By Bob Groeneveld
Elizabeth May was just a little too gleeful about embracing 14 disaffected New Brunswick New Democrats into the Green fold.
From the start, there seemed something not quite right about reports of a mass defection of “NDP candidates” which threatened the very stability of the national New Democratic Party just weeks before an election call.
Early media reports seemed to miss, or at least gloss over, the fact that 14 of the defectors (a 15th was a provincial party organizer granted a mercy-seat at the federal party table) were provincial candidates from a province in which the NDP had not won a single seat during the most recent election, in 2018.
The gripe was, supposedly, that national NDP leader Jagmeet Singh had not yet spent time campaigning in their province for the upcoming federal election.
And the concern was that Jagmeet was thereby ruining the chances of the 14 failed provincial candidates to win federal seats, because a very white cohort of New Brunswick voters were consequently not being properly acclimatized to the “cultural differences” that the NDP leader represented – being darker-skinned and adhering to a faith that must necessarily be excessively confusing to the average sheltered New Brunswicker.
Upon hearing her newly welcomed darlings’ reasoning for stiffing the NDP piped through the national media, Elizabeth May quickly mopped the burgeoning sweat from her brow, got up on her hind legs, and very publicly and loudly declared that racism would not be tolerated in her party.
A quick tip for Lizzie, her fellow Greens, and anyone else walking a little close to the line these days: if you have to tell people you’re not a racist, most people are going to think you are… and they are probably right.
Actually, the early media reports – as well as the initially gloating Green leadership – missed a few other significant details obscured by the party atmosphere and general merry-making.
It came quickly to light – although not quickly enough for reporters to get their facts figured out before filing their stories – that five candidates listed with the Defective 14 weren’t aware that they were part of the group.
Indeed, the five were both surprised and quite miffed to discover that they had left the NDP and gone Green.
Because they hadn’t.
Like Mark Twain who once had the undoubtedly interesting, yet certainly disquieting experience of reading his own obituary in the newspaper, those five had not actually passed over.
And in quick succession, yet again, Green brows were mopped, hind legs were stood upon, and fumbling apologies were made.
But what of the media in all of this? Who fed them the story?
Was it a Green operative too quick on the trigger finger?
Or was it a far more seasoned operative calculating that the media would eventually catch up with the truth… leaving not only the NDP, but also the Greens with mud on their boots as they slog towards the October election?