Last summer, I was one of the few reporters to attend the Green Party national convention on Vancouver Island.
What was striking was how much May was revered — not just respected but truly admired — by the party faithful. She was, after all, the party's first ever elected MP and a leader who continues to punch well above her weight when it comes to media attention.
Outside Green circles, however, it appears that May has some work to do to appeal to the masses.
On Friday, the National Post editorial board published a scathing article questioning May's leadership.
The impetus of the column seems to have been this Twitter exchange between May and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney during the throne speech when it was re-announced that Canada would be building a monument to victims of communism.
The Post editorial board suggests that this is just the latest un-leader-like misstep by May.
Ms. May has not held herself to the standard that Canadians should expect from a federal party leader.
Ms. May has, at least twice in the past, tweeted about the purported dangers of Wi-Fi networks — a claim for which there is virtually no credible evidence, and much evidence to the contrary.
Ms. May...spent weeks last year ominously warning Canadians that our government was selling out the country by signing a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China. She tweeted out such alarmist statements as “18 days til we lose Canada” and “our survival as a country is at stake.” (Update: We’re still here.)
Ms. May is an accomplished self-promoter. But as a serious federal leader of a party seeking more credibility, she leaves much to be desired.
The full National Post column can be read here.
[ More Political Points: What not to like about the Canada-EU trade deal ]
Are they right? Is Elizabeth May hurting her party? Does she hold herself "to the standard that Canadians should expect from a federal party leader"?
We took that very question to our expert political panel. Here are their thoughts.
David Coletto, Abacus Data pollster:
"The Green Party leader is having a tough time staying relevant since the main parties have co-opted its agenda. Her actions only make it more difficult for people to take the Green Party seriously.
What does the Green Party stand for? How is it different from the NDP or Liberals? While it's previous leader, Jim Harris, positioned the party as a pro-business environmentally conscious party, May has taken the Greens to the fringe and pushed strange issues. Her actions only contribute to this perception among Canadians."
Warren Kinsella, Liberal insider and Sun News analyst
"If you're a Green, a Liberal or a New Democrat, what the National Post editorial board has to say about just about anything, could not be more irrelevant. That said, this controversy reminds all of us about what Twitter is. For average citizens, it's a social media to share thoughts and observations in 140 characters. To politicians, of all stripes, it is a platform to say dumb things on a regular basis.
Her comment was dumb. But she has a point: why not pay tribute to the victims of all murderous ideologies? Why just one of them? May and Kenney look equally silly. The National Post editorial board, too."
Alex Tsakumis, political analyst, radio host:
Elizabeth May is a shrill, often contemptible, always offensive.
Her despicable past comments about our men and women in uniform allegedly committing war crimes, and her comparisons of legitimate, thoughtful skeptics of climate change alarm-ism, with Nazis, is emblematic of her amateurish and offending approach to public comment.
Elizabeth May is a full on disgrace.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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