“Full disclosure: my mother, Carol Baird Ellan, is seeking the NDP nomination in that riding.”
With that quote, NDP supporter and blogger Nicholas Ellan makes it quite clear his reasons for attacking the Green party. He is, of course, welcome to his own opinions, regardless of how partisan they may be. He is not however, entitled to his own facts.
Let me be factual rather than hyper-partisan. Ellan’s statement that cooperation with the Liberals was "not an anomaly", is bizarre. Greens have had only one act of cooperation with Liberals in 2008 when Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May decided to enter into a leaders' courtesy agreement. This tradition has been frequently used to assist a newly elected party leader without a seat in Parliament. However, when Dion and May premised their agreement on the need to stop Harper and achieve real action on climate and democracy, the NDP attack was brutal.
How can anyone believe Elizabeth ever targeted NDP seats after choosing to run against not one, but two, of Harper's cabinet members? She first challenged then Defence Minister Peter MacKay and went on to defeat Gary Lunn, then a sitting Conservative cabinet member.
One further glaring factual error, whether deliberate or just misinformed, particularly needs correcting. Nicholas wrote: “Former NDP MP Bruce Hyer joined the party after he was tossed from the NDP caucus in 2012.”
Mulcair has lost eight NDP members. Instead of pointing fingers, he and his supporters might reflect upon why they left and why they are way down in the polls.
Here are the facts and reasons as to why I left the NDP to become an Independent for a year and a half, and then chose to join the Green party after careful reflection of the choices available to me.
Nicholas, I was not “tossed” from the NDP. I left voluntarily, after Mulcair made it clear that all votes would be whipped. The NDP whip told me that if I did not vote as she and the leader wished, I would be “punished”, and my nomination papers would not be signed. I decided to use my next statement opportunity in the House, not for the usual canned NDP statement drafted by unelected staffers, but to present a statement explaining why I was becoming an independent MP. (I have provided the full text of my statement at the end of this letter.)
Mulcair was notified about my intentions a few minutes before my statement. The Speaker was asked that it be withdrawn. In recent years, the Speaker allows parties to control the questions and statements of their members. I had to tweet and Facebook my reasons.
Last year, the Globe and Mail did a fascinating series about democracy in the House written by Gloria Galloway and others. Here are facts that they compiled and analysis regarding voting on private member’s bills:
“Experts say Canada’s government really is more controlling and less tolerant of dissent than most other democracies in the free world.…Almost all discourse in the Canadian Parliament is scripted by party staffers.…Politicians vote as their party leaders dictate, nearly 100 per cent of the time.”
“The voting record of the official opposition under NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shows ironclad discipline. Not a single vote has been cast that is out of step.…Since Mr. Mulcair became NDP leader last March, his caucus has voted unanimously 100 per cent of the time. The Liberal caucus was united 90 per cent of the time and the Conservatives were united 76 per cent of the time. Canada’s parliamentary system suggests MPs are sent to Ottawa by constituents in their ridings to be their voices in Parliament. In practice, MPs are far more likely to be the voices of their political parties.”
After I left the caucus, an NDP caucus member who remains a friend told me that he likes his pay and perks and wants to be re-elected, so he won’t be leaving the party caucus. He has become resigned to the fact that he is “merely a customer sales representative for the NDP” in his riding.
In the next federal election, voters will have a clear choice. They can vote for the person who will have to toe the line for one of the three main parties, or they can vote for a Green or independent who is free to work for them.
Elizabeth and I have offered repeatedly to work with either the NDP and/or the Liberals in Conservative-held ridings to restore sanity and democracy to government. That offer still stands, but so far Mulcair and Trudeau have chosen to place their egos, personal ambitions, and parties ahead of defeating Harper.
Ellan, your blog is filled with omissions to suit your own personal biases. I doubt any sensible person will take it seriously.