Point / Counterpoint: Does Elizabeth May know her shit?

Photo courtesy of HuffintonPost

Yes, she absolutely does!

By Tessa Perkins, Arts Editor

Any federal party leader who becomes Prime Minister of Canada has undoubtedly inspired millions of Canadians, but a truly great leader should inspire through hope instead of fear. They should represent the group they lead by listening to their concerns, and they should be honest, accountable, and principled. Canada deserves a leader like this. Canada deserves Elizabeth May.

May has been a Member of Parliament since 2011, and during her time there she has made quite an impression. She has twice been voted hardest-working MP by her colleagues, and she also won Best Orator in the Maclean’s 2014 Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. She is diligent, knowledgeable, and skilled at conveying that knowledge in an engaging way. Compare one of her speeches to one of our current Prime Minister, and you’ll see what I mean.

In 2014, May gave a TED Talk at TEDxYYC in Calgary titled “Canadian Innovation.” She mentioned that, while preparing for that event, she had been hard pressed to find TED talks delivered by other politicians. I think this is mostly due to the fact that most politicians have neither the innovative ideas worth sharing nor the ability to share them in an inspiring way. But Elizabeth May does.

Another quality every great leader needs is a good sense of humour. While being one of the hardest working MPs in the country, May also knows it’s important not to take herself too seriously. She recently joined Mark Critch on This Hour has 22 Minutes for a satirical interview that poked fun at the other party leaders talking over her in what he described as  “pipeline measuring contest.” Appearances like these show that she has a sense of humour to go along with her conscientious nature.

May is also the author of numerous books, including Losing Confidence and Who We Are. Unlike self-serving political biographies, these books deal with important topics such as the state of our democracy and Canadian identity. May understands our governmental system better than any other politician I’ve heard speak on the subject, and she is therefore in a good position to lead a government and respectfully uphold the institution. 

Finally, and probably most importantly, great leaders also know the value of collaboration. May is a strong advocate for putting aside our differences and working together across party lines in the House of Commons, and she has made many friends from all parties in the process. As she has said many times during this campaign, Canadians can achieve anything when we work together.

 

No, she definitely does not!

By Tamara Connor, Peak Associate

Canada has come to a crossroads. The past 10 years under the Harper Conservatives has led to the dismantling of Canadian democracy, social and environmental policy, and our most beloved institutions. We need a leader who has a plan to get Canada back on track, not  one who panders to voters, which is what May has done with her consistent claims that Greens are of a higher moral nature than other, equally partisan candidates.

I will say that at first I was quite taken by May; she is quirky, smart, and passionate. But these qualities simply don’t make you a qualified leader. My distaste for May partly stems from a single comment she made in October 2013: “I hope that we will be able to set aside partisanship for the good of the country.”

May has implied that the Green Party is immune to playing politics, and that they’re somehow ‘above’ partisanship. These statements are both untrue and misleading. The very act of campaigning against another candidate is playing politics. Crafting messaging to persuade voters is playing politics. Making campaign promises is playing politics.

Not to mention, no government could effectively govern if they weren’t able to play politics; it’s part of the job. So either May is completely ignorant of the necessity for every party to be partisan, or she is purposefully trying to mislead voters into support by falsely advertising herself as something that she is not.

The Green Party is running top-notch candidates in battleground ridings — as any partisan party should. If they were truly above playing politics they would not campaign as hard as they are. The fact of the matter is, in this election the Greens won’t form government, and likely won’t win more than a seat or two. They’re a grassroots party that is still establishing itself in our political landscape.

The best thing that could happen for the Green Party is an NDP government, as they are the only party that has had a clear and consistent stance on proportional representation. Proportional representation would help them grow as a party and give them more power.

But unlike what May has said, her party has not set aside its partisanship to help elect a government that will usher in a system that will benefit them and forever end the need for strategic voting. They say one thing, and do another.

May has been clear that in this election, we need to get rid of Harper. But campaigning so aggressively is jeopardizing the vote in several ridings where the NDP and the Liberals are neck and neck with Conservatives. So what happened to “overcoming partisanship” to oust a common enemy?

Her head is in the political clouds. Whether she is ignorant, a hypocrite or intentionally misleading voters, she isn’t ready to do the job.

SHARE

1 COMMENT

  1. Tamara’s cynical strategic voting is a big turn off for me. It makes her arguments sound disingenuous and her agenda seem loaded with UnCanadian values.

    We’re a parliamentary democracy. We elect Members of Parliament who are obliged to select the Prime Minister between them. We don’t directly elect our head of state — who remains the Governor General, an appointee of the Cabinet, not the Prime Minister.

    Could the 338 elected Members of Parliament choose someone other than the party leader of the largest party to be Prime Minister?

    Absolutely. As Officer of the Order of Canada, two time Parliamentarian of the Year, Hardest Working Parliamentarian, international diplomat of note, and the best-informed on Security, Law, Economics, Trade, the Environment and Safety, the only party leader I’d trust not to cause another Lac Megantic, another Brazeau-Wallen-Duffy-Wright-ONEX scandal, another 60% increase in the federal debt by giving gifts to foreign shareholders, another 20% drop in productivity, if they’re smart those 338 would choose May.