Thanks to Calgary Grit, I’ve learnt that the Green Party has achieved its long awaited breakthrough. Thanks to a decision by Vancouver independent MP Blair Wilson (formerly of the Liberals), they now have a seat in the House of Commons.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May is welcoming MP Blair Wilson to the Green Party as the first Green Member of Parliament in Canada.
Mr. Wilson, MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, will serve in the Green Party Shadow Cabinet.
I got a chuckle over that last line. As the sole MP, wouldn’t he be the Critic of Everything? Actually, he’s only the Green’s Immigration Critic.
Given all of the election talk going around, it seems unlikely that the Greens will be able to sit in that seat before parliament is dissolved. And, as I recall, there is some process and bureaucracy to go through before an MP is recognized as representing a particular party after crossing the floor. So whether the Greens get to show one seat in their column at the time of dissolution of parliament remains to be seen.
Blair Wilson, it must also be said, may be damaged goods. He was forced out of the Liberal Party under a cloud, although investigations by Elections Canada cleared him.
Still, the move will get the Greens some critical media attention in a circus currently dominated by Harper and Dion, and it may even get Elizabeth May a podium at the debates. Preston Manning was able to grab a spot during the 1993 campaign, despite Deborah Gray being the sum total of his party’s caucus at dissolution. But, again, with this late conversion, rather than Gray’s early by-election win, will this be enough for the television networks to make the space available? I guess only time will tell.
Tone Deaf Republicans
It gives me no joy or anything to note that Hurricane Gustav may play havoc with the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week (link courtesy Allyn Gibson). All of this is to be expected when watching a possible tragedy unfold on the Gulf Coast, though I note that had more care and attentiveness been taken three years ago, the Republicans might not be blanching so heavily about possible comparisons.
Some of the steps taken at the Republican convention seem appropriate. Cancelling Bush’s speech to the delegates on Monday seems sensible given that this is when the hurricane is likely to hit. And toning down the festivities is a given. A more sombre occasion would, if done carefully, allow the Republicans to skate through the process with an increased respect from Americans.
So, it seems a little odd that John McCain should consider this:
McCain made plans to travel to a threatened area of the Gulf Coast on Sunday, accompanied by his wife, Cindy, and running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. They planned to meet Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) in Jackson, Miss., aides said.
McCain was scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday but now may do so from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.
Say what? This after Bush pulls firefighters off of duty during Katrina for a photo opportunity? Is he that tone deaf?
Then again, maybe he’s overcompensating…
(Update: 14:16): Further to my post above, somebody should remind John McCain that he is not the president yet. Unless he is travelling as part of a senatorial delegation sent by Washington to assess the damage, he is not helping.
Organizing such a speech is going to be busy work. It could well pull people off the line if he’s not careful. I understand the desire to do something in response to a potential disaster, but at this point the best thing McCain could do on Thursday is stay out of their hair.