Murray Dobbin loses all contact with reality
More than three years after Elizabeth May became leader of the Green Party, the party has elected no members -- but pulled out all the stops to elect one -- May herself -- and is continually nursing a deteriorating reputation.
Rabble.ca columnist Murray Dobbin has a word for this: "master plan". Elizabeth May's master plan.
It's the kind of phrase that brings to mind cartoonish images of comic book villains toiling away in secret laboratories, just waiting for the day they can rise up and take over the world. If only it weren't for the interference of interlopers.
In May and Dobbin's case, the "interlopers" seem to be the Canadian voters who won't support the party enough for them to win a seat in so much as a single riding. And, predictably, May believes she has the answer.
When asked "What has to happen to ensure that the Conservatives do not get a majority in the next election?", May resorts to a rather predictable answer: proportional representation and coalition government.
"The solutions lie in some fundamental changes because we are a multi-party society in a two-party voting system," May insists. "We either have to move to a system of proportional representation or we have to change our attitude towards minority governments and decide we are going to make them work."
"I still feel that the aborted coalition was a very hopeful thing even to just have had it floated on the political stage," May continues. "I regret Ignatieff's decision not to follow through with what had been set out as a workable modus operandi between the Liberals and the NDP to avoid Stephen Harper continuing his government."
As it turned out, Canadians didn't share May's assessment of the situation, and preferred an election -- an opportunity to decide themselves who would govern the country -- to the Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition simply taking over power after a Parliamentary defeat of the government.
Moreover, Canadians have also rejected a transition to proportional representation on many occasions. During referenda on the topic in BC and Ontario, voters rejected proportional representation.
Canadians, as it turns out, aren't willing to sacrifice effective local representation in favour of a system that will only empower political parties.
Nor do Canadians seem to think that simply defeating Stephen Harper is worth such fundamental and detrimental re-designs of our political systems.
But if anyone thinks that May's words have been sheer ideological lunacy, they have yet to contend with this little nugget. When asked "Do you think Harper has deliberately set out to discourage people from voting?" (itself a lunatic question), May responds affirmatively.
"Absolutely," May says. "People thought that Harper had become more popular between the 2006 and 2008 elections but not so: 170,000 fewer people voted for a Conservative candidate in 2008 than in 2006. His larger seat count is a tribute to his ability to discourage people from voting. The 700,000 fewer people voting for the Liberals did so on the basis of attack ads. None of what the attack ads do is to make people like the Conservatives more -- it's a question of framing, first Stephane Dion and now Michael Ignatieff in the worst possible terms based on the most sophisticated marketing genius of the Karl Rove variety."
Now, if the Conservative Party had run nothing but attack ads during the 2008 election campaign, May would have a valid point. She could even make her point if the Conservatives had run more attack ads than their opponents. But the truth of the matter is that the Liberal party launched no less than eleven attack ads during the 2008 election (more if one includes advertising by local candidates), whereas the Conservatives used only six.
But this is the kind of ideological fantasy world Elizabeth May and Murray Dobbin live together in. Dobbin even describes May -- a woman who once said that she agrees that all Canadians are stupid, even though it's actually clear that she never meant to -- as
One would wonder if the Canadians who watched her and George Monbiot lose their Munk Debate to Bjorn Lomberg and Lord Christopher Monckton would agree that May is "articulate".
If Elizabeth May's political strategy is a "master plan", a lot of Canadians would be forgiven for not recognizing it.