The Greens stand down in Labrador

Elizabeth May’s party wants to cooperate
Musician Sarah Harmer and independant MP Bruce Hyer look on as Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks during a news conference Tuesday Nov.27, 2012 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Elizabeth May announces that the Greens will not field a candidate in the Labrador by-election.

Elizabeth May announced today that the Green Party of Canada has decided not to field a candidate in the upcoming Labrador by-election and challenged the NDP to do the same…

The Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada has made the decision to step out ahead of nominating meetings of other parties to call for cooperation in Labrador. Peyton Barrett, Campaign Manager for George Barrett, the Green Candidate in the 2011 election, concurred, “At the grassroots level, we agree that cooperation can work in exceptional circumstances and when it is in the best interest of voters.”

This is what Ms. May suggested the Greens would do if a by-election had been called in Etobicoke Centre as a result of the dispute between Ted Opitz and Borys Wrzesnewskyj. As I noted at the time, there’s not really any precedent for such a move.

Via Twitter, Ms. May says the Labrador Greens wanted to do this and, as in Etobicoke Centre, points to questions about the integrity of the election as a reason for doing so. She also says she offered “cooperation” in the Calgary and Victoria by-elections.

The Greens took 1.3% of the vote in Labrador in 2011 (although, if those votes had gone to Liberal Todd Russell, he’d still be the MP right now).

Update 1:54pm. In a release from her Liberal leadership campaign, Joyce Murray says she approached Ms. May and proposed the idea.

“When news broke that a by-election was imminent following the resignation of Peter Penashue, the Harper Conservative MP forced to resign last week due to an election financing scandal, and in light of the 2011 results in Labrador and Stephen Harper’s attempt to stack the deck in Penashue’s favour, I called Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and asked her to consider having the Green Party EDA not run a candidate when the by-election is called. She immediately agreed to discuss the unique circumstances of this riding with the Green Party’s Executive Council and today we see the result: the Green Party has announced that it will not run a candidate in the Labrador by-election,” said MP Murray. “I am solidly on the record supporting local level electoral cooperation to elect progressives and defeat the Harper Conservatives. In this instance it is abundantly clear that the progressive candidate with the greatest ability to do that would be the Liberal candidate and not the Green Party candidate.”