Saturday, May 14, 2011

Elizabeth May: one seat does not a party make


The May 2 election once again has demonstrated that, if a political party has something to say that resonates with the Canadian people, voters will listen and react in its favour. This is something the one-issue Green Party doesn’t get as it continues to bang on about what they are now calling “carbon pollution,” its euphemism for global warming.

Under our electoral system, the New Democrats have managed to win 102 seats with 30.6 per cent of the popular vote, less than 20 years after they won only nine seats with 6.9 per cent of the vote. At their low-point in 1993, the NDP were three seats short of official party status in the House of Commons. The Reform Party was formed in 1987 and first entered Parliament in 1989 when Deborah Grey won a by-election in an Edmonton-area riding. Now the successor to the Reform Party, the Conservative Party of Canada, rules the country with a solid majority of seats in the House of Commons.

Contrast those worthy achievements with the record of futility that has dogged the Greens since that party ran 60 candidates in the 1984 election, their first federal election.

In ten years more time than it took the NDP to go from 9 seats to 102 seats—and 15 years more than it took the Reform-Conservatives to go from one seat to 167 seats—the Greens have gone from zero seats to one seat and 4 per cent of the popular vote. Yes, one seat, and that only after—as Rex Murphy wrote recently—“ransacking the country for the most winnable seat, and making the winning of that seat the party’s absolutely highest priority for the entire election.”

Green Party’s leader, Elizabeth May, finally won on her third try at winning a riding, and hers was but one seat of 308 up for grabs. Doesn’t this lack of accomplishment tell us something about the Green Party, its leader and its message? Doesn’t ineffectual say it all?

Since Elizabeth May was elected the party’s ninth leader in August 2006, Canadians have been told by the media at large how wonderful she is. Yet she’ll be sitting alone somewhere at the back of the House as an independent, a leader of a party which, after nearly thirty years of trying, has never achieved official party status in the House of Commons.

According to a Green Party Web page, “Canadians have disengaged from their own democracy because election after election we have been offered negative politicking in place of a real vision for our country.”

Apparently, Canadians were so “disengaged” on May 2 only 3.9 percent of them bought what the Greens were selling, and we can all be thankful for that.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

1 comment:

  1. In Lizzie's eyes not only does she constitute a party, she believes she constitutes a government because Lissie's right and everyone else is wrong. Just ask her.