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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