Friday, December 14, 2012

Perils of the Progressives

Well, that might be a bit misleading.... it's not exactly clear that the Green party is progressive. But be that as it may, this whole "unite the left thing" might be running into some early problems. The CBC (and other outlets) are reporting that once Andrew Weaver got the nod as the Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate for the Greens, Michael Byers, a member of the provincial NDP (and former federal candidate) called him up and suggested it might be for the best if Weaver did not run, but instead might think about taking an ADM position in the expected ND government next spring.
Nothing really wrong with the phone call. After all, this kind of horse-trading is pretty much what progressives have been calling for federally. The question is, was the offer a bribe (as Weaver characterized it) or more of a carrot or inducement (as Byers characterized it)? If you remember, the federal Conservatives were accused by Chuck Cadman's widow of having offered a seven figure "inducement" to get the terminally ill Mr. Cadman to cross the floor and shore up the Cons minority-status government.
The Conservative offer was never taken to court, but cash is always considered a bribe. The opportunity to serve and influence government policy, however, is considered fair play in the political jungle. And why not? Power and policy are the goal of parties and candidates, and the process can allow a party to shore up policy areas that are a little thin with out-of-party help. But a position cannot be guaranteed to an opposition candidate who then agrees to drop out or run a poor campaign.
So why has this little chat come out in the media? I suspect because it offered Weaver and the provincial Greens an opportunity to present themselves as making the NDP nervous. There's nothing better to make your party look like a contender than some twitchiness on the part of another party. Just ask the BC Conservatives, who were bleeding hard right support from the provincial Liberals--at least until they imploded.

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