That time when I met Elizabeth May

This week I also met Elizabeth May. The leader of the Green Party was in high spirits that day despite Garth Turner’s betrayal of everyone (conservatives, constituents, May and the Greens) just a few hours earlier. Turner campaigned for May in London North Centre, teased us all by telling us that he was considering “going Green”. He even turned his back on his constituents, which during a townhall in Halton, about 1 in 4 told Garth to go Green while not one told him to go Liberal.

Anyway, this post is about Elizabeth May. Unfortunately, we didn’t have too much time to chat.

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It would be interesting to see May in a debate with party leaders during an election. However, should a party have at least one elected (or sitting) MP in order to have such a platform? What is your opinion?

If I remember correctly, Reform was allowed to debate only after Deb Grey won a by-election. If Turner had gone Green, he would have been a sitting, yet unelected Green MP. What should the threshold be? Also, consider that the laws governing the identity of a “party” have changed since 1989 when Grey became the first Reform MP.

You’ll find Liberals advocating that May should be allowed to debate because the Green vote is thought to cut into NDP support. NDPers thus are less likely to support the idea. Since Conservatives are depending on the NDP to split the left, they’re more likely to support the NDP position.

What may be certain though, is that we ought to have clear guidelines for Green Party inclusion in a televised debate.

BUT… this brings us to another topic to consider. The national networks are largely in charge of debate format and the participants invited and their decisions are largely subjective and outside of parliamentary review and jurisdiction. If a debate were held in a different forum (and medium — say… online) who would accept an invitation to debate and on what terms? If Harper, Dion, Duceppe and May accepted an invitation, would Layton turn down the opportunity to debate?

Is there such thing as an “official” debate?

Garth the Grit

Garth Turner just switched over to the Liberals.

A few quick notes

  • He’s Dion’s problem now

  • Doesn’t change the balance of power since Garth was independent
  • Garth should have gone Green Party if he believed in action on the environment instead of Dion’s fiction.
  • Another alpha personality who has a fixation on leadership lines up behind an unlikely man who isn’t one but has that title. That dam is going to break soon.
  • No more “will he or won’t he” speculation
  • from Garth’s townhall last year when he polled his constituents on what he should do:
    1. Resign your seat – zero

    2. Negotiate back into caucus – 17
    3. Join the Liberals – zero
    4. Go Green – 17
    5. Stay independent – 31
  • PromisesKept.ca – Page not found (and never launched past the “coming soon” phase)
  • Garth is releasing a new book in a few weeks. Sure to be a hot seller!

UPDATE: Blogging Tory RepoCreepo had advanced intel of Garth’s flirtation with the Halton Liberal riding association.

Chong resigns cabinet

They’re still sorting things out in Ottawa, but here’s what I’ve been able to scrape together from contacts on the Hill.

Michael Chong, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs resigned from cabinet today in a press conference after Question Period. Chong resigned rather than voting for the Prime Minister’s nation motion tonight.

The first sign of trouble was during Question Period when a Conservative MP rose to ask a softball question to Chong and Chong wasn’t there. Minister Cannon was seen to high tail it from question period to likely talk some sense into the junior cabinet minister from Halton Hills. Garth Turner, smelling blood in the water asked a question of the Prime Minister concerning Chong’s possible resignation from cabinet due to the nation resolution. The PM gave a dodge answer about the nation resolution and Bill Graham sought to clarify. Mr. Harper grimaced and said that “we’ll see who votes for the resolution tonight” (or something to that effect).

An embarrassing day for the government indeed. House leader Rob Nicholson had to get up in the House to answer Minister Chong’s question.

The London North Centre by-election is today and this issue, let alone the nation issue, will be on voters’ minds.

I hear that western Conservative MPs are outraged. It was toughest for them to accept the nation motion and now Michael Chong has given their constituents an inconvenient question to answer:

“Why didn’t you stand up against this nation resolution when an MP from Ontario did?”

The Conservative Party’s common front on this just met a wrecking ball.

The silver lining at the moment is that Chong’s still part of caucus.

UPDATE (6:59pm): Who will replace Chong in cabinet? There are a couple of possibilities. The PM will either spread Chong’s responsibilities to a current cabmin to shorten the news cycle on this embarrassing event. Or the PM will appoint an MP to cabinet.

I think that Peter van Loan would be a good choice.

UPDATE (8:57pm): Peter van Loan promoted to cabinet. MSM breaks this at 8:22pm. Maybe I’ll play Pro-Line this weekend.

Van Loan makes sense. Replace an Ontario MP with another Ontario MP. Van Loan’s also a highly experienced MP.

Something doesn’t add up

CP published an article yesterday that quotes Garth Turner’s recollection of a debate he had with Charles McVety of the Family Action Coalition.

Earlier this year, Turner took part in a TV debate with Charles McVety, an evangelical leader who has been a driving force in the fight against same-sex marriage.

The MP says there was a telling moment in that debate when McVety looked at him and said: “You know what? I can pick up the phone and call Harper and I can get him in two minutes. It’s going to take you a month.”

Turner paused.

“I think he’s right.”

Apparently the leader of the “Righteous Right” (as Garth calls him) was upset by this and published a press release just hours ago:

Canada Family Action Coalition president and Senior Director of Defend Marriage Coalition, Dr. Charles McVety is calling a quote attributed to him by MP Garth Turner “a figment of his imagination.”

The alleged statement, reported in a Canadian Press story November 26, was supposed to have been made during a televised debate between McVety and Turner. According to the CP story, Turner related that McVety looked at him
and said, “You know what? I can pick up the phone and call Harper and I can
get him in two minutes. It’s going to take you a month.”

“I never made this statement,” said McVety. “It’s a complete fabrication by Mr. Turner from start to finish. It’s really quite sad.”

McVety also expressed surprise that a respected journalist and news service would see fit to publish quotes attributed to him without verifying their authenticity.

“I’ve been interviewed by John Ward before as well as many of his colleagues at Canadian Press so they must have my cell phone number somewhere,” said McVety. “It is unprofessional for a journalist to not have interviewed me before reporting Mr. Turner’s yarn as fact. It seems a bit incautious.”

I can understand that any good person would want to clear up false information about events surrounding themselves and their acquaintances whenever possible.

Yet… Garth’s alleged falsehood isn’t exactly bad press for McVety. If I was a lobbyist, policy advocate, or political constituency representative, if some media magnet was going around and telling the press that I had the Prime Minister on speed-dial and could get our country’s leader on the phone in two minutes, clearing that up wouldn’t be exactly be on top of my list of priorities.

You think he’d wait at least until the weekend was over, or that he might write a letter to the editor.

But no, McVety sent out an urgent press release ($) late last night, just hours after that damaging story was published in order to clear up the horrible (horrible!) “fabrication”.

“Did you hear that Dr. Charles McVety can get the PM on the horn in two minutes?”

Wow, that would be impressive. If true, it would show that McVety has a lot of influence and this isn’t exactly damaging to his job function.

McVety should probably straighten out Garth’s “fabrication” if untrue, but he might wait until, oh say, someone cared enough to ask him if those rumours are true. Why go so far as to spend cash to clear this up?

Why is McVety so eager to clear the air?