Former Green Party leader Jim Harris says meeting first Green MP will be “like being in Berlin the day the Berlin Wall fell” and “like being in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was liberated from jail… .”

by matttbastard

Former Green Party leader Jim Harris can barely contain himself:

Today is a day of days. It’s the first day of a new era. It’s a day that you don’t want to miss. Come to Guelph today. There are tectonic forces at work in Canadian politics.

I imagine it’s like being in Berlin the day the Berlin Wall fell. It’s like being in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was liberated from jail — or the day he was inaugurated as President. Imagine being in Berlin or South Africa while history was shifting . . .

We are in such a moment. Funny thing is not everyone sees or feels the moment in terms of how profound it is until later — when history books are written. Carpe Diem! Seize the day — today is the day we all get to be part of history. It’s the day we’ll tell our grandchildren about — I was there when . . .

Meet Canada’s first Green MP in Guelph today (Sunday, August 31)! Blair Wilson, the former independent MP who is now the Green Party’s first MP in Parliament, comes to Guelph with Elizabeth May to support Mike Nagy’s campaign.

To quote Johnny Rotten, “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” After a rousing buildup like that, I was expecting a bigger pay off than “meet Blair Wilson!” If the superfluity of parody was ever in doubt…

h/t Partisan Non-partisan

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More On Blair Wilson, Elizabeth May, and The Green Party of Canada

by matttbastard

Self-described “card-carrying Green” Stuart Hertzog is none too pleased that Blair Wilson is now Canada’s first Green MP:

Why don’t I see this as good news? Because in accepting Blair Wilson into its ranks, Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May has shown that she’s prepared to throw out fundamental Green political principles just so she can be included in the nationally-televised leadership debate. Put simply, that sucks.

[...]

[W]hat effect will this appointment from ‘on high’ of a fallen Liberal star as Canada’s history-making first ‘Green’ MP have on local Green Party members? Were they consulted about this, or did they learn about it from the media?

I’m not living in that riding, but as a card-carrying Green I’m disgusted with this display of old-style, back-room political thinking that believes that secret negotiations to persuade star candidates to run under the Green Party banner is the way to open, democratic politics and ecological security.

Such shenanigans may create a brief flurry in the media — but at what cost? Blair Wilson MP has done well in the past by toeing the Liberal Party line, but the Liberal party’s environmental record is not good. Canadians saw little genuine progress in environmental enforcement during the decades it was in power.

Has Blair Wllson suddenly discovered a new ecological consciousness as a newly-minted Green? Or is his greening as pale as the current attempt to paint the Liberal Party green after its decades of environmental neglect? What are his Green credentials? He may call himself a Green MP — but is he really one?

[...]

Green politics was supposed to be different, an alternative to the moral and financial corruption of old-style politics. But Canada’s Green parties seem to have drifted away from these Green ideals. As the Green ‘brand’ grows in popularity, a new wave of political opportunists are hopping aboard the Green Party wagon as it trundles slowly but seemingly inevitably towards Ottawa.

Make sure to read the whole thing.  I think pogge nails it when he says (in comments; scroll down) “[t]he way to fix a broken electoral system isn’t to game it even more by exploiting whatever loopholes you can find. That’s a recipe for making voters [and, apparently, ideological partisans--mb] even more cynical than they already are.”

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Quote of the Day: Too Clever By Half

by matttbastard

I can’t help but be, oh, a little bit skeptical of Republicans’ sudden interest in the glass ceiling. After all, this is the party that threw women like Lilly Ledbetter under the bus, in favor of businesses that practice wage discrimination. The party that stymied the Equal Rights Amendment. The party that not only wants to force women here and abroad to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, but also wants to deny them access to a range of contraception options.

[...]

It’s clear that Republicans believe that what made Hillary Clinton such a good candidate was her gender, not her political experience or positions on the issues. And McCain’s decision to pick Palin shows he took this message to heart and chose to add her to the ticket primarily because of her gender. In so doing, McCain has turned the idea of the first woman in the White House from a true moment of change to an empty pander.

Why is this a pander? Because Palin is not a woman who has a record of representing women’s interests. She is beloved by extremely right-wing conservatives for her anti-choice record (fittingly, she’s a member of the faux-feminist anti-choice group Feminists for Life). Palin supports federal anti-gay marriage legislation. She believes schools should teach creationism. Alaska is currently considering spending more on abstinence-only sex education. And when it comes to a slew of other issues of importance to women, such as equal pay, she’s not on the record.

Of course, I’m of the belief that more women in politics — across the ideological spectrum — is always a good thing. On a superficial level, nominating a woman to the Republican presidential ticket is indeed a milestone. But the real reason many women were excited about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is that she was the whole package — a politician with a solid record on issues like choice and fair pay, and with a lot of experience, who was also a woman. Even feminists I disagreed with during the primary made the compelling point that it wasn’t just about Hillary’s gender. It was about her record, too.

- Ann Friedman, McCain’s Sexist VP Choice

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Ends and Means

by matttbastard

NBCDipper:

The day that Mr. Emerson “crossed the floor” to the Conservative party was a dark day for Canadian democracy… He has betrayed his supporters and the entire electorate in Vancouver Kingsway. He has put his personal goals ahead of those of the electorate.

– Arno Schortinghuis, Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway, in official Green Party press release, February 17th 2006.

I’ll enjoy having Elizabeth May explain why her party did a total…180° on that one at the debates.

Oh, snap! Welcome to prime time, Liz.

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Blair Wilson, Canada’s First Green MP: Yes, We Can (Be Underwhelmed)

by matttbastard

Bruce Campion-Smith, writing for The Toronto Star:

The Green Party has wooed Independent MP Blair Wilson to its ranks, giving the party its first politician in the House of Commons and as a result, a spot in the televised election debates.

Because the party now has a MP, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be entitled to participate in the televised leaders’ debates in the election that is expected to be called within days.

[...]

“Democracy is threatened when legitimate national leaders are barred from what is arguably the single most important political event in an election – the televised debates,” Wilson said in the release issued by the Green Party.

“It is shocking that the Green Party was excluded from the debates in the past, but by joining the Green Party, I can help guarantee that this travesty will not be repeated in the next election,” he said.

Campion-Smith calls the suprise maneuver “a stunning strategic victory for May” prior to an election widely expected to take place October 14th. However, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for yet another round of vote-free Parliamentary seat-rearrangement. As noted by Campion-Smith, Wilson campaigned and was elected as a Liberal, and only left the Grits last fall as a result of a financial scandal (although an Elections Canada investigation recently found “minimal evidence of financial wrongdoing.”, according to North Shore Outlook, which led Wilson’s attorney to declare that Wilson had “been exonerated of everything serious.”)

pogge, who notes that “as recently as two weeks ago [Wilson] was still trying very hard to be reinstated as a Liberal and wanted the Liberal nomination in West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country”, is (imo rightly) skeptical about what this means for Wilson, May and the Greens:

This sudden elevation of the Green Party and of Elizabeth May’s status isn’t the result of a choice by voters. It’s the result of one guy who was, rightly or wrongly, kicked out of the party he originally chose and couldn’t get back in. On a rational basis I don’t believe that qualifies Elizabeth May to participate in a debate where she’ll be the only leader arguing that some other party’s leader ought to be Prime Minister.

When I think of the current state of Canadian Federal politics, the word that almost immediately springs to mind is cynicism. Maneuvers like this–to say nothing of Harper’s opportunistic jettisoning of his own fixed election reforms–do little to increase voter confidence in the health of our Parliamentary system. No wonder, as noted in today’s Halifax Chronicle Herald, some eligible voters (including yours truly) may have felt a little “campaign envy” this week as history unfolded before our eyes south of the border:

Americans are being dared to dream; Canadians hardly dare to eat luncheon meat.

If an election does come, there are no gripping issues, merely the end of the game of who triggers it and when.

The likely outcome is another minority government requiring the same sort of bipartisan compromises that supposedly can’t be made now. Not exactly the stuff of mile-high enthusiasm.

There are practical reasons electoral energy cycles are out of sync across the 49th parallel.

Canadians have nothing like the historic choice of electing the first black president, or the first woman vice-president now that John McCain has boldly picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Well, I wouldn’t quite go that far. Since this editorial was published, Canada has boldly made a small-town cheap contribution to the annals of political history. Yep–watching a tainted ex-Liberal hitch his political fortunes to a party dedicated to, um, electing Liberals certainly gives me hope for this fall’s homegrown electoral festivities; finally, a little bit of change that we as Canadians can, if not outright believe in, at least feign indifference towards.

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