Thursday, April 19, 2007

Folding up the tent

A couple of notes on the news that the Green riding association in St. Catharines is considering dropping out of the race in order to support paleo-Lib Walt Lastewka.

First, it's worth contrasting the process being followed with that applied to the Axis of Ego deal. Whatever one thinks of whether or not the Greens should be abandoning what appears to have been relatively fertile ground in St. Catherines, at the very least the issue is being discussed publicly by the riding's grassroots members before the Greens commit to anything. And that more democratic way of making any accommodations makes the top-down impositions from Dion and May in their respective ridings appear all the less reasonable by comparison.

At the same time, though, it's worth pointing out that the Lib candidate doesn't appear the slightest bit interested in any kind of deal, while the Greens appear to be looking at an endorsement only with conditions:
Lastewka said Wednesday he has had no discussions with Fannon or other local Greens about the issue.

“Obviously anything that is a benefit to my campaign is not a bad thing, but I have not had discussions with anyone,” he said. “I am running on my record and on my experience.”...

“If Mr. Lastewka comes out in favour of proportional representation and pollution taxes, then I think he would get our endorsement,” Fannon said.
Remember again that even Dion didn't commit to anything approaching what the St. Catharines Greens appear to be demanding. Even if Lastewka wanted to commit to the Greens' terms, he'd still be subject to his own party's policies - which don't appear likely to fit the demand for support of proportional representation.

As a result, the Greens appear entirely likely to end up making a public declaration of their willingness to bow out without actually securing a deal. And that would presumably be nearly as much of a boon for Lastewka as a formal endorsement.

Finally, let's note that the cloud of promise-breaking surrounding the Greens is only getting thicker. It's sad enough that Elizabeth May plans to make Peter MacKay's false promises at the final PC leadership convention into an election issue even after herself breaking a clear leadership promise in cutting her deal with Dion. But now, the Greens are plainly putting themselves in a position to have a deal broken by the other side - much like David Orchard whose outrage the Greens are apparently trying to draw on.

After all, if the Greens decide to bow out based on a Lib promise as to their future policy positions, the Greens will lose any real ability to enforce the deal as soon as candidate registration ends in the riding - to say nothing of how powerless they'd be to dictate Lastewka's actions if he were to be elected. And if the Greens really are naive enough to think the Libs can be trusted unconditionally, then they'll only deserve the complete disillusionment that's coming to them.

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