s Boring: Look, Liz, we all (me included) wanted you in the debate last time. Price of admission? Your suggestion that you would win seats. Well, you didn’t. You had your shot, you blew it. When you get invited to the big kids’ table, you have to show you belong. You didn’t. You don’t.
National Post's Tasha Kheiriddin weighs in:
Canada does not have any requirements that our Prime Minister be born in the country, which is a good thing for one candidate: Elizabeth May. Ms. May hails from Connecticut, where she was raised until the age of 18, and still holds dual Canadian and American citizenship, a fact she doesn’t deny, but doesn’t exactly advertise either. ...
Dual citizenship is a different issue than birthplace, because it implies dual allegiance, something a national leader should not have. Of course, Ms. May has about as much chance of becoming Prime Minister as my daughter’s stuffed bunny doll, so her pedigree is pretty much a non-issue. But it does make her past attacks on the United States, from Bush-bashing to bemoaning its nasty political culture, ring kind of hollow. If you don’t like what the country stands for, why retain your citizenship? Just a thought.
Caplan may once again go to bat for May to take her place on in a televised debate alongside the leaders who've continued to take national politics seriously all this time that she's been AWOL. But he won't have much company this time.
The Greens have been ill-served by the first two leaders of the Green Party, whose most tangible contribution to the world has been, so far as I know, to have its logo become the inspiration for the current, eco-friendly logo of BP, that avatar of environmental stewardship.
Caplan's right that the campaign needs a real a Green Party leader. Whatever May's been up to these past two-and-a-half years since the last vote, she should step aside and focus on that without the pretense of a part-time gig she hasn't taken seriously.
Layton backs May's participation in TV debates. (Globe and Mail)
Chantal Hebert: Why May shouldn't be in the debates. (Toronto Star)