Support journalism that lights the way through the climate crisis by June 3

Goal: $100k
$35,153

After taking a step back a couple of years ago, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May may be running for federal leadership once again.

May ran the party between 2006 and 2019 but resigned after she promised her daughter that year’s election would be her last race as leader. However, after a rough period of infighting and an unsuccessful federal election in 2021, the Toronto Star reported Thursday that May is planning to run as a co-leader with Jonathan Pedneault, who used to work as a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Canada’s National Observer reached out to May for comment. She said she can “neither confirm or deny” the reports until Aug. 31 when candidates are announced.

The Greens’ share of the popular vote went from 6.5 per cent in 2019 to 2.3 per cent in 2021, and former leader Annamie Paul’s resignation followed soon after.

Amita Kuttner has served as the party’s interim leader since November 2021.

The state of the party obviously requires rebuilding, said University of Prince Edward Island political science professor Don Desserud. Although it’s unusual for a leader who already stepped back to want to take the reins again, he said, since the party is so small, it’s less surprising.

“I would say with her case, it's probably that she did have that hankering to come back … most leaders have that in their blood,” he said.

The Greens have been criticized as a one-person party that needs to move on from May to let new leadership build its base. Although Desserud is unsure whether she will be successful in her race, he agreed that having a party defined by one member is “not healthy in the long run.”

“I can imagine the Green Party faithful saying, ‘Back when Elizabeth was at the helm, things were run in a coherent manner, and we were on the move, and we want to get back to that,’” he said.

Elizabeth May ran the federal #Greens between 2006 and 2019 but resigned after she promised her daughter that year’s election would be her last race as leader.

“That could be completely naive on their part. Maybe it wasn't like that at all. But it doesn't matter if, from their standpoint, it feels like this is a chance to start over.”

Keep reading

How can you say that May is "gunning" for the GP leadership? What is this "reportedly" based on? Has she even been nominated?

If, and I mean if she runs it would be the best thing for our country. She has integrity, works hard and has sound ideas on how to save our planet.

Even with the very intelligent and qualified Elizabeth May at the helm once again, the party has to change. They need to grow up and stop the embarrassing internal squabbling. They need start serious talks with the NDP about realizing the overlapping visions they have between themselves instead of continuing to fight a divisive partisan war while they are effectively on the same side. They need to run in ridings only where they have a chance of winning, and thus strike an agreement with the NDP to stop competing against each other in every riding in the land.

In Vancouver Granville the NDP candidate in the last election was an eminently qualified candidate in every regard, including a strong and experienced environmental advocacy, but lost to the Liberals by less than 500 votes. The Green candidate wasn't even close. I was forced to vote for the unqualified and ethically-questionable Lib candidate to keep the Conservatives from winning. It worked, but was still a letdown with respect to Trudeau's two-faced policies and weakness to face down his party's favoured corporate lobbyists, though there is some success on the climate and social policy files.

The Greens actually ran a fake candidate in a previous election with dodgy credentials (very little environmental cred ... real estate sales in Canada's most expensive city during a housing affordability crisis ... riding staff actively working for another candidate. That was a joke, right?)

Next time I hope to see the same NDP climate-fighting candidate on the ballot with NO Green candidate to take votes away from her. And I hope to vote my conscience. But if by some crack in the universe the climate denying, conspiracy theory espousing, social spending slasher Conservative Poilievre rises to within grasp of winning government, I will not hesitate to exercise a strategic vote once again to keep the barbarians out of office.

That will likely mean yet another Liberal minority government backed by a hopefully stronger NDP, and no Greens anywhere near real governing power.

It doesn't have to be this way. The best of all worlds would be a Liberal Democratic Green coalition government representing roughly 2/3 of the popular vote, with Elizabeth May as Environment Minister. Now THAT would be something to vote for. But it requires key politicos to talk to each other like adults.

Not sure that Alex was "forced" to vote for anybody.
If a mere 219 voters had voted NDP instead of Liberal, the NDP's "eminently qualified candidate" would have won.
Instead, timid progressives stuck with the status quo Liberals, fossil fuel expansion backed by the Big Banks, and climate failure.
Doing the same thing over and over again… Not a solution.

Alex's suggestion for a non-compete agreement between the NDP and Greens is a good one. As long as we are stuck with first past the post, this is the best way for NDP and Greens to advance.

The Greens are not just spinning their wheels, but going backwards. Going back to Elizabeth May is like the Conservatives going back to Stephen Harper. The Greens need to get their act together and move forward.

The last poll before the election indicated the NDP candidate quite far behind, too far to take a chance -- because the Conservative candidate was in second place. In addition, the polling wasn't as well published as the elections prior, so it was hard to judge where the momentum was. Anjali Appadurai (NDP) lost by over 450 votes (her words), a lot less than the loss by over 10,000 votes when the riding was first created for the 2015 election that saw Harper thankfully defeated.

Second guessing and playing the whataboutism game is so easy for armchair critics from other provinces who do not have to contend with competitive ridings where the Conservatives have a real chance of winning -- or being defeated. And the point about the cynical antics of the Green Party in previous campaigns was evidently lost in the finger pointing at strategic voters.

Politics is not black and white or about a single issue.

There is hope. Vancouver Granville's demographic is younger and contains more rental housing and a growing progressive leaning contingent than the rich parts of this otherwise mixed income riding that has been not far from a three-way competition. I see a real chance for Anjali to take it next time, barring unforeseen events. I would love to be a part of her success, but there is real wisdom in keeping the anti-Conservative strategizing effort in one's back pocket just in case, especially with the likely extremist turn they'll take under Poilievre.

As much as I respect Ms. May, I think that for her to even consider running for leader is a bad idea for so many reasons, not the least of which being that it would deny a younger candidate with new ideas to lead the party. Then again, given its policies, it really should at least consider merging with either the Liberals or NDP.

There is very little in common with the NDP. They allow cutting of ancient forests to keep the union happy. They subsidize foreign-owned LNG while pretending to care about the environment. The Health care in BC is in a total shambles thanks to the inept NDP. The Federal NDP says they are not connected to the Provincial wing but they share membership. The NDP cares more about power than it does about the environment, and the Liberals talk a good line but actions dont follow. Canada has increased its per capita emissions since Trudeau declared “Canada is back” in Paris. The Green voice is needed to keep these issues in front of the public and call out the hypocrisy. Hopefully they can regroup and refocus, whether under May or another leader.

Again, you present the usual argument that still amounts to the "narcissism of small differences." The narcissism includes Elizabeth May. If she wanted to go out as a true leader, she should use her considerable powers of persuasion to unite progressives.
It's all that really matters. Even the fractious right has figured that out, that first past the post reduces everything to numbers. Because they have is the main reason we are faced with Boilievre and the Cons at the gate. Aren't we supposed to be the smart ones here?

Criticize the BC NDP to your heart's discontent about old growth logging and LNG, but I take exception to your reference to the NDP as "inept" on healthcare. That comment is absolutist and could apply either way to genuine biomedical evidence and justified vaccine call outs and mask mandates, or lame anti-vaxxer sentiments.

Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry were at the top of their game at the height of each wave of the pandemic, and may have slipped only this spring as the pandemic and responding mandates took a toll on society. Do not even dare to blame Henry and Dix for the deaths in ICUs (still less than the national average over the course of the last two years, but brought on largely by unvaccinated and immune compromised individuals) and the loss of over 4,200 nurses and other healthcare professionals from sheer front line burnout. Calling them inept when most other provinces did measurably worse while the Canadian average pandemic death rate was one of the lowest in the developed world is, quite frankly, irrational, insults the nurses and doctors on the front lines and flies against the reams of published scientific material and professional opinions Dr. Henry consults on a daily basis.

May was criticized for dominating the Green Party. It couldn’t have been mathematical, could it? I mean, how can the party’s creator who held between 33% and, most of the time, 100% of the federal parliamentary caucus be too “dominating”? Still, you can’t argue with success or sarcasm neither: the party’s popular vote was much more robust with May at the helm than without her.

On balance, the party’s misfortunes rather stem from members other than May, and if she steps back in, it’s to save the party from those very members who, again owing to the dearth of them, can be quite over dominating themselves: you can’t argue with failure—even when some of these weenies think you can.

Still, May was getting too boring to vote for: after various electoral-systems referenda across the country in which proportional representation—the officially preferred system of both Greens and Dippers—was soundly rejected (in BC, three times in a row), each successive wave provoking more revelations of gross psephological ignorance, May just couldn’t resist raising this dead letter one more time—even when the dapper Dipper leader assiduously avoided this vote-killing yawner (the process, not the system) in the last two elections. I guess you can’t blame a party which has been stuck in mostly low single-digits for wanting its meagre share of strict proportionality, but it rather seems the Greens salad days of low single-digits was more about good old fashioned protest votes in the FPtP context.

Still, every cloud has a green lining: had other stupid internal squabbles and particularly nonCanadian, even nonenvironmental policy directives not distracted from the same old pro-rep rhetoric, the party might have composted itself altogether.

There is only one thing holding the Greens back: nobody seems to know the answer as to why, when environmental concerns tie with or top the economy, can the Greens not harness this sentiment. It is huge, but they are small; it is real, but they are unrealistic; it has a future, they, not so assured.

And, even if May can rocket the party back up to its zenith of —what was it?—ten percent?—there’s no reason to think from what we’ve seen so far that whomever she hands the mantle off to next time—if there is a next time—won’t fumble the ball once again. And, really, it’s a small, lightweight ball covered in tacky glue—how can any receiver miss? Well, we know more about that than the about Green party policy. Except, maybe, pro-rep…

The idea of begging for non-competition in select ridings doesn’t work for the workers’ party. We run full slates, point final. That’s entirely up to voters. It’s rather time for the Greens to stop whining and start winning.

Do what other Independent candidates do: find the riding issue which none of the official parties want to deal with, whatever it is. Do what the May already did: focus all riding associations’ resources on the one or two ridings where the Greens have the best shot at winning. It’s a simple fact—unrelated to electoral systems —that incumbency has its advantages—then build and learn, step by step, and maybe then a balance of power situation might transpire (although, in BC, that rather advantaged the NDP which, after winning a resounding majority, instead started protecting loggers and other resource workers—it’s longtime base). Rhetoric from the cap-in-handers simply doesn’t generate interest or trust.

Being a vessel for fringe issues, as laudable as they might be, simply doesn’t cut it.

I wish Ms May and the Greens well—even though I’ll remain a Dipper.

WRT the "soundly rejected" attempt at proportionality in BC elections, I would consider the 58% result for the Single Transferable Vote PR system as a winning vote, especially as the Citizen's Assembly process that recommended it was ultimately democratic and remained remarkably free from political interference.

That is, until Gordon Campbell set the referendum bar too high at 60%. This is after BC, several other provinces and the national government had experienced decades of majority rule too often with a minority of votes under FPtP. Those governments could and often did go on and do great damage, great good or great nothing with less than 50% -- sometimes less than 40% -- of the people's popular vote.

Minority governments are probably the next best thing to PR, but more mature societies build coalition governments with more than one party holding powerful seats at the cabinet table. These are parties that talk to each other like adults and are first to build on the overlap between the sets of principles and ideals they hold individually, and put away the kitchen knives some hotheads and bitter ideologues have strapped to their ankles.

The other referenda were too subject to political manipulation to be valid.

Two things: firstly, had the threshold been a simple majority (50%+1) in the first STV Referendum (instead of 60%), voters would probably have cast differently: one simply cannot compare or translate one type of contest with or to another; it’s the same way with the common—but commonly misconceived—comparison where an FPtP election result is directly translated to an hypothetical pro-rep: because voters would have assessed their preferences and, possibly, their tactical voting differently if a real pro-rep election was held, the comparison is basically very inaccurate —to the point of uselessness (except for making highly biased propaganda with the rather simplistic math). The subsequent second STV Referendum held just a few years later tends to corroborate: all things being identical in campaign propaganda, options and threshold terms as the first Referendum, if the 58% of the first was really so accurate, the second should have been nearly the same but, instead, it was nearly halved.

I’m no fan of the BC Liberals, nor of the process of picking an alternative system (the so-called citizens’ assembly which was basically a show-court of bumpkins led by the nose to select a predetermined result—STV—about which their Gordo-selected director had written a glowingly supportive book about), but I do agree with setting the threshold to some supermajority for important matters such as Campbell did at 60% (possibly the only thing of his I ever agreed with), a single decile higher than a simple majority. It removes the risk that a near-even split becomes a partisan political football —the exact opposite of what an electoral system should be, and obviously detrimental to the public trust elections need to have. I’m a lifelong Dipper but I strongly disapproved of the third Referendum (held under an NDP government) because the voting system (not electoral system) used, mail-in ballots, in conjunction with the simple majority threshold, risked arriving at a margin of difference between Yes and No votes that was smaller than the statistically expected margin of voter fraud always attendant with mail-ins. That would have likewise risked putting both how we vote and elect into the politically partisan arena, replete with two contending sides claiming legitimacy. There should be no sides when it comes to how we elect, only for whom we elect. As well, the two-term “test drive” option would have invited any subsequent party campaigns to promise to change the system used in the previous election on partisan grounds. Again, electoral systems must, by definition, be absolutely— seen and trusted—nonpartisan, impartial, and unbiased. No party should ever campaign to implement any psephological system (voting and electing) which it claims will advantage itself and disadvantage another party (or parties). That’s basic fairness and that’s a trust we can’t risk (just look at the mess tRump made in the USA: his instructions to distrust the election system is bringing the country to the brink of partisan violence).

So, firstly, every voter in the first Referendum knew the threshold was 60%; the result was less, fair and square. It cannot be in any way interpreted as a “win” for STV, and the subsequent Referendum showed that voters weren’t really ready to switch to STV, anyway—so it was a good thing the threshold was set that high. Also, always remember the big factor of turnout, which, in Canada, is optional. That 58% represented a much smaller proportion of the eligible electorate —less than 50%—when turnout is factored in. Supermajority thresholds ameliorate incomplete turnout to some extent—certainly much more than a simple-majority threshold does.

Remind that supermajority thresholds for important decisions are commonplace throughout history and around the world for things like constitutional amendments (66.7%) and juries (100%). Submajorities exist, as well: for recalls (40%) and proposed-policy review triggers (10%). Also remind that not everyone agrees with the obsessive 50%+1 rule where run-offs are required to arrive at a mandatory majoritarian parliament. Closely-run elections tend to encourage schism where government for all is what’s really needed.

Secondly: pro-rep isn’t the only system that produces minority governments. Horgan’s BC NDP government was a minority, even when voters elected the parliament under FPtP. Five of the last seven federal governments have been minorities. I don’t recall any of them putting away “kitchen knives” and talking to each other “like adults;” indeed, all of them have featured some of the most hot-headed, bitterly ideological intercourses in Canadian parliamentary history.

Finally, there are plenty of reasons why pro-rep is neither proportional nor representative precisely because the system almost never elects majorities. There might be a better case to make for pro-rep, but hung parliaments surely isn’t one of them.

The simple fact remains that voters have consistently rejected pro-rep during several references in the past decade and a half.

I do very much agree that too much partisan politics interfered with the review and referendum processes we’ve seen. IMHO, no government (all of which are composed of partisan interests) should be involved in such referenda but should, instead, delegate the review and, if warranted, option-selection and referendum-voting process to the relevant impartial, arm’s-length Electoral Officer; campaign propaganda for any option should be prohibited—it has been, in every case I’ve studied (most of them in Canada, and all three of them in BC where I personally participated) to be altogether misleading and wholly too biased to inform voters properly before they cast their ballots. I must say: pro-rep promoters were probably the worst offenders in this respect. Not the only ones, but the worst.

I always close by saying that while I personally prefer FPtP, I would accept any result of an electoral-systems referendum in which voters were properly educated about each and every option, where partisan interests are not allowed to interfere, where the decision is final so that the electoral system and elections-in-general never become the play-thing of political partisanship. I haven’t seen anything like that yet, but see no reason why these conditions can’t be met.