Stunts failed

As I mentioned last post, the Green Party of Canada has been doing its best to get “into the picture” and be relevant to Canadians.

A few months back, Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion came up with a “deal” that she would run against Peter MacKay and the Liberal party would run no one against her to help her win in Nova Scotia. Whether that works or not is a different story. Personally I think she’ll fail.

Just recently, a former Liberal (booted out of Dions supposedly “democratic” caucus) joined the Green Party to make history and be the first official Green Party MP in the House of Commons.

These stunts were pulled off with the intention of getting Elizabeth May in the leaders debate in the present Federal election campaign. Thats all it was…a couple of stunts to “raise awareness”.

Problem is, it didnt work. The broadcasters in charge of the leaders debate said, no Green Party. Supposedly 3 of the 4 party leaders said “HELL NO” to Elizabeth May. NDP Leader Jack Layton, said nothing. Bloq…same thing. Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper was a bit more direct than others by saying that given the “deal” between May and Dion, the Green Party is just another version of the Liberal Party…and shouldnt be included in the leaders debate.

Id much rather have a discussion about the environment without all the BS and the tree huggery that goes on. Instead Elizabeth May has turned the GP of Canada into a joke, deal making party instead of the option it should be for Canadians.

The Green Party is missing something. Its missing a leader that can sell environmental issues to business. No one wants to be preached to. No one wants to be told what to do. Thats what the current leadership of the Greens does.

The message the GP of Canada has is important and needs to be heard. But it doesnt have to come at the expense of tricks and smoke n mirrors. If people would sit down and read what the GP of Canada has to offer they’d read that there are more to the GP than environment. Theres tax issues that need to be discussed. Incentives for businesses to help them move towards a better policy.

Jim Harris started this upward swing towards legitimacy. Too bad the party took a step back with Elizabeth May. As a business person, if you say something that makes sense, both environmentally and fiscally, Im going to listen. Elizabeth May, however good her intentions, fails miserablely.

Green Party Stunts

Its hard to ignore these past few years. You see it in almost every commercial on TV. Its on every piece of material we get in the mail. RECYCLED this or GREEN that. Its now a part of our every day life.

Halton lawns are lined with the green bins every trash day with more and more people taking part in it. The question is how many but as far as I can see in Hawthorne Village, the participation rate is quite high.

Its even moved to politics now with the Green Party of Canada getting more and more noticeable as a federal election gets closer. Many years ago when someone brought up the Green Party ones thoughts would move to someone wearing sandals, long hair and a pony tail carrying a SAVE THE PLANET sign like someone straight out of the 60’s.

Not any more. Jim Harris took the Green Party from the fringe status and made it a household name. Combined with societies change to environmental awareness, we are now hearing about the Green Party with every political poll and hearing of the growing amount of support.

A couple of years back, Elizabeth May took over as leader and well…something changed. Some for the good and some for the bad.

Having a woman as leader of a federal political party never hurts. I’m sure she wasn’t chosen leader because of her gender as only hearing what she has to say proves she knows her stuff. She has continued where Jim Harris left off in raising awareness of the Green Party and what it stands for in the eyes of Canadians. Some have said that Jim Harris legitimized the Green Party sounding more like an accountant than someone talking about the environment. Many of the Green’s policies sound like they belong in the Conservative Party platforms as they discussed tax cuts for using environmentally friendly products.

Can May bring her party to that next level? The level of where each of the candidates in all the ridings could be taken seriously with that MP qualifications. Sadly many of the GP candidates in ridings are volunteers with no real desire to serve in the House and whos job is mainly to raise awareness of the Green Party.

The only problem is the stunts they’ve had to pull off to get even more notice.

Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion had made an arrangement where as if she herself runs in a Nova Scotia riding (against former Conservative leadership candidate and now cabinet Minister Peter Mackay) the Liberals would NOT run anyone against her. This would ensure May gets the advantage of not running against the GREEN SHIFT directly and almost making it a 2 horse race. That’s like taking one of the favourite horses from a race and then calling it fair.

If they were looking to become legit in the eyes of Canadians, let them stand in a fair race and may the best candidate win.

As many pundits have pointed out, the strength of the Green Party is not out east; its not in central Canada. The strength of the Green Party lies in the west. Out in BC the Green Party out polls the Liberals almost 2 to 1. As a strategist, that’s where I would put my strongest chance at a seat in the House of Commons. Having a Green MP makes it impossible to ignore. They would be part of every leaders debate in a federal election and their voices would be heard. Some would argue that more people in a leaders debate is bad.

I mean 9 provinces and 3 territories have to listen to a leader (BLOQ) that they cant vote for…so why crowd the stage because they poll high. When they start getting elected to the House of Commons, THEN we can put the leader in the debate. Thats a discussion for another time.

The fact is that if a political party is represented in the House of Commons, they should be represented in the leaders debate. This leads me to stunt #2.

Recently former Liberal MP Blair Wilson crossed the floor to join the Green Party after leaving the Liberal party due to some election finance issues. Apparently he didn’t appoint an official agent before raising funds and incurring expenses. Its something that most people running for office would know if they were paying attention, but alas he didn’t and while under investigation from Elections Canada he quit the Liberal caucus until it was over. Quoted in an article back in July his first priority was to rejoin the Liberal party and get re-elected in his riding.

That didn’t last long as Elizabeth May and the Green Party woo-ed him over. So fast that he hasn’t been able to change his website yet www.voteblair.ca

Now from July 20th until recently, Blairs priority was to re join the Liberal party. What changed? Did political opportunism rear its ugly head and change his mind? Having someone cross the floor to the Green’s isn’t a new idea seeing as recent as a few years ago, former CPC now Liberal MP Garth Turner even considered joining the Green Party.

Does the Green Party need this kind of stunt to be “relevant” in Canadians eyes? Can the Green Party take that next step without the help of political arrangements and floor crossings to get its message out?

The message is out there beyond a shadow of a doubt. Now in many cases you can lose business if your company isnt green enough for consumers. Hybrids, eco friendly this and that, recycle, green bins, composting, carbon taxes. The Green Party can be relevant if it only stuck with what got it to the dance…policies and awareness. Will they win a seat in the upcoming election? Maybe not. Will they be on the minds of voters as we head to the polls in October (maybe)? You bet they will.

Maybe they need a few more steps in the evolution of a political party to get them to that next step. Jim Harris took them to point A…Elizabeth May has taken them to point B…who can take them that next step to having their first ELECTED Green MP in the House of Commons.