Internal strife afflicting N.S. Green party wont hurt bid for seat: May

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - Elizabeth May brushed aside concerns Wednesday that a nasty public squabble being played out by members of the Nova Scotia Green party would affect her bid to become an MP from the province.
The leader of the federal Greens said the mudslinging and resignations by top provincial party members are setbacks, but not hindrances to her attempt to unseat Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who has represented the riding now known as Central Nova in the Commons since 1997.
"There's no such thing as a political party that doesn't have disputes going on somewhere," May said from Montreal where she was speaking at McGill University .
"I don't think any of this will affect my campaign at all."
May insisted her campaign to upset MacKay in the rural riding in central Nova Scotia was going well in spite of the dispute that has seen a handful of executive members step down in recent days.
The problems began months ago when former provincial leader Ken McGowan alleged that two party members - both failed leadership hopefuls - were improperly appointed to the executive.
McGowan said the members were appointed, not elected, to the positions, which amounted to a violation of the party's constitution.
One of the members has become the party's interim leader in the wake of McGowan's resignation earlier this week.
"It comes down to a failure of the president of the executive to uphold democracy within the party and to uphold our own constitution," McGowan said in an interview.
The feud came to a head this week when McGowan went public with his accusations and set off a flurry of press releases between the two sides in the dispute.
Party co-president Noreen Hartlen refuted McGowan's assertions that the two executive members had obtained their positions in violation of the constitution, saying they were elected by their regional divisions.
She also downplayed the perception that the party disunity will hamper May's ability to raise the profile of a party that garnered 2.3 per cent of the votes in the 2006 provincial election.
McGowan chastised May for interfering in provincial affairs by supporting one of the executive members he alleged was installed improperly.
"It would seem to me that if Elizabeth May has difficulty respecting democracy within the Green party that the people of Canada and the people of Central Nova should turn their backs on her," he said.
May dismissed the claim, saying she supported all members equally and even advised the party to support the leader late last year when she was called in to mediate disputes concerning inter-personal issues.
"The party will survive this," May said. "It's not what you would most wish for, but neither is it the end of the world. It's a little bump in the road."
May's problems continued later in the day when Beverly Woodfield, who resigned as the provincial party's deputy leader, criticized her for her comments after the release of a report on Canada's role in Afghanistan.
Woodfield, mother of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, 24, who died in Afghanistan in 2005, said the initial release from the Greens was offensive.
"I fear that with the words she used, that she's painted a target on the back of every uniformed member of NATO that's over" in Afghanistan.
May said Tuesday that the report's recommendation that more NATO troops are needed "from a Christian/Crusader heritage will continue to fuel an insurgency that has been framed as a jihad."
"This, in turn, may feed the recruitment of suicide bombers and other insurgents," the Green leader said.
(Halifax Chronicle Herald)

Organizations: McGill University, NATO

Geographic location: Central Nova, Montreal, Nova Scotia Afghanistan Canada

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  • Lori
    January 18, 2010 - 11:59

    I could plan to rule the world and have as much success at that as Elizabeth May will have at upsetting Peter MacKay in Central Nova. Setting achievable goals is key to success. Elizabeth May is barking up the wrong tree.

  • Roger Langille
    January 18, 2010 - 11:51

    I think she May have a point, Why can't we bring Afgans to Canada to train and work with our troups there.