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?
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.