Saturday, April 14, 2007


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.

Very annoyed.

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.


Anonymous said...

You are completely not seeing the advantages of this for the Liberals in many other battleground ridings. Dion gave up 10000 votes in a riding he was unlikely to win for potential Green/NDP votes in dozens of battleground. Votes that may make a difference.

nbpolitico said...

I don't see how this deal gets him votes from the Greens in many other ridings - I think most of the people who are voting Green these days are doing so because they are sick of the other parties and are not going to vote for them anyway.

How does it get NDP votes?

Anonymous said...

Greens primarily take votes from NDP (London-North byelection being an example) -- a stronger Green Party would siphon off NDP votes and allow quite a few Liberals to come up the middle in urban ridings where the main race is NDP versus Liberal.

Anonymous said...

First, there is a long-standing practice of allowing the new leader of a Party to run, unopposed, for a seat in the House..usually this happens in a by-election and if the Party has a seat..not a general this is a change..but really no different than "denying" the vote to a party candidate when we allow a new leader to run unopposed ,this just happened in Newfoundland provincially did it not? Secondly, May actually has a chance of both attracting NDP votes AND beating McKay.(best possible research shows that she attracted NDP votes in Ontario last time around)...nothing would be better for Liberal moral out East to see sell-out McKay go down. Finally, this deal shows Jack Layton to be the uncooperating jerk that he really highlights that both the Greens and the Liberals are willing to make partisan sacrifices to meet an important political objective..this is in contrast with Layton, who could not stomach having the Liberals bask in success of finishing the Kwlona Accord and Childcare deals so pulled the plug early on the Martin gov. I have noticed that most of the limited opposition from Liberals to this deal comes from proud old-school party traditionalists..and i understand where you are coming from..but most of the people I have been talking to outside of the bubble see this as a natural move for two opponants of Harper...I think it is a decisive, bold move (as long as it is limited to the Leader Elizabeth May)..nice change from the Martin days!

nbpolitico said...

The Green leader taking NDP votes in a riding where the NDP had finished a distant third with no chance of victory is not comparable to the Green leader running against an NDP candidate who finished a strong second in the last election.

NDPers who are willing to vote Green do so because they don't think their party has a chance, their party has a chance in Central Nova.

May seems to be trying to drum up PC support for her candidacy and if she takes some votes from MacKay and disgruntled Liberals vote NDP then it will be Layton not the Greens or Liberals who benefit.

I am not an old timer and I don't oppose deal making but this to me seems a bad deal. If the trade off was in Ottawa Centre or even a riding like Saanich-Gulf Islands then it would make more sense.

lance said...

anon: If tradition is so important then why did the Liberals strongly oppose May in London?

That would have been the by-election to support the tradition you speak of.


Anonymous said...


Good point, but Dion was not leader yet. On a related note, I heard MacKenzie King did something similar years ago but i have yet to find it...

Spinks said...

I can think of another word besides dumb nbpolitico...desperation. Maybe this is the new Liberal strategy, don't run against candidates you want to beat. Rona Ambrose, Stephen Harper, Bev Oda, Jim Flaherty, etc all not facing Liberal candidates next election. Yeah that will work.

This tradition of not running against a leader has happened in the past as anon pointed out but I'm pretty sure that's almost always been in byelections and always with leaders of parties who (let's call this what it is) had a seat in the House of Commons. I think the Marijuana Party leader is running somewhere next election too. Dion better abandon that seat as well and don't forget about the Canadian Communist Party and hey maybe the Rhinocerous Party will make a comeback. If they get a leader Dion better bail out of there too. We can come back after the election and see but this has backfire written all over it.

Brian in Calgary said...

Also, who wants to bet that a Liberal runs as an independent and finishes strongly.

I sure can see this happening.

Anonymous said...

What MacKenzie King did was not oppose former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen's bid to return to the House of Commons as Conservative leader (after he resigned from the Senate) in a by-election in Feb 1942. The ploy, however, was not to ensure Meighen's election but rather his defeat by the CCF candidate, J W Noseworthy -

YORK SOUTH (1942/02/09)
NOSEWORTHY, Joseph W. CCF teacher 16,408
MEIGHEN, Rt. Hon. Arthur Cons. lawyer 11,952