I’m trying to instill a spirit of cooperation,’ says May

Publication Source: The Hill Times
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Author: Elizabeth May

Re: “May slams Mulcair’s order for NDP MPs not to respond to her electoral cooperation letter,” (The Hill Times Online, Jan. 22). The story drew a few incorrect inferences from what I had said in an interview. The headline was a bit inflammatory as well. I am trying to instill a spirit of cooperation and respect in the opposition lobby, and indeed, across the aisle to all of Parliament.

Firstly, it is a shame that the issue became public. If we are going to find a way to cooperate in one election only in order to get rid of the first-past-the-post system, then building trust is needed. That is why my suggestion was in a hard copy personal letter that was marked as “personal and confidential.”

It is true that I was shocked that NDP MPs were told not to even reply. I would never have suggested that they should all have accepted my idea, but certainly grown-ups might be allowed to write their own letter in response. I felt this was especially the case for relationships that extend over decades.

Every other comment was (as your reporter correctly stated) a generic comment about the system in which most MPs find themselves. Being instructed on a daily basis when to speak, when to be silent, what to say, and how to vote on every issue is stultifying to real democracy. Each MP serves in the House of Commons as the representative of our constituents, not of the political party to which we belong. If we could break free of the strictures of partisan control, we would have a much healthier democracy.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.

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