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elizabeth may

There are petitions going around urging Justin Trudeau to appoint Elizabeth May as Environment Minister.

I think that’s a terrible idea. Here’s why:

After a decade of Stephen Harper’s “war on science”, we finally have a government committed to returning to evidence-based decision making. Trudeau wants to bring back the long form census. He wants to make scientific committees independent again. He’s committed to bringing knowledge and scientific literacy back into public policy.

Elizabeth May and the Green Party, on the other hand, are a fringe party with a strong fringe lunatic contingent. Yes, they’re shiny and feisty people are prone to like them, and May in particular.

But when you chip away at the surface a little bit, you discover that this party supports or has supported all sorts of The Crazy: Anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, worried about cell phone radiation, pro-public health coverage for “alternative” medicine such as naturopathy or homeopathy. It goes on and on:

“After reading the above, I suppose what follows is less of a shock, but it’s still pretty bad. The following points are all part of the Green Party’s health care platform:

Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture. (p. 68)

We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices. The Green Party of Canada recognizes the value of good health as a fundamental human right, and also the key to the most vibrant, inclusive and sustainable Canadian society possible. (p. 71)

Expand healthcare coverage to include qualified complementary/alternative health professionals such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, and dietitians. (p. 73)

And sure, the above was from their 2011 platform. Since then, the Green Party has backpedaled on some of that nonsense. But not all of it. Which makes sense when you consider that it’s a fringe party, and has to pander to its fringe base for votes. If the party were to grow to become more mainstream, it’s likely that the fringe element would be calmed. But that’s not enough.

I want someone as environment minister who finally is going to make real, evidence-based policy decisions about the environment and fight climate change based on actual science. There’s just no room for woo in this job.

While I applaud the spirit of reaching across the aisle, I think Elizabeth May is wrong for the job. I’d think she was wrong for the job if she were a Liberal, too.

In my opinion, someone like Stephane Dion would make a terrific environment minister. There may be other places where Trudeau could reach across the aisle. But please don’t do it at the expense of science.

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High-ho, high-ho, it’s election time again in Canada. And it sure does feel an awful lot like 2008:

  • 4 out of 5 of the party leaders are unchanged. Only Iggy is new this time around, though his post-election political days are probably as numbered as Stephane Dion’s were.
  • The party positions and platforms are largely unchanged since 2008 as well, at least on the big issues.
  • Elizabeth May is once again angry about being excluded from the debates – and, like last time, I predict she’ll probably get her way.
  • Jack Layton is still sporting his used car salesman ‘stache.
  • The Tories are once again sitting in comfortable minority-government territory, at once unlikely to lose and unlikely to form a majority.

So remind me again why we’re going to all this expense and trouble?

I would love to see the Tories get the boot. Between the long-form census debacle, the convenient-for-Harper prorogation of Parliament, corruption scandals, arts funding cuts, attacking women’s right to choosesocial engineering in the guise of economic policy that punishes anything other than the “traditional” family values, and Harper’s megalomania, the reasons abound. I simply cannot believe I live in a country where we keep electing this party.

Unfortunately, the only hope for replacing the Tories, the Liberal Party of Canada, is still in shambles. Ignatieff’s personal popularity is fairly low (no doubt made worse by those horrible Tory attack ads), the vote-splitting on the left bolsters the NDP and Greens at the Liberals’ expense, and the Bloc is standing at nearly 50% popularity here in La Belle Province.

My vote, which I have no problem saying will be for the Liberals, is a wasted vote, since I live in Gilles Duceppe’s riding and unless he gets morphed into an alien and starts singing Vegas showtunes in the shower, he’s going to run away with it here. But I will still trudge out and cast my ballot – on my birthday, no less – even though I know it won’t do any good at all.

No, I’m not a huge fan of Michael Ignatieff. I liked Stephane Dion a lot better, even though he failed to rally widespread support. But I’d much rather have a party in power that I agree with ideologically on most points, as opposed to one that I believe is steadily taking the country in the wrong direction.

The CBC has launched a short but fairly accurate online tool to help you gauge your political positions vis-a-vis the major parties. Check it out. And make sure you vote, because if we’re paying for this pointless election anyway, you might as well get your voice heard.

(Even if I do sometimes wish I could vote for the onion ring.)

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The May effect?

10.15.2008

17. That’s the number of seats where the Liberal-Green combined vote total was higher than the vote total for the winning candidate. Of those 17 seats, 9 were won by the Conservatives. The remaining 8 went 5 to the Bloc and 3 to the NDP. Of course, it’s illogical to assume that all or even […]

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The English debate

10.02.2008

Well, it was lively and even funny at times. That’s all I can really say about the debate format that provided more of a chance for attack zingers than real reasoned debate. Still, I guess it made for good TV, since we were all glued to the screen for a couple of hours – the […]

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Something you don’t see every day

09.17.2008

Well, this is a new one, I have to admit: A politician apologizing for not smoking pot: “I am not a fan of marijuana use. I have to confess this — I know all politicians are asked. I’ve never used marijuana. I apologise,” said Elizabeth May. May’s Green Party, of course, calls for the legalization […]

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Unite the Greens?

04.13.2007

No, not a merger, just some limited cooperation. The deal between the Liberals and the Green Party that will see the Libs step back so that Elizabeth May can compete seriously for a seat, is, on the surface, a smart move for both parties. The Liberals have made it clear that, under Dion’s leadership, the […]

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