Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Greens to Debate?

We're hearing now that the decision not to invite Elizabeth May to the Leader's Debate is being reconsidered, with both the NDP and Conservative campaigns indicating that, although they'd be less than pleased, they would still, in fact, show up (and avoid looking like pouting 7 year-olds on the national stage).

This is absolutely the right decision, and I hope the networks get it right this time. 10% of Canadian voters supported this party WITHOUT having heard them in a face-to-face debate with the other leaders. If Duceppe can run in 57 ridings and get into the debate, then the Greens should have a chance to plead their own case as well.

There's a valuable lesson in here to be learned by May, though: You have to, HAVE TO, answer the question "who should the next Prime Minister be?" with the response "me". She made her bed in this mess, and just about set her party back another 4 years in so doing. If she gets the chance to appeal directly to voters in this debate, she had better make sure to point out that Mr. Dion's plan is the "least bad" of the other parties, but that her party's plan is what we really need (whether or not you believe that is besides the point). No asking Canadians to support their local Liberal, or to "vote strategically" - you're being given the spot to argue in favour of YOUR party, YOUR candidates, and YOUR policies... Otherwise, she'll just be proving Harper, Layton and Duceppe right in their assertion that she just wants to be there to heap praise on Dion and the Green Shift, and all-but pie Harper in the face.

The broadcasters and other parties might be getting this right, Liz... make sure you do the same. If you come across as the Green wing of the Liberals, then voters will never take your party seriously as a separate entity again.


UPDATE as of 3:04 pm: Liz is in.


Chrystal Ocean said...

Excellent post and I agree with you. May must push for the Green Party and its platform, not shill for the Libs.

I'm ecstatic with this news!

Anonymous said...

Your joking right? May has so often endorsed Dion there are too many times to count. For god sake she did it again today on NewsNet. Her praise was so effusive I wanted to tell her to meet up with Dion and to just get a bloody room already.

Jack was completely consisted in my mind. He has made it clear that his goal is to take the fight to Harper and that he is in this to win it. That the MayDion hybrid (pun intended) is in the debate is really irrelevant.

Maybe you should ask Dan Baril, or John Ogilvie (and countless staff who left her office) whether they think that May is such a great leader.

Enlightened Savage said...

Anon: I have my doubts about Elizabeth May as a viable, or even passable, leader of the Greens. I've expressed those doubts on this blog before, and I stand by them.

That said, no matter who their leader is, the people of Canada deserve the chance to hear the Greens in the debate.

If May craps the bed in these debates, setting her party back years or possibly even permanently, then that's the risk you take when your party plays with the big kids.

I HOPE it doesn't happen - the Greens have an important message to get out. But if she brings her "evil Liz" mask to the debate, or sounds like a Liberal proxy when it's her turn to speak, then Canadians will react accordingly. That's politics. She has a chance to illustrate that her party is NOT a typical "left-of-centre" party, and defy the pundits who keep trying to pigeon-hole them on the left fringe. I hope she uses it effectively.

I'm crossing my fingers, for the sake of what the Greens as a party can bring to the public debate on many important policy issues. But, based on what I know of the leader in question, my crossed fingers aren't accompanied with held breath.

Anonymous said...

Anon doesn't understand the difference between cooperation, and endorsement, and neither does much of the media. Fortunately, voters without an axe to grind are better at understanding.

Shayn said...

Mr. Savage, I've written to Elizabeth about your concerns, and when she replies (for a political leader who gets a decent amount of correspondence, she actually does reply, thoughtfully and timely) I'm posting it here, and at my blog.

What would help is if you, and everyone reading this who supports your decision, would do so as well. The more she is shown that Green supporters want a real party with a chance of winning seats, the higher of a chance the feisty, articulate, impassioned Elizabeth May will surface in the debate, and show her acute political skills that can surface from time to time (such as in this debate issue).

Remember, if pressure worked on two politicians, it'll work on others.