Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Further Disillusionment of Lizzie May

In this video, released by the Green party, Elizabeth May answers some questions about the decision to exclude her from the televised leaders' debates, and about her non-aggression pact with Stephane Dion.

Unfortunately, in the course of the latter, she insults the intelligence of Canadians.

"One must remember that when Stephen Harper first ran for his riding, he was unopposed by a Liberal candidate. I don't think at the time that anyone made the mistake of thinking he was the Liberal candidate because he was unopposed.

There is a tradition in this country of called 'leader's courtesy'. Mr Dion and I agreed to this measure in respect of each other as leaders of different political parties to not challenge each other in each other's ridings.
Unfortunately for May and her party, this insistence is just as intellectually dishonest as her insistence that Blair Wilson joining her party entitled her to a spot in the televised leaders' debate.

May certainly is correct in pointing out that there is a "leader's courtesy" tradition in Canada. However, it generally applies to newly-selected party leaders who don't possess a seat in the House of Commons.

When this happens, one of the party's MPs usually resigns their seat so the leader may take their place. When the by-election occurs, the other parties agree not to contest the seat. They do this for two reasons:

First off, because the party in question already has possession of that Parliamentary seat.

Secondly, because they expect the other parties to return that courtesy in the event that they elect a leader without a Parliamentary seat.

In order for May's theorem to hold water under the principle of "leader's courtesy", two very important conditions would have to be present: first, we would have to be talking about a by-election as opposed to a general election. Secondly, the Green Party would already have to possess Central Nova.

Neither condition is present, making her reasoning flagrantly fallacious. It would actually have to be a good deal more sound to actually qualify as "specious".

Moreover, the Liberal party certainly hasn't declined to run a candidate against Stephen Harper out of respect for "leader's courtesy" -- Marlene Lamontaigne is running for the party in Calgary-Southwest. The Green party isn't respecting "leader's courtesy" there either -- they're fielding Kelly Christie as a candidate.

Nor are the Liberals and Greens showing any "leader's courtesy" to NDP leader Jack Layton. The Greens are running Charles Battershill and the Liberals are running Andrew Lang in Toronto-Danforth.

So, one question that could still be raised is this: did the Liberals and Greens even bother to contact Jack Layton and Stephen Harper to offer them "leader's courtesy" in their ridings?

There's no indication that they ever did. And even if they did, it's hard to treat a request that Stephen Harper cancel the nomination of his own Deputy Prime Minister as anything other than untenable.

Of course May is, in principle, right to object to Stephen Harper's potrayal of her as the Liberal candidate in Central Nova:

"I am no more the Liberal candidate in Central Nova than Mr Dion is a Green Party candidate anywhere.

We are separate political parties. Our views on most issues are quite different.
Yet if, indeed, Elizabeth May is predisposed toward disagreeing with Stephane Dion on any policy topic, Canadians would be hard-pressed to determine precisely which topics those are -- she has not yet, to date, voiced a disagreement with Stephane Dion on record.

She hasn't even voiced disagreement with Dion over his party's performance on the climate change portfolio -- especially given that the Liberals were the ones who ratified the Kyoto protocol in the first place.

Which is, of course, only another little bit of intellectual dishonesty by Elizabeth May and the Greens.

If Canadians need another reason to reject the Green party, this is as good as any other.

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