Citizen Action Monitor

Elizabeth May’s criticism of Trudeau on electoral reform and refugees amounts to “do as I say, not as I do”

Her criticism of Trudeau could just as easily apply to her opposition to the Green Party’s adoption of a BDS policy.

No 1886 Posted by fw, February 3, 2017

May’s reaction to Trudeau’s reversal of a pledge to reform Canada’s elections

Per a Toronto Star report, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system. In the House of Commons, Trudeau said not only is there no clear consensus on a new voting system — which citizens weren’t actually asked to weigh in on — but the issue itself is not a priority for Canadians.

“There is no consensus among Canadians on how, or even whether, to reform our electoral system,” Trudeau said during question period. “We are moving forward in a way that will focus on the things that matter to Canadians. That is what Canadians elected us to do.”

In a CBC News story, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, a member of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, warned that Trudeau’s decision to walk away from his commitment could have significant ramifications.

“I am deeply afraid that this betrayal will strike much more deeply in the hearts of Canadians than Prime Minister Trudeau realizes, particularly among young people. We are in a time of dangerous politics. You must never do anything as a politician who understands what’s at stake that feeds cynicism. Cynicism has enough to feed itself. It is work to feed hope. It is work to feed faith. And when you break faith you will reap what you sow.”

May’s “do as I say, not as I do” contradiction

Well, if that isn’t the damnedest thing! “No consensus”, the excuse Trudeau used to renege on his pledge to reform our electoral system was almost identical to that used by Elizabeth May to justify her opposition to the BDS policy that the Party had adopted at its August 2016 Biennial General Meeting (BGM) in Ottawa:

“I’m quite certain that most of our members don’t support this policy, but weren’t fully engaged in the consensus-building process we normally would have had…”

In a lengthy November 2016 Facebook post, Green Party member Dimitri Lascaris responded to party leader May’s “no consensus” excuse for opposing the BDS policy. Here’s a summary of his main rebuttal points that effectively demolished May’s consensus-building argument:

Importantly, the word “consensus” appears nowhere in Article III of the Green Party’s Rules of Procedure, which lays out the process whereby resolutions may be adopted by the members.

If general agreement regarding a proposed resolution cannot be achieved, then the facilitator may call a vote, in which case the resolution passes if it receives 60% support.

At the end of the day, there is no reason to believe that the outcome of the BDS debate at the Ottawa BGM would have been different had we employed the Green Party’s Rules of Procedure instead of Robert’s Rules.

If consensus was a prerequisite to the adoption of party policies, then it would be very difficult to pass many policies that deserve to be passed. The drafters of the Green Party’s rules of procedure clearly understood this, and therefore they did NOT make consensus a prerequisite to the passage of a resolution.

Although Elizabeth initially expressed reservations about the use of Robert’s Rules, she ultimately voted for the use of Robert’s Rules at the BGM.


Turning to the refugee issue, Ms May slammed Trudeau’s Tweet about refugees as “hollow, without action”

Per a CNN January 29 report, Trudeau tweeted the following in response to Trump’s executive order halting the US refugee program:

✔ @JustinTrudeau — To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada3:20 PM – 28 Jan 2017

In a January 31 article, the Huffington Post published Elizabeth May’s “What matters is actions” response:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s weekend tweet suggesting Canada is open to refugees is meaningless unless the Liberals do much more to accept those now barred from seeking asylum in the United States, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said on Monday.

“To say we are open, we are an inclusive society, we welcome Muslims and refugees here, you have a home here, that needs to be backed up,” May told reporters. Canada should ramp up the number of refugees it is prepared to accept, and federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen should immediately suspend the Safe Third Country agreement, she said. The bilateral accord, which took effect in 2004, allows Canada to turn away most refugee claimants if they arrived via the United States.

“What matters is actions,” May said. “Open up our doors. Let in more refugees. Get rid of the safe party agreement that makes it harder for people to get here from the United States. The U.S. is no longer a safe country for Muslims.”

And here we have another of May’s “do as I say, not as I do” contradictions

First, this backdrop. In August 2016, the Green Party of Canada adopted at its biannual convention a policy in which it endorsed the use of boycott, divestment and sanctions as a means of bringing an end to Israel’s decade-long illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories. The party’s members voted to adopt the policy despite the determined opposition from the party’s leader, Elizabeth May.

The party had come under an intense attack from the mainstream media and from pro-occupation groups, prompting Elizabeth May to briefly raise the prospect of resigning from the leadership. She decided to remain leader when the party’s federal council called for a special meeting at which the members would be asked to revisit the BDS policy.

That meeting was held in early December in Calgary, Alberta. At that meeting, over 84% of those present voted to replace the BDS policy with a motion calling for targeted sanctions on the State of Israel. The policy had the full support of the party’s leader, Elizabeth May.

Immediately following the December meeting, the Real News Network broadcast an 18-minute video abut the meeting, reposted here. Green Party member Dimitri Lascaris hosted the broadcast and summarized seven new sanctions called for by the policy. Although the policy supposedly “had the full support of the party’s leader, Elizabeth May”, to date, there is no evidence that she will heed her own advice to Trudeau — “What matters is actions” – by translating her party’s new sanctions into what matters — ACTION.

To illustrate, consider this:

On October 28, 2016, a couple of months after the party had adopted a BDS policy, I sent the following email to Ms. May. I never did receive a reply, so I’m not expecting much in the way of action from Ms May in terms of speaking out in Parliament on behalf of Palestinians.

Dear Ms. May – As a regular reader of your Week in Review, I have yet to see any Statements or Media updates relating to Israel’s ongoing crimes against Palestinians. For example, this week, without any prior notice, Israel forces first raided, and then destroyed Palestinian homes, leaving at least 44 people, including many children, homeless. (Source: Israeli-enforced demolitions in Jerusalem leave scores of Palestinians homeless).

This was not an isolated incident: we have seen an unprecedented surge in home demolitions in recent months in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to the UN, significantly more Palestinians have been displaced by home demolitions so far this year than were displaced in the entire of 2015.

The Green members of the party who support the cause of justice and peace for Palestinians need you to speak out in Parliament against Israel’s home demolitions.

Will you speak out in their behalf on this occasion? If not, will you please explain why you have chosen to remain silent?

As a GPC member, I look forward to your timely response.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Frank White, etc.


To conclude, in future, Elizabeth May might want to check out her own words and deeds before she criticizes others for their failures to meet expectations she doesn’t always live up to.

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