Saturday, April 04, 2015

Who's Afraid Of Elizabeth May?


In a recent poll, Canadians made clear that they want to see Elizabeth May in the election debates. However, that doesn't mean that they'll get to see her. In the debate to extend Canada's mission into Syria, May was not allowed to speak. Michael Harris writes:

The Tories denied May the right to speak about the government’s plan to expand Canada’s war with Islamic State into Syria without a plan and without a costing. I guess they prefer to listen to Defence Minister Jason Kenney’s lies and obfuscations. That’s what Harper specializes in: a democracy where he and his puppets always have the floor, and the rest are reduced to Lilliputians quivering in forelock-tugging silence.

And during the last election, May was banned from the table. A consortium of broadcasters refused her entry into the debates. There are no rules about who gets to participate:

The consortium itself has no clear rules or criteria to guide its decisions. Worse, other parties have manoeuvred secretly to keep the Green Party out in past debates. A total absence of rules and hidden political machinations to create an Old Boys club of the debates is not a confidence-building combination.

But what happened in 2011 had everything to do with Stephen Harper:

As [May] wrote in her book Losing Confidence, “The Consortium was told in January 2007 that if I was included in the debates, Stephen Harper would refuse to participate.”

Harper had tried to veto the Green Party’s participation from the shadows. It almost worked. May was told by by Mike Duffy — not the consortium — that she was out of the debate. According to Duffy, then at CTV, three out of four party leaders had nixed her participation. The networks had disgraced themselves caving in to politicians like Harper.

May has been the only leader who has clearly opposed Harper on principle:

May fought like a lion against Harper’s Parliament-destroying omnibus legislation. Why is this type of legislation fatal for any representative democracy? Four simple words tell the tale: Government spending goes unverified. Thank you, former Harper information commissioner Robert Marleau.

May also came up with wise amendments to the government’s “Fair” Elections Act, a creepy piece of legislation which will make cheating easier and actually work to suppress the vote. Catching ballot bandits will now be next to impossible. Nor will Canadians know of their attempted crimes unless they lead to charges. Under the provisions of this cynical and regressive piece of legislation, there will be no more robocalls warnings issued by Elections Canada.

May was the first party leader to come out against Harper’s latest eruption of Darth Vaderism, Bill C-51. If you believe that removing civil liberties and lowering the threshold for police state tactics makes us safer, this is the bill for you.

The passengers aboard the good ship Harper are jumping -- John Baird, James Lunney, Christian Paradis, Shelley Glover. If May is at the table, the reasons for their departure will become crystal clear.

Who's afraid of Elizabeth May?  You can bet that, first and foremost, it's Stephen Harper.


Anonymous said...

This is some damn good news Owen Grey:

"Stephen Harper should take note of the fact that 900 highly skilled, highly motivated progressive activists got together in Ottawa and left today with a game plan,"


The intellectual community is boldly entering the Frey to unseat Harper and his con gang!


Lorne said...

it will be a grave injustice to our democracy, Owen, if May is not permitted at the debates. That her ability to speak real truth and to ask hard questions clearly threatens the other 'leaders,' all the more reason for her inclusion. she does not suffer fools gladly.

Owen Gray said...

She sees through the sham and the hype, Lorne. And, for that reason, she is a threat to the powerful and those who seek power.

Owen Gray said...

Progressives are organizing, Mogs. The most important hurdle they face is getting out the vote.

Scotian said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only reason I am not supporting May and her local Green candidate in my riding is because of my belief that she and the Greens, like the NDP, cannot realistically defeat Harper for government, which for me is an "at all costs" issues as it has been for a decade now. She has repeatedly impressed me with her actual reading of all legislation she is voting on, and her understanding of why process issues really matter and sticking up for them. She more than any other leader in the past decade has been the one accurately pointing out why what Harper does on process grounds is so damaging for our nation, which is at the core of why I've been so opposed to having Harper in power, and why I supported even the horrific Ignatief as a better alternative despite my own loathing of the man, because demographically as I've noted for years the Libs still are the only realistic choice to the CPC currently.

So it is no wonder Harper wants to keep her as far away from the public awareness as he can manage, because she more than anyone else can slice his process destruction out from under the fog of lies he and his have created in a way that is understandable for the majority of voters. May clearly is one of the most competent MPs we have seen in the House in a long time regardless of party affiliation, and she despite being the leader of the fifth largest party still has shown real leadership chops.

Harper has good reason to be afraid of May, but then so does Mulcair, Trudeau too, but I suspect less so, but only because I get the impression that of the three main party leaders she finds Trudeau the least objectionable. I get the impression she feels towards the NDP and its leadership much the same as I do for much the same reasons, and her reality puts the lie to how effective Mulcair truly has been since becoming leader, and how much the NDP were willing to throw away over the past decade in their own pursuit of power. I suspect Trudeau is probably the only leader who would see it as on balance more to his advantage than disadvantage to have her in the debates because of how well she can destroy Harper on the substance in a manner easily understood by most citizens/voters.

Anyone that does not grant May the respect she so clearly deserves, whether they agree with her politics or not, is in my mind showing they are not capable of clear political analysis, her abilities are simply that obvious IMHO.

Owen Gray said...

May is a superb parliamentarian, Scotian. I suspect she shares your view that four more years of Harper would be a disaster and a tragedy.

That is why Harper will do everything he can to keep her off the stage.

Rural said...

She was not voted hardest working and Best Mp by her colleagues without merit, Owen. She is simply one off, if not THE, most knowledgeable, principled and well read MP in the House and as such when given the chance to speak truly speaks the truth to power. Harper needs to be afraid, for if given an equal playing field will blow him out of the water.

Kim said...

After hearing all the long weekend politics being played, Ministers announcing they will not run, Oliver announcing a budget date and Paul Martin coming out swinging on the upcoming budget, I'm tempted to expect a budget so poorly crafted that the opposition will vote a non confidence and trigger a snap election. If that's Harpers goal, he just needs to arrange several of his caucus to be absent from the vote.

Owen Gray said...

Certainly that's not beyond him, Kim. But it would be a mistake to let him have his way.

Owen Gray said...

May is an MP in the best sense of the word, Rural. She holds the government to account -- unlike the trained seals in Harper's party who honk on cue.

Anonymous said...

I want to find out how to contact Bridgette DePape to send her $100 as a personal gift to "keep going." She's the most important person in Canada at this moment. If she can be coerced to help get out 500,000 youth to vote, the Harper Era will be gone.

We have momentum. Steve should be scared.


Owen Gray said...

Certainly DePape is committed to ending Harper's stint in office, Anon A. But she needs a lot of young people to join her if she is to succeed.

lungta said...

i'm hoping the run under a party opposing the cons with the support of other opposing parties catches on.
lizzy mae ... we love her.
been talking to cons around here and they are almost ready to jump ship
that minute in the booth might cancel their thinking tho.......

Lulymay said...

Having always voted CCF/NDP since I became eligible, I must admit I am sorely disappointed in my party of choice sitting back and letting this fiend, Harper, take over Canada when it did not need to happen. Both the Libs and the NDP should have put aside their aspirations of power in order to keep these Reforma/Cons on a short chain.

I will now vote strategically for whoever looks best positioned to beat the Cons. For now, it looks like that will be NDP, but they are not guaranteed my vote in any future election. I'm simply not interested in supporting one person's ego.

On the other hand, there is a rumour going around that Harper has been having long chats with Bibi in Israel on how to implement mandatory military service in Canada for all those over the age of 18. Perhaps all those eligible to vote should start paying attention, or would they prefer some of their loved ones be left dead somewhere in the Middle East as monuments to a wannabee war hero's personal ambitions?

Owen Gray said...

If that's Harper's plan, Lulymay, he'd be well advised to dust off Mackenzie King's crystal ball and communicate with the former prime minister on that subject.

And, while he's at it, he might have a chat with Robert Borden. Both former prime ministers could offer him sage advice.

The Mound of Sound said...

Every now and then in the midst of bad times a person like Elizabeth May comes along, a person capable of recalibrating a political apparatus that has fallen into dysfunction. Elizabeth Warren is another.

These are people whose vision and principles compel our support. Sure, Justin or Tommy would be preferable to Shifty Steve but they're only less offensive failures who will not serve the country well despite this time of daunting, even existential, challenges. That's why I reject Scotian's cynical logic.

There are times when we really need to dig deep and recognize what is right and set expedience aside.

Owen Gray said...

Let's hope those "ordinary folks" -- as Shakespeare said, lungta -- "screw their courage to the sticking point."

Owen Gray said...

May has been a voice crying in the wilderness, Mound. Everything depends on whether Canadians are listening to her.

Scotian said...


I'm not a cynic, I am a realist/pragmatist. There is a difference. My reasoning has been based not on anything but actual voting patterns of actual voting Canadians. Sure, I recognize the potentials for upsets of those patterns, but they are rare, and also rarely predictable beforehand, and given the clear threat Harper the Destroyer and Salter of the Scorched Earth presents one must view fighting him as the most important first step before all else, and therefore supporting the path that has the best probability to do so is not cynicism, but pragmatism/realism.

Look, I don't mind you disagreeing with me, but I do object to being called a cynic, or my reasoning cynical. I've never liked the arguments I make, but I have this irritating thing about calling reality as I see it, not as I wish it were. You go to the polls with the voters/electorate you actually have, not that you wish you had. Harper is such a clear beyond all other threats to our political system that his removal should always be the first priority eve at this late date IMHO.

Love them, hate them, the Liberals are still the party with the best position, ability, and resources to beat the CPC and remove Harper from power. Especially if they are able to peel off the centrist conservative vote from them. I've never seen the Libs as a progressive party, but, however, they are not fundamentally opposed to progressive concepts or policies, unlike the CPC. I see the Libs as they have traditionally been, the party that tries to bridge the wide differences within our society and who for the most part managed to do such a good job of it that we had created a Canada that most here and throughout the nation were very proud of whatever our political differences prior to the rise of the Harperium.

So I have a bit of a hard time with your calling my position cynical MoS, I really do. Especially from someone who has shown his own ability towards seeing reality when it comes to foreign affairs as well as you do that you apparently see doing the same on the domestic side somehow more problematic bothers me a bit. You know, I asked Dana here a few days back if he had ever seen any of my critics ever actually prove my arguments/reasoning false, regardless of the motives one may want to ascribe to me for making them, and he agreed he has never seen anyone actually do so.

I'd love to be able to argue as I normally have in my life that what matters most is voting for that which you believe in, but when you have a Harper in power who is fundamentally destroying the entire political infrastructure, well that seems to be a rather dangerous course of action. It all comes down to how far out of the mainstream of our politics you see Harper as, and I see him so far out that he makes any of the other leaders/parties much less objectionable, even arguably the BQ, something I never believed as a Maritimer I thought I'd ever be saying about any Separatist organization.

This is an either you see Harper as that bad or you don't sort of binary choice, and normally I loath binary choices in politics, but these days the reality is what it is. If I thought May or Mulcair had a real serious path to being the tool to defeat Harper I'd be saying go for them, but for right now the ONLY way to assure a Harper removal from power is to elect a majority government of another party, and I can only see one party with that ability on the landscape currently. Even granting it is a cynical argument, how, exactly am I wrong again?

Anonymous said...

Owen and Anonymous -A,

Bridgette DePape is attempting to get the youth vote involved through a campaign with the "Council of Canadians".