For those of you who haven't seen the announcement, there is a deal between Elizabeth May and Stéphane Dion to help May gain a seat in parliament and defeat Peter MacKay.
The Liberals will not run a candidate in Central Nova where they got 10,349 votes in 2006, while the Greens will not run one in Saint-Laurent—Cartierville where the Greens got 1,810. Hardly a fair trade. The Liberal gain nothing, as far as I can see, from this deal. The Liberals were also negotiating from a position of strength. The only chance May had of winning in Central Nova was for the Liberals to back down. I can see the symbolism of the leaders not opposing each other, however we need more than symbolism.
What Dion should have asked for, and it would have been fair of him to do so, would have been for the Greens to not field a candidate in Ottawa Centre.
The Green focus is clearly to elect May as an MP, Dion has given her a big boost in this quest, but in exchange for mere symbolism. In the last election, the Green candidate in Ottawa Centre received 6,766 votes and the Liberal candidate lost by a margin of 5,153. A deal like this would have been a fair trade. The deal we saw is dumb.
Also, who wants to bet that a Liberal runs as an independent and finishes strongly. See the 2000 election in Random-St. George's, NL where the party forced the nomination of Tory-turned-Liberal Bill Matthews, the Liberal who was to win the nomination ran as an independent and finished a strong second. Rural folk in particular don't take kindly to being told they can't have a candidate and I doubt Liberals in Central Nova will take this sitting down.