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The May-Dion alliance

Much has been written already on this topic elsewhere… too many blogs numerous to link to. All good blogpostings however, on both sides of the argument from all different political points of view, both internally in Liberal blogging circles and externally. I would not do a lot of them justice by linking to some and not to others, so I’ll just say go read the Progressive Bloggers front-page if you want to see the wide range of views on this.

I’ll say this though – I’m going to keep my “Progressive Blogger” hat on and say that if this had occurred before I’d joined the Liberals in December, I’d be saying then it was a great move – and so I saying so now shouldn’t be interpreted as somehow being a Dion loyalist.

If not running a Liberal candidate against Peter “where’s my dog” McKay helps May to win and evicts him from the riding, then I wont think a second about the claim we aren’t somehow a national party just because we now only have candidates in 307 ridings.

McKay has been winning due to a split in the progressive vote in this riding.. so I’m all for consolidating the opposition votes against him to kick him out. I dont know if the NDP is as willing to do this, since a lot of Green support has been at their expense.. but it’d be nice to see a slightly “weaker” candidate there then what they’ve been running in prior years to further consolidate the opposition to Mckay.

UPDATE/EDIT: To repeat what I said in comments to a rather cynical poster.. even if this move drives more votes to the NDP candidate – as he claims will happen with this move – I’ll still say I’m fine with that as long as McKay is defeated. I realize that makes me a bit of a Liberal heretic, as I find there is a strong current in the Liberal blogging community and Liberal Party of hating the NDP more then hating the Conservatives (which I find amazing/amusing), but to me, the end justifies the means.. so if May cant win.. I’ll take an NDP victory there as the next best option.

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37 comments to The May-Dion alliance

  • Sarah

    I really like Peter McKay. He is a decent, hard working member of Parliament.

  • Don

    Sad commentary that the ‘national governing party’ of corruption and incompetence has become so weak that they have thrown in the towel and admitted they cannot beat McKay.

  • It is a mistake to apply the percentage shifts of one riding and one by-election to another riding and a general election without qualification, but it is true that the Greens do tend to grab votes from individuals who wouldn’t vote otherwise, as well as votes from all other mainstream parties.

    There’s no guarantee that every single Liberal in Central Nova will back May, but that could be more than made up from votes grabbed from the Conservatives and the NDP. It would be mistake to assume that May will win the riding, but it would be just as serious a mistake to assume that she *can’t* win it. We simply won’t know until election day.

    Another scenario is that a significant number of Liberals shift over to the NDP, in order to express their traditional disdain for the Conservative incumbent, and also to diss the deal. This could be enough to put the NDP over the top and that result suits me just fine as well.

  • Cool Blue

    “how much out of her weight category is Elizabeth May, the leader of a party that gained just 4.5% of the vote and no seats in the previous election, in convincing another leader to this sort of alliance?”

    I think it speaks more of the desperation and poor leadership of Dion than any accomplishment by May.

  • I’m late to this thread party, but wanted to say, Scott Tribe, I like your moxie. I will join you in predicting that Junior MacKay goes down. (in a purely political sense, of course…:)

  • Tony

    saskboy Says:
    “CB you’re going to be way off since May will get at least 20%, as London-North Center demonstrated”

    It would be a fatal mistake to make that assumption in a riding in which only 1.5% of its voters chose the Green Party in last year’s federal election. The London-North Center has very strong Green support and Central Nova does not, so it is ludicrous to suggest that Elizabeth May will get at least 20% of the vote.

  • Tony

    Looking at the numbers from the 2006 election in Central Nova riding.

    Tories – 2006: 17,134
    Liberals – 2006: 10,349
    NDP – 2006: 13,861
    Green – 2006: 671

    So if all the Liberal support goes to the Greens, which is impossible, they will still be approximately 7000 votes behind. There is no way Elizabeth May will win that riding.

  • Tony

    “McKay has been winning due to a split in the progressive vote in this riding.. so I’m all for consolidating the opposition votes against him to kick him out.”

    That is a very week argument for a number of reasons.

    If you examine Elizabeth May’s and the Green Party’s philosophy, you will quickly discover that they agree on very little apart from the environment, so I would not classify the Green Party as “progressive” based on its platform. In fact, many of its ideals and beliefs are more conservative than progressive. So by not running a Liberal candidate and backing Elizabeth May and her Green Party, you are in fact weakening and nor strengthening the progressive votes in Central Nova.

    Also, many Liberal supporters that supported Chritien in 1997 and 2000 elections, know that many of the seats he won in those back to back majorities resulted from a split between votes among the PC/Reform parties and the PC/Alliance parties, but I never heard any Liberals saying that Liberal MPs who won under those circumstances did not fairly win their seats fairly because of that split.

    Thirdly, just because you classify a party as progressive, it does not mean that they necessarily agree in the same things. There are major differences between the Liberals and NDP, and many of the supporters of the NDP would never vote for the Liberals “under any circumstances” and vice versa. That being said, if you add the votes of the Liberals and NDP candidates in the ridings that the conservatives won and the total was more than the victorious candidate, it does not in any way makes the wining party’s victory illegitimate or unfair as you seem to imply with Peter McKay’s victories.

    Also, there are not many ridings in which the MP that wins it, wins by more than 50%. And what about the socially conservative liberals? Are you saying that if one of them runs in a riding, we should not support him or her and vote for the NDP candidate instead?

    And what about those Liberal voters and grassroot supporters in Central Nova that worked tirelessly to increase the Liberal profile and nominate a Liberal to run in the next Federal election? Were they consulted? Is it fair to them to deprive them of their right to vote for a Liberal candidate in their own riding? What about the principle of voting for the party that you believe in? Are we to throw that out of the window just because we want to get rid of an MP?

    Here is what some of those Liberal voters in Central Nova think about the descsion.

    http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/637041.html

  • Here’s the link: http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/1254

    A direct quote: “Central Nova is now a winnable riding for us see blog Elizabeth’s decision to run in Central Nova is a Brilliant Strategic Move: a Dozen Reasons at http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/1241 here — applying the vote splits that occured in the London North Centre by-election I showed how Elizabeth would place second behind MacKay, the Liberals third and the NDP fourth. But with the Liberals not running and and redistributing those voters who have voted Liberal, Elizabeth can win.”

    Of course there are people in the Liberals and in the Greens who won’t like this arrangement, and I can’t really see what the upsides are for the Liberals, but for the Greens, this is a significant achievement. We talk about the NDP punching above its weight, how much out of her weight category is Elizabeth May, the leader of a party that gained just 4.5% of the vote and no seats in the previous election, in convincing another leader to this sort of alliance?

    Most of that 4.5% came from voters who, while they care about the environment, care more for saying that their vote for the mainstream parties — Conservative, Liberal, NDP — are wasted. And this is the market that Elizabeth May is appealing to, who previously believed that there’s no one else to vote for.

    As I said on my blog,]\that sentiment has been inaccurate for some time, but the smaller parties haven’t had a loud enough voice to tell voters that. Until now.

  • Cool Blue

    “Jim Harris still supports Elizabeth May.”

    Did he say that today? If so I’d like to see a link.

    However, my point wasn’t if Harris said that he supports May or not. Of course he’s gonna say that because he doesn’t want to destroy the party that he built.

    My point was that his own party pushed him out because he was seen as being too close to one of the “old parties”. Now May has gone one step further and become a defacto candidate for the Liberals and endorsed Dion for PM. She’s turned the Greens into a sub-group of the Liberal party.

    There is gonna be a revolt. Already last month the Greens lost a candidate over this and as I said, their Enviro critic threatened to resign if May “got closer” to the Liberals.

  • Jim Harris still supports Elizabeth May. The blue greens are still welcome in a party where Elizabeth May is seen as a red green.

  • Cool Blue

    “she has still become the most successful Green Party leader in Canadian history.”

    Make that the most successful Green Party LOSER in Canadian history.

    Read the rest of my comments. Mays actions will destroy the Green party. Their environment critic is already threatening to resign. If you thought the party infighting over Jim Harris was bad this will be nothing. Remember Harris was pushed out because he was SUSPECTED of being a closet conservative; now their new leader has come out and officially endorsed the Liberals (why was the GREEN party leader wearing RED today?).

  • I also predict that the Greens are gonna crash and burn (thanks to May’s poor leadership and the increase in media scrutiny). They will get no more than 5% nationally.

    If the Greens get 5% of the vote, that’s still higher than their 2006 totals. In this respect, even if May fails to topple MacKay in the next election, she has still become the most successful Green Party leader in Canadian history.

  • paul

    Scott said
    rest of dribble ignored.

    Gee Paul.. is it not busy up there at the bank for you to be posting stuff like this?
    —————–

    What are you…an anti-Banktite?

    rest of dribble NOT ignored

    —————————–
    Garth will win in Halton, by the way.
    ————————————-

    Nope…won’t even get the Liberal Vote

  • ALW

    MacKay ain’t gonna lose the seat. Because it’s not even a Tory seat. It’s a MacKay seat.

    But suppose he did lose it. So what? Stephen Harper will be smiling all the way back to 24 Sussex, because MacKay is the only guy who could conceivably give him as party leader in the forseeable future (as a Liberal, you will be familiar with such clandestine civil wars). So boo hoo!

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why progressives are targeting a weak link like Peter MacKay. Whoopty-do.

  • SWOntboy

    Uh- People London was unique. Remember that was a campaign with a pissed off NDP crowd and someone with no real history absolutely screwing up. Living in the area I was embarrased for the NDP activits who had a candidate that was only interested in renewing an old fight with Haskett. Voters were turned off by that and that drove the NDP and Conservative vote both down. Even with that the National Leader of the Greens couldn’t win. That should have been the real story, but of course the media is lazy and since they can’t conceive of something it’s a big deal when it happens.
    I was leaning Green but the more I see of May and this kind of stunt I gotta think I should rule out not just the Liberals now, but the Greens as well.

  • Cool Blue

    “If they decide to drift to May, then she has a chance to take it.”

    No way. Even if 100% of the NDP vote went to May, she still wouldn’t be higher than MacKay’s total vote in 2006.

    She would have to get 100% of the NDP vote(approx 13000) AND 50% of the Liberal (aprox 5000) vote to take down MacKay.

    Furthermore, people are basing this “May can win” on three assumptions:

    1) that Green support/votes will stay with her

    2) that Lib voters won’t go CPC

    3) that the Liberals in the riding won’t run a “liberal” candidate anyway without party approval

  • Mackay will probably win his seat, but I can definitely see a 3-way split going down. It will mostly depend on where the NDP votes flow. If they stay loyal, then Mackay wins. If they decide to drift to May, then she has a chance to take it. Alternately, if the Liberals flow NDP, they could take it. However, I still say it will be close, and that Mackay might benefit from the split vote to hold on.

  • Cool Blue

    “McKay will certainly not increase his percentage of vote.. its been going DOWN the last 2 elections.”

    Percentage slightly yes, however his total number of votes has been increasing.

    And as a minister of the government party, it is more likely that they will continue to increase because he is in one of the only two parties who can form government.

    Mark my prediction down, in Dec. 2005 I predicted that Martin would step down after the election and Dion would be the next leader. People though I was nuts.

    May will come in third with around 15%. Her remarks on anti-abortion and the how Canadian voters are “stupid” will be brought up; she wanted greater media attention, she’s gonna get it (with help from the NDP).

    The story in this riding will not be May VS MacKay but NDP VS Green. If May REALLY wanted to knock of MacKay she would endorse the NDP in that riding. The NDP is sure to make this riding a national priority now; they see this move by May and Dion as more of an attack on the NDP than on MacKay. Why do you think Layton has already held a press conference on this?

    I also predict that the Greens are gonna crash and burn (thanks to May’s poor leadership and the increase in media scrutiny). They will get no more than 5% nationally. May’s message of “environment before all else, even to the point of supporting another party” will turn off people who voted Green out of protest and may actually encourage Green voters to vote NDP or Lib. The Green party depends on the vote subsidy to survive so losing those votes will set them back years. It is possibly that May will be pushed out of the leadership, or may cause a split in the party. I expect there environment critic to resign as he has threatened to do recently.

  • Its a stretch to compare the by-election in London, ON with a national election in rural Nova Scotia. Historically by-elections are horrible indicators of how the national/provincial election will fair.

  • Paul said:

    [quote comment=”3294″]Dion should not run a candidate in Halton. With Garth there, it is unlikely they will win there either. Trade it up for a sack of potatoes or something, so he can at least get something for it and not have to spend campaign funds.[/quote]

    …rest of dribble ignored.

    Gee Paul.. is it not busy up there at the bank for you to be posting stuff like this?

    Garth will win in Halton, by the way.

  • Cool Blue: you’re dreaming.

    Whatever happens. McKay will certainly not increase his percentage of vote.. its been going DOWN the last 2 elections.

    Prediction right now from me:

    McKay loses his seat.

  • Cool Blue

    This riding isn’t the same as the London riding byelection.

    London was a riding where it was Libs VS NDP as the two main parties, in this riding the main opponents are CPC VS NDP.

    London was an urban riding; CV is rural.

    London had a huge university vote; CV doesn’t.

    London was a by-election where the Green party and its leader could focus all its effort; in CV the party resources will be spread nationwide and May will also have to aid in a national campaign as well as her own.

    May will be in third place and MacKay will increase his percentage, possibly to over 50% of the vote.

  • paul

    Dion should not run a candidate in Halton. With Garth there, it is unlikely they will win there either. Trade it up for a sack of potatoes or something, so he can at least get something for it and not have to spend campaign funds.

    While we’re on a role, pull all of Alberta candidates out too. No use soiling the pristine “progressive” Liberal party by having to spend money on a lost cause in Neo-Con Land. The NDP can declare Dion to be the secon best PM available as a trade.

    Oh…and about the area surrounding Quebec city….a month’s supply of poutine from the Bloc Q anyone?

  • [quote comment=”3292″]That might be a possibility if Alexis MacDonald were running again, but since she’s not, May pretty much guaranteed MacKay a win by deciding to run there in the first place.
    [/quote]

    Well ID, I disagree, because if pattern holds true as it did in London-North-Centre.. then a large plurality of the NDP vote will go to May, which is what happened there due to a “weaker” candidate.

    Combine that with no Liberal candidate.. and the fact May has shown she can draw previously uninterested voters to her campaign.. as well as possibly taking some disaffected “red Tories” from McKay or others disgruntled with his performance and his prior remarks on Stronach… and I think May has a better chance of doing very well then you and some others are giving her credit for.

  • even if this move drives more votes to the NDP candidate – as he claims will happen with this move – I’ll still say I’m fine with that as long as McKay is defeated.

    That might be a possibility if Alexis MacDonald were running again, but since she’s not, May pretty much guaranteed MacKay a win by deciding to run there in the first place.

    Ah well. I still say a pre-election alliance is a TERRIBLE idea (although I’d support a post-election one). But there’s no law against bad strategy, so… *shrug*.

  • ian

    Was this a one off deal? What happens in the next election if May doesn’t get in.
    Why don’t ALL the leaders get together to divide up the Canadian political landscape?
    Oh right they do, its called an election.

  • ian

    There will be no Liberal candidate running in Central Nova.
    There will be no Liberal candidate running in Central Nova.
    Thank you to the Liberal Riding association for all your work we are not going to run a Liberal candidate next time.
    What a slap in the face for Liberal voters and Liberal workers.
    If May can not get elected without back room deals what does that say about her platform? perhaps too one dimensional?
    Where do you think Liberal voters will vote in Central Nova if at all?

  • colino

    “I think you’re engaged in wishful thinking.”

    Maybe so. However, over the years, the flow of voters has not been between the Liberals and the NDP. For the most part, when the Liberals are strong, the Conservatives are weak and vice versa. I don’t see that a lot of the electorate are particularly left leaning, but rather have seen both the Libs and Cons as being close to the center, if on different side of it, while the NDP is too far left to be palatable.

  • Colino:

    I would bet most Liberal voters are more inclined to reject Harper’s “step to the right” conservatives on social policy then not.

    Mckay is not a socon, for what else can be said about him. If you’ve read some Prog Blogs who are NDP inclined.. they dont view May as being a lefty either. I’d be surprised if Mckay gets more votes out of this move. In fact.. I think you’re engaged in wishful thinking.

  • CB you’re going to be way off since May will get at least 20%, as London-North Center demonstrated. The only question now is if the NDP will split the vote enough to make it a three way race. May has enough star power that once she’s perceived as the threat to MacKay, she will be the one to vote for but all those who want to protest the Liberal pullout. It will be impossible to reach those partisan voters in any case.

  • colino

    I think that this is a very odd thing for Dion and May to have done. I expect that a lot of Liberal voters will be turning not to the NDP or the Greens but to the Conservatives. In fact, in my view, the Liberals are making a mistake in giving the appearance of abandoning that portion of the Liberal electorate who have fiscally conservative leanings.

    I have myself voted Liberal in the because I had always seen the Liberals and Conservatives as complimentary to one another and more closely aligned with each other in terms of policy than either would be with any other party.

    That has changed. The conservatives have taken a step to the right in terms of social policy and the Liberals seem to be in a rush to look as left as possible these days. I think that the Liberals may find that they lose more than they gain by doing that.

  • Cool Blue

    If the Libs really want to unite the “progressive” votes then they should not run any candidates!

    Do you realize how many CPC MPs won because of the split between the Libs and NDP? At least half of them!

    I predict that 30% of the Lib votes will go CPC, 30% will go NDP, 30% will not vote and 10% will go Green….that’s assuming that an “independent liberal” doesn’t run in that riding.

  • Well DanL.. I’m going to be a bit of a Liberal heretic here (since the opinion in my party is almost more anti-NDP then anti-Conservative, amazingly enough to me) and say even if all this does is drive more votes to the NDP and helps them win.. then I’d still say it was a good move – the ends justifies the means as they say.

  • Greg, that’s with a candidate who isn’t going to run this time.

  • McKay has been winning due to a split in the progressive vote in this riding.. so I’m all for consolidating the opposition votes against him to kick him out.

    I love how this whole “progressive” argumentation goes. Watch as the Conservative, NDP and Green Vote totals go up, all the while the overall participation rate will most likely drop like a rock with discontent Liberals staying home. The Conservatives quickly learned that adding up the Alliance and PC totals, does not a strategy make. Personally I’d be hedging my bets on the NDP being the primary beneficiary of this, depending on how “progressive” Liberals are in Central Nova.

  • I dont know if the NDP is as willing to do this, since a lot of Green support has been at their expense..

    The answer to that would be no. And considering the NDP came in second place in this riding last time with over 13000 more votes than the Greens, can you blame them?

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