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May’s resignation would be worse blow than the Conservative victory.

October 16, 2008

I’m a bit depressed by last night’s result so I haven’t had a comment today. What can you say, our electoral system failed us again.  A small minority of voters chose the government, many voter’s choices were ignored and we are back where we started five weeks ago.  The NDP deserved more seats, the Conservatives deserved more urban seats and the Greens, well, they deserved something for their historic participation in this election, but they got nothing.

And now, in order to apparently throw away the most positive result of this election, the arrival of Elizabeth May as a national voice, some Green party members are pushing for her to resign.

Resign… I mean, we’re all expecting Stephane to resign, (come on Stephan, its been almost 24 hours already!) But May?  She was a very successful leader.  Sure the Green’s didn’t win any seats but with the support they got for the debate and other issues this election, Canadians will have a simmering outrage at the unfairness of the Green’s being shut out once again.  We need that rage, if we are to push for electoral reform.  Casting her aside now, at such a crucial moment is madness.  In 7 months there will be another election, in BC, and on the ballot will be a referendum on introducing a proportional system, STV.  May will be well placed to push for that and that should be the Green’s primary reason to be.

But these Greens are upset because May hinted that strategic voting away from her party was justified to stop Stephen Harper from winning.  The fact that this occurred and that the Conservatives won anyways does not change her reasoning or the fact that she was right.  She was right.  And now you want to toss her because you feel your strategic votes were wasted and it would have been better to vote Green if Harper was going to win anyways.  Well, maybe so, but we can’t predict the future can we?  And that bitter anger you feel isn’t her fault, its the fault of our flawed electoral process. Get angry, and get out there trying to push for electoral reform.

Here are their ‘principles’ that supposedly lead these people to the conclusion she should resign (followed by my rebuttal)

  • Strategic voting has done terrible damage to the Green party of Canada
    • That’s why we need a proportional voting system, it damages all parties, the Greens are the only ones willing to admit it and propose bold solutions, you should be proud of that
  • The leader of the Green party must not advise Canadians to vote for other parties.
    • She never said which party to vote for, she only said, that it is best for Canada if the Conservatives do not win, which is true
  • The Green party leader must not endorse another party leader for Prime Minister
    • Why not?  Is it because you believe it is better to have the delusion that your leader can be prime minister, like the NDP.  It was impossible for the Green party leader to become prime minister this election, so why should she not advise who your party would be most willing to work with?
  • The leader of the Green party should not have divided loyalties
    • Anyone who thinks Elizabeth May has divided loyalties has never watched her speak.  Her loyalty is to the Canadian public, democratic ideals and protection of the environment.  Parties are groups of people with similar ideoligies who want to improve the country, they are not religions.
  • The leader of the Green party should want Green party MPs in Parliament
    • She does.
  • Elizabeth May failed to meet her own stated objectives for the 2008 federal election campaign (9% of the national vote and elected MPs)
    • You can’t say she didn’t try, if you want to pitch out the most fascinating leader this country has seen in a decade on a technicality then you’ve got problems.
  • Strategic voting is an affront to democracy
    • I’m always suspicious of people who are too easily ‘affronted’.  What is an affront to democracy is that 38% of the vote is enough to rule without having to form any coalition and that you could get 9% of the vote in many provinces and still have no seats.  Strategic voting is a symptom of  a greater problem.
  • Strategic voting ignorantly asks Canadians to vote for the lesser of two evils
    • Strategic voting is a not a conspiracy or an organization that asks anything, it a symptom of our horrible electoral ‘first-past-the-post’ system.  The Greens will never form government under that system because too much clout is given to incumbents and regional parties.  And its not ignorant, its a fact that in many ridings this election vote splitting allowed a conservative to win when in hindsight many Green, Liberal or NDP voters would have switched their vote to reduce the Conservative numbers.
  • Strategic voting hurts the Green party, limiting its ability to elect Green party MPs
    • False.  The Green party is limited by the fact that its support is spread thinly across the country and first-past-past-the-post does not reward that and they are limited by the fact that the media insists on treats them as a bunch of tree-hugging hippies and still express surprise whenever they say something sensible about the economy or other issues.  The Green party needs to do better at convincing people they are mainstream and right of centre on several issues.  But they will never do well in this system as their support is spread wide and thin.
  • Strategic voting costs the Green party votes and reduces its financial capacity and long-term viability
    • Again false, Strategic voting is a symptom of first-past-the-post. With STV or MMP there would be no stratetic voting and the Greens would get 15-20 seats nationally.
  • Strategic voting resulted in many Green campaigns getting less than 10% of the vote in their ridings. These campaigns lost their rebate from the federal government which set back plans for the future
    • Doesn’t the rebate kick in at 5%.  Well, that is a problem, but again, to blame her is juveneil.  The greens weren’t expected to win in very many ridings so you don’t know how different it would have been if she’d started every speach like Jack and said she was running for Prime Minister.  You just don’t know.
  • The Green Party of Canada needs new leadership
    • Wrong, you’ve got the best leader in the country and you don’t even know it.  If you cast her aside you lose everything you fought for in this election and many of us who respected you as a party who saw that things need to change.  Maybe you aren’t that party.
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