Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More politics, north and south of the 49h

As readers of this blog will know, I'm not particularly enamoured of the Green Party of Canada. Nevertheless, now that they have an MP in the House of Commons, I think it's only fair to let Elizabeth May participate in the TV debates. Whether she will be allowed to is still an open question; the party is threatening to go to court if necessary, which leads me to think that they are concerned.

The only possible basis for excluding them would be that Blair Wilson was not elected as a Green. That argument might have some substance, except for one inconvenient fact:
When questioned about the legitimacy of Wilson's seat as a Green, given he was elected as a Liberal, May countered that the Bloc Québécois was included in the national debates prior to 1993 federal election, despite none of the candidates being elected as Bloc members.
Whatever you think of the Greens, or of floor-crossers, it would be hard to justify excluding May from the debate.

As a side note, which party do you think would have the greatest interest in keeping May out? The NDP? Bloc? Liberals? Think again:

Harris's remarks come as the federal Conservatives are seeking to block May from the debates, citing a deal struck by May and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion where they agreed not to run candidates against each other in their respective ridings.

"You can't have one leader onstage that has already endorsed the candidacy of another and signed an electoral co-operation agreement," Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said.

The thing is, while widely perceived as left of centre (and some of their policies do fit that description), the Greens have a significant following among the dissatisfied right as well (don't forget that both May and her predecessor, Jim Harris, have had ties to the PCs in the past). As well, a lot of their supporters may be people who wouldn't otherwise vote. So if May makes a good impression on those folks, she could do harm to the Tories. Alternatively, if she makes a bad impression on left-leaning voters, or even fails to differentiate the Greens from the other parties on environmental issues (quite possible, since the parties' policies are pretty similar in that regard) those folks might be less likely to vote Green, and more likely to vote NDP, Bloc, or (ugh) Liberal, than they would if she wasn't in the debate.

Turning to that benighted country to our south, no doubt you've all heard by now that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, and that she hasn't exactly received the kind of media coverage that the Republicans might like. It's unfortunate that a disproportionate amount of the attention has been on her daughter's pregnancy, but I guess that's the part of the story that makes good copy (as compared with, say, the fact that she supports teaching creationism in schools, that she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and stuff like that). I guess it does help to highlight her stridently anti-abortion views, not to mention that she reportedly advocates abstinence-only sex ed. Still, I think those could have been pointed out without dragging her daughter into the mess. Incidentally, on this issue, wisdom sometimes comes from an unlikely source:

I've been watching the news all morning, like everyone else - and i keep hearing about the issues related to 'teen pregnancy'- It's all related to Sarah Palin and her 17 year old unmarried pregnant daughter. Well, I think the real problem comes from the fact that we are taking the focus off of getting to know Sarah Palin and her political views, and what she can do to make our country a less destructive place. Its distracting from the real issues, the real everyday problems that this country experiences.

I am concerned with the fact that Sarah Palin brought the attention to her daughter's pregnancy, rather than all world issues and what she believes she could possibly do to change them-if elected. I get Sarah Palin's views against abortion, but i would much prefer to hear more about what she can do for our country rather than how her daughter is going to have a child no matter what.

Maybe focus on delivering some words and policy with stronger impact like Joe Biden.

Thanks to writer in this babble thread for the link (come on now, you didn't think I've been lurking at Hollywood stars' blogs looking for tidbits like this, did you?)

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