Take him, he's yours, say Liberals to Elizabeth May
|The Canadian Press|
|May at the 2008 Calagary Stampede|
No tears in Liberal-land Saturday when Green Party leader Elizabeth May announced Blair Wilson (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast) as their first Member of Parliament. As you'll recall, Mr. Wilson left the Liberal caucus during an investigation of his campaign expenses and had been sitting as an Independent. One off-the-record Liberal reaction summed it up: "No loss, no loss at all ... I think he will be a problem for them during the campaign."
It's no huge secret Stéphane Dion rebuffed Wilson's efforts to run again for the Liberals and the party is quite happy with their WV/SC candidate, Squamish mayor Ian Sutherland. They're well-aware of potential difficulties with Wilson, best summed up by an investigation last fall by the Vancouver Province.
Of course, crazy-like-a-fox May wasn't seeking Wilson's seat for limelight alone. She's been fighting for a way into the leaders' debates for some time, an overture rejected by the PMO. The consortium of English and French TV networks that make the call are supposed to decide this week. May is hoping a profile in the debates will give the Greens a boost across the country, which seems logical enough.
But the downside of a Green Wilson could be far steeper than any upside. If May doesn't make the debates — and one MP may not an argument make — she's still got 36 days to worry about potential problems with her new Maverick MP. May insisted Saturday the party checked out Wilson's background thoroughly and are satisfied. Maybe so, and good luck to them.
But this isn't the first time May's strategy has been curious. She 's long been a vocal Dion booster to the media and lately pulled off that little riding agreement, in which neither will run a candidate on the other's turf. Is May forgetting who the Liberals are targetting with their Green Shift plan? It sure isn't the Conservatives.
On another election front, I suppose it's good the Prime Minister feels confident about going into an election with the listeriosis outbreak still raging. Health Minister Tony Clement displayed the same attitude last week when he bounced off to the Democratic convention in Denver, rather than stay home as the death toll rose. Surely, however, the PMO brains trust factored in the effects of a lingering grassroots health crisis — with its accompanying questions about deregulation — into their campaign planning. That's what they do, right?
Finalement, a political junkie friend (do I have any other kind?), shares a great quote from U.S. commentator William Kristol (former chief-of-staff for VP Dan Quayle) on Sarah Palin, as Republicans try to stuff ever-breaking news about the new VP candidate into a perfect little traditional box:
"It's a pretty amazing story of personal success, being at once a traditional woman who broke all of these traditional barriers, kind of the best of both worlds, if you believe in traditional values."