There was a big upset when the race for the 2019 general election began in Canada earlier this month. After last week’s caucus meeting, many of the country’s political parties were leaning towards forming a coalition government. That could mean a fragile coalition of the Green Party and the New Democratic Party. But something remarkable happened last Thursday when Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the NDP to meet with her.
The meeting, held in Toronto, ended shortly after 1 p.m. with Ms. May’s offer to form a government.
That change came about because Elizabeth May convinced a senior NDP leader to join with the Greens in a Coalition government.
I’m talking about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May. If you will recall, Elizabeth May led the 2013 Liberal-NDP-Green coalition in the British Columbia provincial elections. Ms. May and Andrea Horwath set out on the same electoral path that led to the same result in Ontario and Alberta.
Elizabeth May previously offered to form a coalition in Quebec. Ms. May, like Ms. Horwath and Thomas Mulcair, set out on the same path that led to the same result in Ontario and Alberta. They all made an offer to the NDP for the same reason that the former leader of the Ontario Liberal Party launched his own party in the middle of a provincial election: both are fed up with the Liberals.
Now, with Jagmeet Singh in Ontario, Elizabeth May and the B.C. Green Party have joined with Ms. Horwath in backing another NDP leader.
Once again, Elizabeth May has found a way to get her way. While Singh’s recent ascension has thrust him into the national spotlight, he has continued the kind of policies and views that have brought him trouble in Ontario. He’s agreed to free trade with China. He’s also the most far-left leader in British Columbia. A former longtime member of the B.C. legislature who has a reputation for flip-flopping has a strong chance of becoming the next Leader of the provincial NDP and the NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Singh also has another problem: an aloof, distant and unapproachable manner.
Perhaps Elizabeth May’s most famous foreign policy miscalculation has been her decision to go to China in March of 2015 to meet with Communist leader Xi Jinping.
This late January of 2019 it looks like it was all worth it. The Ottawa Citizen reported that China reached a major breakthrough in relations with Canada in January of 2019, a decision that just so happens to put the Liberals at odds with many of the people of Ontario. The premier of Ontario and his party found themselves out of the pocket of China. I wonder if he was thinking more about his party’s fortunes and lower seats in Ontario than his reputation as a kind-hearted, two-fisted champion of the little guy and the planet?
Since then, Alberta has had a battle royale over energy. After months of negotiations, the Alberta and Canada governments are working to implement new pipelines, and they’re getting pushback from B.C. Premier John Horgan. Alberta has the opportunity to set the precedent that pipelines do matter. A political party that makes its point and wins power because of it. If this sounds familiar, it is. Let’s hope he learns from Ms. May’s experience in British Columbia.
Quebec and Ontario are the two dominant provinces of Canada. Elizabeth May has proved once again that she knows how to take a partisan point of view and make it interesting. This is good for the country.
A coalition is what she was looking for. Ms. May also understood that Ms. Horwath, too, lacked the ability to perform. If Ms. May had instead won over Ms. Horwath, it would have been a hollow victory. It would have been temporary. It would have had more to do with winning in Ontario than with winning under the Canadian flag. And that’s a shame.
What I like best about Ms. May is she doesn’t have to be there to create good policy. She can sit back and gain the support of progressives and other parties with ideas that complement hers and focus on the bigger picture.
Elizabeth May is the kind of leader who can bring Canadians together.