Then we'll talk
Like many people, Green Party of Alberta leader George Read has a beef with the Alberta Elections Act.
Read seems to think that the Elections Act bilked his party out of $19,750 in non-refundable candidacy deposits. Money that otherwise could have been used to advertise and promote the party.
His issue revolves around the $500 deposit collected from candidates for provincial elections. $250 is refundable once the candidate files all the necessary paperwork to actually run. The remaining $250 is refundable only if the candidate wins, or if the candidate at least claims 50% of the winning candidate's votes.
"This is just a penalty against people who don't do well in the political process," Read insists. "Just because you didn't do well isn't a reason for someone to be penalized."
Of course not. In the Green party, they believe that not doing well in the political process is somehow still entitled to a seat. (But that's another story.)
But Read isn't just getting mad -- he wants to get even. He's written a letter to Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford threatening to launch a Constitutional challenge if the Elections act isn't amended to refund the entire deposit to candidates.
He's even set a deadline of September 10, 2008. And if the government doesn't amend the Elections act accordingly, they's-a-gonna-geddit.
In response to the letter, Redford has promised to review recommendations stemming from the past two provincial elections.
Read, being the leader of the Alberta Greens (a party infamously inept when comes down to actually campaigning), has naturally missed the point. The portions of Alberta's Elections Act that he wants to contest aren't meant to discourage or hinder candidates or their supporters from participating in the election. They're meant to cut back on a potential glut of single-issue candidates with little to no hope of winning an election (hey! That kind of sounds like the Green Party!).
Plenty of other parties, like the Communist party and Separation Party of Alberta, ran candidates with little to no hope of victory. But you don't hear them crying for an extra $250 for each of their defeated candidates.
Of course, being the leader of the Alberta Greens, Read has one other quality hindering his ability to accept political irrelevance: that is, delusions of relevance.
In a province where he already has to compete for a razor-thin pool of potential supporters with Brian Mason and the only marginally less politically irrelevant NDP (for the record, here Mason is pictured holding a press conference on what appears to be his front lawn), George Read at this point should be feeling more like Charlie Brown, unable to ever quite kick that damn football (good grief).
A more pragmatic leader would look at a situation like this and wonder "why bother? Maybe I'll just go ahead and join the NDP".
Not George Read. He looks at a situation in which his party simply doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning and figures he'll just sue the government. Somehow, that'll make everything all better.
But it won't. Even if the Alberta government changes the Elections Act to his liking and he gets his extra $20,000 next election, George Read will still face a nearly insurmountable challenge:
Finding some people who are willing to vote for him. Good luck with that one, George.