Monday, March 19, 2007

Elizabeth May Puts Party Before Self

After placing a strong second in a London by-election last fall, conventional wisdom had Green Party Leader Elizabeth May competing in a Green-friendly riding in the next election. So it was with some shock this weekend that pundits greeted her plan to challenge the Foregin Affairs Minister for a seat. May claims it's because she has a "personal connection" to Central Nova, Alexa McDonough calls it a "publicity stunt", and Globe gossip columnist Jane Taber labels it "crazy".

It is none of these. It is a shrewd political move to completely realign the Canadian political left. May's strength is her media savvy and the credibility to go toe-to-toe with the established party leaders, but she's no rain maker and she had a choice to make. She could have won a seat herself, becoming Canada's first Green Party MP, or she could elect several members, making the Green Party a player in a minority parliament. She could not do both. Elizabeth May has conceded her own defeat, but has freed herself to launch a full-court press to elect a meaningful caucus. By taking on Peter McKay, May ensures that the story on election night will be the Green Party breakthrough and not her personal failure.

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