Friday, October 17, 2008
Dear Ms Fantasy...
Elizabeth May plays left-of-centre voters a tune
The more the Canadian public is introduced to Elizabeth May, the more and more apparent it becomes that she lives significant portions of her political life trying to live out a fantasy.
She fantasized she could beat Peter MacKay -- she didn't. She fantasized that her party could elect MPs -- even the Green party's first MP, Blair Wilson was defeated by a Conservative candidate.
Now, in the wake of a stronger Conservative minority government, May is peddling yet another fantasy -- that of a vast left-wing coalition to unseat the Conservative party.
May's fantastical model closely resembles that unsuccessfully peddled by Reform party leader Preston Manning during the 1990s -- one wherein each party would decline to run candidates against one another, dividing up ridings according to who is most likely to beat the Conservative candidate.
Discussion of such coalitions has been all the rage ever since Harper's election in 2006. Go figure: a Conservative government gets elected for the first time in 13 years, and the Canadian left-wing panics.
The rationale for such a coalition closely resembles that offered by individuals such as May and NDP leader Jack Layton: the majority of Canadians do not vote for Harper. As such, they surely voted for someone else -- but whom, precisely?
This is where the utter folly of such reasoning becomes so obvious. Such reasoning is based on the notion that Canadians do not vote for anything. Rather, they merely vote against something else.
One wonders is leaders such as May and Layton have ever considered the self-effacing nature of such an argument. The general thesis of such comments is that they themselves are not worthy of political support on their own merits. Rather, they're worthy of support only because Canadians are rejecting one particular option.
By May's and Layton's reasoning, 63% of Canadian voters voted against Stephen Harper in the 2008 federal election. As such, they surmise, he should not be Prime Minister.
Yet by the same reasoning 82% of the Canadian electorate voted against Jack Layton and an even more overwhelming 93% of voting Canadians voted against Elizabeth May. If Stephen Harper should not be Prime Minister, surely neither Layton nor May should be.
On that note, who are the remaining candidates? Liberal leader Stephane Dion, whom by this rationale 74% of Canadians voted against and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, whom 90% of Canadians voted against.
Perhaps the most ludicrous fantasy offered by May's theorized coalition is that the so-called "progressive" parties active in Canadian politics largely have no great differences between one another. They're all "progressive" parties, and thus all on the same side.
Simply not so. The Bloc Quebecois, after all, was founded based on the desire to tear Canada apart, dismembering it through the separation of Quebec. If that's the kind of difference Elizabeth May wants to sweep under the rug in the fickle name of defeating the Conservative party, Canadians across the country should find significant pause before supporting such a coalition.
Not to mention that the Bloc itself is actually a coalition between socialist and conservative sovereingtists, of both the hard and soft variety. There is no guarantee that a coalition such as the one May imagines could attract the total Bloc vote. In fact, the guarantee is virtually otherwise.
Not to mention the calamitous effect that such a coalition would have on electoral choice. By wiping up to three options off ballots across the country, many more Canadians may simply decide not so show up and vote. May's "with us or against us" mentality is perhaps one of the most cancerous forces at work in Canadian politics today.
That she would seek to formalize it and impose it upon the rest of Canada is an alarming prospect -- one that should lead more and more Canadians, within the Green party as well as without, to reject the prospect of her leadership.
Certainly, some left-of-centre Canadians will buy into May's fantasy. Perhaps more than any will be Liberal partisans who, like Ujjal Dosanjh, seem to literally believe they are entitled to the bulk of Canada's left-of-centre vote.
May's siren song could prove to be yet another lullaby singing many such Canadians to sleep. Fortunately, they'll wake again after the cold, hard reality that such a coalition is unworkable hits home.