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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Green Party's vicious reaction to critics

Tomorrow evening Elizabeth May will take the stage in the French-language leaders’ debate. This is her first appearance and it’s thanks largely to the efforts of bloggers and the users of social media sites like Facebook. 

But in spite of having benefited so greatly from the medium, the Green Party has a problematic relationship with bloggers. Or at least critical bloggers such as Saskatchewan’s Buckdog and bloggers such as myself at the ‘Dime a Dozen’ blog.

As regular readers of the Shotgun might know, about a week ago I came across a photo of Elizabeth May speaking at an anti-Israel protest. This quickly spread around the blogosphere and forced her to issue a response:

Contrary to rumours circulating on the internet, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada did not appear at a Hezbollah event two years ago.

August 12, 2006, Ms. May did speak at a peace rally in Toronto along with Jewish and Arab Canadians to call for an end to the violence then raging in the Middle East...

I thought that the response mischaracterized the nature of the “rumours” and failed to address the issue at hand. Warren Kinsella thought the same. He issued a challenge to Ms. May:

May is playing games about her attendance at a pro-Hezbollah rally, and the smart guys at Western Standard have caught her. You know how to talk, Green leader: say, clearly, you denounce the terrorist organization called Hezbollah. Say it.

I took up that challenge and tried to meet Ms. May in person. When I failed to meet her, I decided to do the next best thing and poll the party’s candidates. It and the results were reported in the Standard a few days ago.

The responses were mixed. Some candidates came right out and called Hezbollah a terror organization.  Others weren’t so good. For instance, the Green candidate in Saskatoon-Humboldt, Jean-Pierre Ducasse said:

As per the Hezbollah and the Zionists. They are birds of the same feather. They both will get no respect from me.

While I was contacting their candidates I was also trying to spread the word and goad Elizabeth May into responding. As part of this I spoke to the Jewish Tribune.  This is a paper put out by B’nai Brith.  In an interview with their reporter, Attara Beck, she told me that the Green’s media rep, John Bennett, called my site a “right wing white supremacist” site – and by extension they called me a ‘white supremacist’.

I’m aboriginal, I have a Jewish partner - I have a reasonable track record of confronting racists on-line and in person. I was angry.  I immediately headed for a very good and very expensive libel lawyer. This is where I finally heard back from the Green Party’s media rep, John Bennett:

Mr. Jago

I spoke to the Tribune so I assume you are referring to me.

I did not say you were a white supremacist.

I said, “I had been told that the deliberate smear campaign against a women who has devoted her life to peace and protecting the environment was posted on a white supremacist site.” The reporter asked me to verify it so I investigated and later called her back and told her I had been misinformed and that it was posted on your site and the Western Standard.

I demonstrated more due diligence and journalistic professionalism than you. I note you made no effort to contact Ms. May to enable her to respond to your specious allegations before rushing to judgement. A decent journalist or campaigner or whatever you think of yourself as has a sense of fair play and hopefully some professionalism.

Your reaction to what you believed I said indicates you have some sensitivity to being falsely accused. How do you imagine Ms. May feels about the things you have published about her? Did she immediately threaten legal action?

Appointing yourself judge, jury and executioner makes it very difficult for you to now claim injury.

Shame on you.


I’d encourage you to read Bennett’s humiliating apology to Buckdog, and let you make a judgment about ‘professionalism’ on your own.

The Green Party isn't as warm and fuzzy as you might think. Threatening lawsuits against bloggers, attacking their character, these reactions to being asked legitimate questions betray a very dangerous vicious streak.   

FYI: I will be discussing this at length on the Rod Breckenridge show tomorrow evening at 8:30 Eastern Time on CHQR radio. The podcast for that show will be available here.

Posted by Robert Jago on September 30, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Greens vicious reaction to critics ? ... nothing new here , after all , they are environmentalists at heart and we all know how well the likes of Suzuki etc. respond to criticism.

Posted by: Brian | 2008-09-30 6:45:20 PM

I will not be renewing my Green Party membership, nor shall I and my wife vote for them.

I joined the Greens a number of years ago, when Jim Harris, a fiscal conservative, was running the show. Now that St. Liz is large and in charge I find that there is no room under the Green tent for people such as myself. It has reverted to a freak show of the bizarre left where I am lectured about my driving a Honda Element, it being an evil SUV. That, and I despise Birkenstocks.

I was appalled at the threats to sue the blogger into silence. Shame on the GPC! Shame!

Posted by: Dave Tracey | 2008-09-30 6:49:14 PM

I find funny your reaction to John Bennett's email. You were the one who threatened a lawsuit, attacked character, and your odd sense of things betray a "very dangerous vicious streak."

Posted by: Sara K | 2008-09-30 7:27:45 PM

Saying that St. Liz was at a rally that was, at best, anti-Israel, at worst, pro Hezbollah and having physical evidence of said attendance is a little different than linking someone to white supremacy. Well, a lot different.

Posted by: Dave Tracey | 2008-09-30 7:40:23 PM

While we are on the subject of Lizzie May,I would really like someone to ask her if her new MP is under investigation by Elections Canada,AGAIN. The Province newspaper says that he may be. Also,when she was head greenie at the Sierra club,Dion was the enviroment minister,did they interact very often?

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-09-30 7:51:42 PM

It's my understanding that Crazy liberal proxy Liz was allowed in the debates because of some 24 hour poll done by the [email protected] that came to the conclusion that Canadians were outraged that Crazy Liz wasn't going to be a part of the debates. If this is true, and Canadians were indeed outraged it sure isn't reflected in any of the polls that are out there. The so called media consortium that allowed Crazy Liz to be a part of the debates did so because it suits the overwhelmingly liberal media to have her there, in order to deflect attention away from hapless, in over his head Dion. The MSM understood that they couldn't have Dion there on his own, he's absolutely lost without his mother there to hold his hand and pat him on the head when he says something that people can actually comprehend. Now Dion has his babysitter there, and he won't be the only one proposing tax hikes for ill advised and destructive social engineering programs disguised as enviromental policy. The MSM and the Liberal party needed Crazy Liz and that is the only reason she's there, to say Canadians wanted her to be a part of these debates is a manipulation and thoroughly dis-honest.

Posted by: Sean | 2008-09-30 11:59:27 PM

This is a dead story. It only took me 15 minutes to get the back story on the event.

The original call out letter for this rally contained endorsements from a bunch of moderate peace groups, including the "Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation".

There is a whole thread from on Rabble.ca with posts planning the event, and then posts talking about it the next day. The initial call out letter is available and a bunch of discussion about the confusion caused by the loose associations of the groups involved.

Most telling is a post from someone called "Ohara"

To wit:
"Though I was heartened to see that the marshalls took some action in demanding that terroism promoters and anti-Semites should go home."

"Go organize your own rally, don't sabotage (ours), he said"

So clearly the rally organizers had no desire to have Hezbollah and their ilk at the rally and told them to leave.

The thread is right here read it for yourself:
(rabble.ca) http://tinyurl.com/torally

I think it is pretty clear that Elizabeth May received an invitation to speak at a peace rally organized (badly organized) by some moderate peace groups. And that more radical groups crashed the event.

I am not sure why some people are so quick to demonize Ms. May. Was it politically motivated? lazy research? or was it simply stirring the pot to generate passionate content for your sites?

Whatever the motivation, I think it was pretty hasty and irresponsible. You could have just asked Ms. May for her opinions on the conflict, she tends to be very candid.

Posted by: Dave | 2008-10-01 1:54:38 AM

LOL. I just finished posting the above comment and what should appear in my inbox but a news alert about an interview with Ms. May in "The Canadian Jewish News"

Here it is:
(cjnews.com) http://tinyurl.com/TheCJN

Posted by: Dave | 2008-10-01 2:02:03 AM

OMG! You deleted my post? It contained no offensive language and only linked to facts about the rally.

Here is a shorter version.

Ms. May accepted an invitation to a rally planned by moderate peace groups that included "Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation".

The event was crashed by radicals who were then asked to leave by the rally organizers.

Quoting from the thread at rabble.ca dated Aug 12 and Aug 13, 2006

"Though I was heartened to see that the marshalls took some action in demanding that terroism promoters and anti-Semites should go home."

"Go organize your own rally, don't sabotage (ours)," he said.

You can read more about this poorly organized rally here:

ps: If you delete this post you are admitting to yourself that your beliefs and arguments only survive on lies and misinformation.

Posted by: Dave | 2008-10-01 3:59:43 AM

Whoops! My original comments are back now. I did a forced refresh three times but they didn't show up again until after I just posted above.

You have my apologies for suggesting you removed them.

Posted by: Dave | 2008-10-01 4:03:53 AM

Elizabeth May is a Liberal front.
John Bennett is a disgrace. What the hell kind of media relations is that?

Posted by: David Mancini | 2008-10-01 6:47:43 AM

It is not hard to understand why the Harper brand of Conservative seems to do so well in the West. "[email protected]"? What kind of ignorant philosophy reins free? I used to be a Progressive Conservative, mainly due to my fiscally conservative leanings and my sense of community values, but can't stand the direction the Conservative party is heading down under Harper.

The progressive part of PC has been murdered. With the removal of equality from the mandate of the Status of Women, cuts in cultural funding, a fiscal policy that flirts with deficit, massive cuts to social programs that were truly helping people and the horrendous version of partisan mud slinging politics that Harper practices cannot be seen to reflect the true Tory image. I just hope we all wake up and realize we've been duped.

Posted by: Michael Dempsey | 2008-10-01 10:12:30 AM

Actually, Michael, according to polls, the Harper brand of conservatism is making gains almost everywhere except Fortress Toronto, Bastille Montréal, and the Maritimes (which have still not forgiven Harper for his largely true assertion that they would only become prosperous by making themselves prosperous).

Progression implies "forward motion." Forward motion does not consist of keeping Canadian politics trapped in the socialistic 1970s. Now that women are equals under the law, they no longer need special funding (if ever they did). Harper's economic policies do not include crippling the economy with staggering new taxes, the only party leader for which that can be said to be true. And what, exactly, where these social programs "helping" people to do? Welfare and health are provincial matters, not federal.

And don't get me started on mud-slinging. "Troops. In our cities. Choose your Canada." Nuff said.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-10-01 11:59:36 AM

This is increasingly a problem on the Left. As they become more marginalized, they become more elitist, and have come to despise the people as untutored buffoons. Since university degrees are more common on the Left, they fancy themselves more fit to rule. Of course most of those degrees are in the humanities or in sociology, which qualifies them to do little more than flip burgers at McDonald's.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-10-01 12:02:52 PM

Regarding Elizabeth May's attendance of the rally: practically every pro-peace rally features someone holding a hammer and sickle flag. The communists have killed millions - does that mean that no one should ever attend a pro-peace rally for fear that they will be associated with communism? Get real. Attending a rally does not mean that you agree with every opinion of everyone else at the rally. It only means you agree with the stated purpose of the rally. Anyone who does not understand this is an imbecile.

Posted by: Rob Dunkirk | 2008-10-01 2:58:18 PM

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