Buzz May

Remember when Buzz Hargrove said Stephen Harper was so bad Quebecers should consider voting for the Bloc Québécois instead? Here he is again, in a lovely spring smock:

“Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada, says she’s ready to contemplate a strategic debate with the three opposition parties in Ottawa to work out new forms of electoral co-operation to block the re-election of Stephen Harper’s party.

“She would even be ready to imagine a strategy which is being discussed by some environmental groups, which would consist of calling in every region on people who are aware of the environmental stakes to put aside their party preference at the next election to support, in each riding, the candidate likeliest to beat the Conservative if the latter has the slightest chance of winning power.

“…She wouldn’t hesitate to make strategic alliances with the Bloc Québécois, as she admires the rigorous work of several of their MPs, even though she does not share their vision of Canada’s future.

“Elizabeth May particularly fears the NDP will do as it did in the last election and open fire on Stéphane Dion’s Liberals, rather than on the Conservatives.”

This strategy makes perfect sense if you’re a Liberal or a Bloquiste. In the overwhelming majority of ridings in Canada in the next election, the Conservative candidate will have “the slightest chance” of winning the riding. And in the overwhelming majority of those ridings outside Quebec, the best-placed non-Conservative will be a Liberal. In Quebec, the best-placed non-Conservative will usually belong to the Bloc.

In the stated opinion of the Green Party leader before the campaign even begins, it is pernicious for Green candidates to continue their campaign past the first local public-opinion poll. “I don’t want to be the Ralph Nader of Canadian politics,” she says in the Le Devoir interview. Ralph’s obligation, in her view, was to pull out before election day. In three-way races the only way to avoid being Ralph Nader is to be absent.

None of this is a surprise. Dave Chernushenko, who ran against May for the Green leadership, made this point the cornerstone of his campaign: do Green candidates have a right to stay in the race in every riding, including those where the outcome is uncertain? He knew that in the last election, May had campaigned, not for the Greens but for the “Think Twice” campaign, which was all about voting to stop the Tories.

He lost. She’s consistent. Best of luck to you, Greens. You’ll need it.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.