Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Free Ride for Lizzie May in Saanich

Intrepid Green to challenge May's candidacy, leadership in BC riding

If Elizabeth May thought she was going to walk the red carpet to a nomination in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, she was wrong.

A challenger has emerged, and he wants to throw down the gauntlet on more than just May's desire to run in the riding -- he wants to challenge her leadership.

"I'm concerned about democracy both in Canada and the Green Party," says Stuart Hertzog, who says that the party's centralization of power away from riding associations and toward the national council has harmed the party. "As a result, many of the local groups have just withered away and all the action is taking place at the national level."

Hertzog is a veteran of both the BC Green Party and the recently defunct Green Party of Alberta.

Hertzog particularly disagrees with May's insistence that the party focus almost single-mindedly on getting her elected the next time the writ is dropped.

"I think it's a desperate move. I think it's a sign the Green Party has failed to build a grass roots base of support right across this country," says Hertzog.

The demise of the Green Party of Alberta could certainly be taken as evidence of Hertzog's assertions. Elections Alberta recently canceled the party's registration in the province because required financial statements hadn't been filed.

A party that was building grass roots support, membership and an infrastructure of activists would never lose its registration on such mundane grounds. A party that is obsessively focused on lionizing its leaders very well may, and apparently has.

Like May, Hertzog would effectively be a parachute candidate. Unlike May, however, Hertzog lives in neighbouring Victoria, whereas May would be parachuting in all the way from her unwinnable Nova Scotia riding and her extremely ill-advised obsession with defeating Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay.

Hopefully, Stuart Hertzog's bid to defeat Elizabeth May for the Green nomination in Saanich-Gulf Islands will sound a clarion call to other Canadian Greens who want May out of the party leadership.

The longer she remains at the helm of the party, the worse off they will be.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Stuart Hertzog - "Why I am Standing as a Nomination Candidate

Mark Kersten - "May to be Challenged for Saanich-Gulf Islands Nomination"

Dan Shields - "Elizabeth May Decides on a Riding"

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