Doomed in Saanich

Elizabeth May

I could be wrong, but allow me to make a not all that terribly bold prediction with regard to the outcome of the next election in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. I’m guessing that Green Party leader Elizabeth May won’t even break 10,000 votes and that because of stubbornly entrenched partisan vote-splitting, Conservative minister Gary Lunn will once again emerge victorious.


31 Replies to “Doomed in Saanich”

  1. Something like that.

    The best theory that I’ve seen is that she should have run in Bill Casey’s riding in NS. It is up for grabs, is right beside the riding she ran in last time, has a strong anti-mainstream party slant (especially anti-Conservative), and no one party has much of an organization there. May should have had a chat with Casey and tried to convince him to give her the reins with an endorsement and his local organization. He would thus continue to thumb his nose at Harper, and everyone else. May have NS roots, so she would be a local parachute.

    The problem with the other ridings suggested for her is that they all have strong incumbents.

  2. Whooee! Well, I’m a GPC member and EDA exec. Generally, I agree with both RT and Mark. I don’t think it is impossible for Elizabeth to win in SGI but I think there were better choices available.

    If an election is staved off for long enough and May gets busy – very busy – locally, she can do herself a world of good. Unfortunately, she’s been way too soft on the Libs. I suspect she chose SGI over the more winnable Guelph largely because she’d rather fight a Con incumbent than a Liberal. But if she wants to do more than just split the vote, she needs to fight against the Libs in SGI.

    While SGI’s LPC candidate has strong environmental credentials, the LPC and Ignatieff in particular are vulnerable on green issues. Lizzie needs to take the gloves off and tell voters how MI’s endorsement of the tar sands and nuclear energy are patently un-green.

    She also needs to remind voters that MI is as big a hawk on Afstan as the HarperCons. If peas weren’t green, the Libs and Cons could be described as peas in a pod on many issues.

    I think the biggest problem the GPC will have in SGI is in the foot soldier department. When May ran in the London by election, she was able to come in a close second due to the large number of GPC door knockers who came in from population-rich southern Ontario. The doors are further apart and the nearby volunteer pool is sparser in SGI.


  3. JB – I think she needs to stop running around like a crazy woman. Her credibility is going down, down, down.

    I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for someone who doesn’t know my riding, the people, etc. It’s insane.

  4. Sandi, while parachute candidacy has its real problems, such candidates can and do win. Ignatieff must have parachuted in from Harvard, no?

    My point/advice is for EM to spend the time she has before the next election reaching out to SGI: getting seen listening to locals. As she pointed out, many SGI residents are people who recently moved there themselves.

    We are, indeed, a mobile society. If we haven’t moved around for employment or retirement purposes, we surely have family members who have done so. Remaining in the same locale for one’s lifetime is neither an asset nor a requirement for election to office.

    Harper moved from the Toronto area to Alberta. Jack Layton comes from Montreal, I think, and represents a TO riding. That’s just the leaders. I suspect we could look at a list of all MPs and find many more who are representing ridings to which they relocated.


  5. JB — No disrespect to my lib/dem friends, but a toaster-oven or anything remotely animate running for the Liberals and/or the NDP will combined get about 40 percent of the vote in the SGI riding. It’s just the way things work here. That doesn’t afford the Greens any margin for victory.

  6. Good point (and way of putting it) on the toaster-oven. I’ve made a similar observation about how we get at least 5% GPC vote in most ridings, regardless of whether we campaign or have a viable candidate.

    If, for some as yet unseen reason, the environment rises to the top of voter concerns, the GPC stands a chance. Environment was at the top of the list about 18 months ago but has slipped considerably as the false dichotomy of economy vs. environment has been foisted on a financially troubled electorate.

  7. Funny how “the Greenest riding in Canada” reliably elects a Con.

    As long as we are stuck with first-past-the-post elections it is incumbent on the Greens, NDP and Liberals to agree to hold back candidates in a couple of dozen ridings across the country.
    That is how McKenzie King (and the Progressive Party) dispatched RB Bennett – a fellow not unlike Mr. Harper

  8. May doesn’t seem to understand that SGI is essentially a very conservative riding. I know that might seem a bit counterintuitive to outsiders (especially in light of what I said about left-leaning parties garnering almost half of the vote almost no matter what) but it’s thoroughly conventional in attitude, prosperously suburban in nature, and quite uptight in many traditional respects.

    When she claims that “Most of the people in this riding have come from somewhere else” (as she did in comments reported to The Star last week), she’s dead wrong. In fact, less than one in five people fall into that group.

  9. JB – there’s a huge difference in changing riding and staying there for many years and moving every few months – just to get a seat – she’s in it for herself it seems.

  10. There’s a clubbish kind of snobbery in this area when it comes to interlopers from elsewhere.

    Another comment that May made to The Star last week was “What I hear a lot of is why didn’t we come out here sooner.”

    Yikes! That’s just like chalk on blackboard to native Victorians who tend to be kind of an insular lot who don’t even care all that much for the tourists that drive a good deal of the economy here… (We contemptuously tolerate them as much as anything.)

  11. Even though I’m a relatively newbie to the west coast, I think RT has nailed it. Even I have picked up on the established neighborhood vibe there. This is one riding where conservatives can easily run up the middle and hold the seat, even with a toadstool (insert appropriate Lunn comment here). Vote splitting heaven. Parachuting her into this riding essentially holds that element in place even more firmly.

    Poor decision.

  12. the fact the dippers voted in big numbers for an alleged creep who had already withdrawn from the race, thus allowing lunn an easy waltz to victory against the liberal challenger; doesn’t bode well for May. rt’s right: no chance for lizzie.

  13. Elizabeth May is a political liability of the highest order for the Green Party.

    She portrays as dim-witted and radical, and while that might not seem like a liability when she’s sitting in a basement with 10 or 20 of her fellow dim-witted radicals, when subjected to the harsh glare of public scrutiny, it’s a recipe for killing the party when it was just gathering some life.

  14. Guess you missed the TV debate, Rob. It made enough impact on some people that they’re still talking about it. Here’s a column published just yesterday:

    “Top 10 reasons for Canadians to go to the polls

    8. Canadians will get the pleasure, once again, to watch Green Party leader Elizabeth May show the three old-guard parties (Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois) the thing they fear the most: the face of proportional representation. If Parliament got true democratic reform — or a reasonable facsimile thereof — Elizabeth May could become prime minister. Maybe Jack Layton should be added to the fear-stricken list, too.

    7. Still on the Greens: We’d also get to watch May give the other leaders a second lesson on how to debate. She wiped the floor with them last year and could do it again, Michael Ignatieff or not.

  15. Hey, maybe I’m wrong, maybe Elizabeth will win her seat and lead the Greens to a stunning upset, becoming the official opposition or, perhaps, the government.

    There is an element of the Green Party that I actually find uplifting, the notion of a change from “business as usual” in politics – but, somehow, I see her doing worse, not better next itime around.

    Oh, and pardon me if I don’t find a self-described “left-leaning columnist” as a litmus test of the general regard of the Canadian public for Ms. May.

    ..and Ti-Guy – I’m not hung over, more like re-energized after a westcoast roadtrip.

  16. Oh, and pardon me if I don’t find a self-described “left-leaning columnist” as a litmus test of the general regard of the Canadian public for Ms. May.

    I’ll gladly pardon you for that.

    Will you pardon me if I don’t regard a cranky right-wing blog commenter a litmus test of the general regard of the Canadian public for Ms. May?

  17. People like Rob are the enforcers of the status quo. Their job is to dismiss out of hand any analysis that threatens the current order, which benefits them exclusively.

    I’m not quite why he has this hate-on with respect to the Greens…probably the environmental issues with threaten Alberta’s dirty oil wealth.

    I never really had a problem with that until I realised that that easy wealth is giving practically everyone in that province a hugely over-inflated sense of their own self-worth.

  18. JB — I know I’m coming across kind of cynical about May and her attempt at securing this riding, but I have to say (as I’ve done before) that the GPC leadership debates were fascinating and informative — much better discussion of the issues than is offered by the other parties.

    And here’s an idea… Wouldn’t it be kind of neat if Ignatieff (presuming he might be elected as PM) appointed Elizabeth May as a Senator for B.C.? I think many of us here could perhaps relate more to her in that role because we know she’d be reliably feisty and relentlessly active…

    I’d actually subscribe again to the Senate Hansard.

  19. JB.. you’re pardoned.

    History will prove, I suppose, which of us has the right take on Ms. May.

    I could be wrong. Hey, I voted Liberal in three elections, including John Turner in my own riding.. so, I’ve been wrong before.

  20. As long as we are stuck with first-past-the-post elections it is incumbent on the Greens, NDP and Liberals to agree to hold back candidates in a couple of dozen ridings across the country.

    That worked really well for May in the last election. 🙂

  21. RT,

    It didn’t take a rocket genius to figure this out. But it was good of you to post.

    We have to look a little deeper and perhaps get ourselves a psyhological profile on this tasmanian she-devil.

    Elizabeth May is an American who moved to Canada when she was 18.
    She comes form a family that supported civil disobediance in its American form. She was a successful leader for the Sierra Club substantially increasing its profile. She is extremely good at engaging the media. She has run in places where she has no hope of winning, and in fact has done the same thing again. She is very bright and must know that she is setting herself up as a martyr and not a winner. She will not be invited back to the leadership debates because she has no MP to mail the invitation. But she will scream for inclusion anyway. Once again, being the martyr.

    Where does this leave us? I think it may mean she just wants the air time without the responsibility. She would make a lousy Senator.

  22. Paratroopers don’t often do well anyway. People want to vote for locals who will work for the riding, not celebrity candidates who can barely find the riding on a map.

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