Bruce Hyer: NDP supporters should stop pointing fingers at Green party
“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 The Speaker was asked that it be withdrawn.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.
Jan 27, 2015 at 4:47pm
Guess we are locked in a never ending loop of splitting Canada's progressive majority vote along partisan lines to Harper's never ending delight. Complimented only with never ending bickering among them.
Jan 27, 2015 at 5:35pm
'Fraid so. I fear, I greatly fear that Herr Harper will slither his way in again.
Jan 27, 2015 at 6:21pm
What a bunch of twaddle.
Hyer should spend his time attacking the people who actually represent the parties that he opposes, as opposed to picking up on blog postings by random supporters who happen to be relatives of people who are contesting nominations.
Surely, if the Green Party is all about getting rid of Harper, he could find some Stephen Harper "follower" to pick on? There are lots, but for some reason, as if to confirm what Ellan is saying Hyer goes after some random guy from the NDP, rather than write articles about what the Conservatives are actually doing and saying.
Bandwidth, airtime, and print word count for a small party like the Greens should be a precious things. Apparently not, Hyer, and the Straight are wasting our time with these spurious attacks on persons who do not even represent the NDP.
What is up with that?
Jan 27, 2015 at 9:06pm
Thank you, Bruce, and to those above (and surely below as well) who gripe that the Green Party only serves to "split the progressive vote", I have this to answer:
1. We live in a democracy (at least nominally - we have a lot of work to do). Why should it ever be considered a bad thing for great candidates representing sound principles and a forward-thinking vision for Canada to run for office?
2. Anyone who does their research will realize that the Green Party does not "split" the vote. It GATHERS votes from those who could not be bothered to vote before, from progressive conservatives who know that Harper is a traitor to their principles, from traditional NDP and Liberal voters disappointed with the old school approaches of those parties, and of course from the rapidly growing number of people who identify only as Green because they see no other party doing as good a job of representing their values. Elizabeth May, Andrew Weaver and David Coon all defeated incumbent conservative cabinet ministers by attracting the highest voter turnouts in their respective elections and by building coalitions of voters from across the spectrum. If the mission is to unite voters for positive change in Ottawa, the Greens are up to the task.
3. Since when does mudslinging and contempt for democracy pass for "progressive" politics anyways?
Jan 27, 2015 at 9:57pm
"Nicholas, I was not “tossed” from the NDP." This basically summarizes your entire article. Random blogosphere writer authors something you don't like/are scared of and then you use your position here or whatever you want to call it to address him directly, in a public setting. You aren't defending yourself, you're personally responding to everything he said which only makes what he said more credible. Lmao what a joke. Get over yourself. Also my boy Steve Smith ^^ kudos for having a legitimate brain in your skull bro. I love how you're getting "downvoted" for not having the popular opinion that this website obviously represents. Lmao. Bunch of tools.
Holla at your boy
Jan 27, 2015 at 10:01pm
"I doubt any sensible person will take it seriously."
And yet here you are. I rest my case.
shut up and vote
Jan 27, 2015 at 10:20pm
vote and I mean all of you and we will be better off !!! now shut up !!!
Jan 27, 2015 at 11:56pm
I find it surprising and disturbing that the Speaker asked for your statement to be withdrawn. That seems blatantly oppressive, not what I'd expect from an elected body AT ALL.
As for splitting the vote, the Liberal Party is the one splitting the vote. If they'd just go away, Canada could heal from the damage the Conservatives have done. As it stands, they purport to be "centrist" and the "natural ruling party" when all they are are wolves in sheep's clothing. If you're left, then vote NDP. If you're evil, then vote Conservative. If you're green, vote Green. Fence sitting and hypocrisy are destroying our country, and Liberal cronyism has no place in Canada.
Jan 28, 2015 at 12:15am
I'd have thought the MP from Thunder Bay would have a thicker skin -- and the good sense not to dip into the toxic morass so endemic to his former party.
Not being a local though, Heyer mightn't appreciate that even within the NDP, few take Nicholas Ellan very seriously -- even if he does epitomize that distinctly "progressive" politico character failure of eating their own (no offense to Nick's mom). After his mean-spirited attacks on COPE, Mabel Elmore and other progressives in this city -- I suspect most who follow this sort of thing find Ellan Jr to be a bitter misanthrope who takes rejection and himself way to seriously.
The most depressing aspect of this political circle jerk is that the venerable Straight would have given so much pixel space to the literal troll posting from his mom's basement. Oh well. Clickbait -- brought me here. Well played Georgia Straight, well played..
Jan 28, 2015 at 12:17am
MP writes angry column responding to blogger on the other side of the country. MP closes that column with statement on how nobody will take that blog seriously. Right...