Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not Nearly So Fast, Lizzie May

Elizabeth May cooking the numbers in bid to cling to leadership

With the media reporting that Green Party leader Elizabeth May received the support of 85% of party members in her bid to avoid a leadership contest -- as told to them by the party itself, a deeper exploration of the numbers surrounding the online/mail-in vote actually tell a rather different story.

Democratic Space's Greg Morrow seems to have the goods on the vote. He reports that, of the approximately 8,200 current members of the Green Party, only roundly 1,500 voted on the resolution to skip the constitutionally-mandated leadership contest.

That's only 18% of Green Party members.

Of that 1,500 members, 1,250 members supported May's leadership. So May did, indeed manage to gain the support of 85% of Green Party members... of the 18% who voted in the first place.

Morrow's examination of the numbers also reminds one of another key fact -- the fact that, of the 10,500 members the Green Party had one year ago, 2,300 have left the party.

Speaking to the Guelph Mercury, former candidate Bill Hulet suggests that May used some actually rather-undiginified means to retain her leadership. Basically, she threatened to resign the party leadership immediately if it voted to hold a leadership contest.

“She used her privileged access to [the membership list] ... saying she would have to resign if the membership didn’t vote the way she wanted them to,” Hulet said. “It was an abuse of her leadership privileges to intervene.”

May would prefer Canadians to think that she's secure in her leadership of the Green Party. But the current state of the Green Party, as well as her conduct before the vote, tells a different story:

May is clinging to power, and she's cooking the vote numbers in order to publicly justify it.

After all, May's party has, at best, expressed 15% support of her, when the voting results are compared to the entire party membership.

Meanwhile, 22% of her party's membership has left it in a single year -- a fact that May would almost certainly have to account for. It's an issue that Sylvie Lemieux could have scored some serious points on, had she the opportunity to use it against May in the course of a leadership contest.

Perhaps the knowledge of the rate at which the party has hemorrhaged members under May's stewardship would have been enough to help a contender unseat her.

But numbers rarely lie. The Green Party is headed for some serious trouble with Elizabeth May occupying its leadership -- especially if she keeps cooking the numbers in order to justify it.

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