As we go into the last few days of this campaign there have been many interesting subplots running through out it that have been hard to ignore. A big one of those has been the Green Party and if they were ready for prime time. Here at this blog I’ve listed many examples of how the Greens have managed to miss their opportunity, and as a result they’ve seen their polling numbers continue to fall while the NDP has had a big resurgence.
Through out this campaign one part of the Green’s failure has come to the vetting of candidates, the things about them that has come up and the unwillingness of leader Elizabeth May to punish or remove any of them. It’s left many to wonder what it would take for the Greens to finally remove a candidate and what act a Green candidate would have to take for that to happen. What would be an act too far for Ms. May? Well over the last couple of days we’ve finally seen an answer to this question and folks, it’s striking as can be. But first, we saw another bad story for the Greens coming out of Quebec about another vetting fail:
Four Green candidates in Quebec nailed for Islamophobic comments by the Journal de Montreal, and amazingly one of them is a repeat offender. Jocelyn Rioux was already nailed for his extremely questionable and offensive claims of being Indigenous, something that the Greens seemed to not have a problem with, as they didn’t toss him then. But if you thought that these comments would be enough to get any of these four candidates removed from the Greens, sorry you would be mistaken. Nope, the Greens accepted all of their “apologies” and are keeping them in place, including Mr. Rioux.
So that means that the Greens have kept candidates who have been shown, through their own words and actions, to be anti-choice, 9/11 Truthers, Islamophobic and questionably claiming Indigenous ancestry. None of those candidates are being removed, therefore having Ms. May’s tacit approval to be on her team. But yesterday finally a Green candidate was tossed. Yes, it actually happened. So what was this person’s major offense that brought about this decision? Well it’s revealing:
Yep, Michael Kalmanovitch, the Green candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona, was “removed” not only as a candidate, but had his party membership revoked, because he dared to back out and endorse New Democrat Heather McPherson. So let the record show that the Greens won’t remove all candidates who have expressed anti-choice sentiments, for making Islamophobic comments, for spreading 9/11 Truther craziness and trying to appropriate Indigenous ancestry for their own benefit, yet they will remove a candidate for backing another party who actually has a chance to win in that riding. So much for doing politics differently, right?
Of course, adding to the absurdity of this situation in Edmonton is that the party tried to say they were tossing this guy from the candidacy after he stepped down anyway, which was as bad an attempt to salvage a bad news story as I’ve seen in a while. Add to the fact that they actually took his party membership too, which says a lot about how the Green Party operates. I’m not sure how the other parties operate but I know that in the NDP its very hard to remove a person’s membership, and it’s not something that the central party can do so easily all on their own, let alone within a matter of a few hours. Again, for a party that claims to be so grass roots, it’s striking to see such a swift move taken against Mr. Kalmanovitch while all those other sketchy candidates are not only still in place, they are all still members and I assume will be after this campaign is over.
From my perspective, I am bemused yet stunned by this turn of events because when you stack all of these situations side by side this really doesn’t look right. It doesn’t add up to most people out there and it really can’t help but reflect poorly on the Greens, their priorities and all of their claims about being different. When you see how they’ve dealt with candidate vetting issues, the stories that came from them and how they decided to act towards those candidates, it screams of anything but “doing politics differently”. It also shows an amazing inconsistency about who this party decides to keep, who they decide to throw aside, and how they prioritize these things. They don’t add up, and people can see that. As this campaign comes to an end, this whole episode will be one that will stick out as a bad footnote and will be a big part of the story about how the Greens blew a once in a generation chance to make a breakthrough.