The Federal election of 2006 delivered the following results for the riding of Central Nova:
Peter G. MacKay CON 17134 40.66%
Alexis MacDonald NDP 13861 32.89%
Dan Walsh LIB 10349 24.56%
David Orton GRN 671 1.59%
Allan H. Bezanson ML 124 0.29%
The first thing to note is the poor performance of David Orton, the Green Party of Canada candidate, at 1.59% of the vote. Yet, based on this level of GPC support, Elizabeth May is predicting a Green victory as the result of the May-Dion pact. Should Peter MacKay's vote hold at 40.66 +/- and, should the gagged Liberal vote swing to Green, Ms. May would still have to take about 15% plus from Louise Lorefice, the NDP candidate. Should the combination of the latter two voting patterns hold is a long-shot, to say the least (see below, appeasement of the Federal NDP).
The 7% Solution
Now, let us throw an independent candidate into the electoral mix. Within this new electoral context, I would like to put forward the following premises about the Liberal voting block:
Judging from the outcry in the community over the May-Dion pact, a high percentage of Liberal voters may just stay home, that being their "protest vote." This assertion is made without the benefit of a telephone pollster disturbing peoples' evenings meals. It is a political sentiment that is percolating at the street level and that the voters of Central Nova are all aware of.
Just how exactly the Liberal vote vis-á-vis the other parties will break down is, of course, an unknown.
Contrary to Ms. May's forecasts, I would venture the guess that she takes no more than 15% of the Liberal vote, while the Conservative and NDP votes hold pat, bringing the GPC vote in at 5% of the total vote, give or take. That leaves roughly 20% of the total vote unaccounted for, i.e. the Liberal vote. I would like to propose that of the Liberal vote left in political limbo, one-third of it (7% of the riding's total vote) would support an independent candidacy that is targeting the May-Dion pact as political and electoral theft, leaving the balance of the Liberal vote to stay home, or vote Conservative or NDP.
Should an unknown independent running as an eco-libertarian garner more votes than Ms. May, then the writing would very likely be on the wall. I would imagine that only political junkies are tuning into this site, so you do the math. The very intent of the May-Dion pact, i.e. the gagging of the Liberal Central Nova constituency, could back-fire and be inverted by the electoral voice of a small portion of that very constituency to determine some serious political consequences. Karma is always just, if at times hard. Such is the responsibility and power that 30% of the Liberal constituency now tentatively holds in its hands by virtue of this independent candidacy. The "7% solution" is a political option that can only be put into play by an independent candidate. My independent candidacy is merely a medium for the constituency's sentiments...and the eventual electoral choice of that constituency. As I perceive it, 3,000 voters out of roughly 42,000 hold in their hands significant political leverage and sway. If this electoral potential is contrasted against a position of being totally disenfranchised (courtesy of May-Dion), then we have the makings of something very serious here. As the saying goes, the glass is either half empty or half full. My job is to bring into focus a perception for the electorate's benefit that leans towards "half full." The situation before one's eyes remains the same. However, an altered perception of the situation exposes entirely different possibilities.
The NDP candidate, Louise Lorefice, is on record as saying that the May-Dion pact is "a gift" for the NDP. When one looks at the electoral numbers, this could very well be the case. Actually, an NDP victory in Central Nova could be the intent behind the May-Dion pact, a gesture of appeasement to Jack Layton and the Federal NDP to pave the way for an attempt to unite the left. When reports first surfaced that the Greens and Liberals were hunkered down behind closed doors, the reported item on the table was how to unseat Peter MacKay, not necessarily how to elect Ms. May.
As for Peter MacKay and the Conservatives, well, in all likelihood Mr. MacKay holds the seat of Central Nova, if the Liberal vote does not swarm over to the NDP.
An independent candidacy in Central Nova offers the voters a principled and realistic electoral option. There is a term for this. It is called grass-roots democracy. This is the political opportunity as I see it. This is what the Liberal constituency can do to salvage its integrity and send a clear signal to both the national Greens and Liberals that, in spite of a gun held to its head, democracy is alive and well in Central Nova.
Political Platform I (Visible)
As an eco-libertarian and bio-regionalist, I maintain the following:
- The May-Dion pact, separate from Green and Liberal philosophies, is a political act. As such, it can be contested at the electoral level. For those Liberal voters who are opposed to having their freedom of political expression denied and who will not vote Green, Conservative or NDP, I am offering the electoral option for a more constructive protest vote than merely staying home on election night. Needless to say, the Green principle of grass-roots democracy is out the window.
- The Green Party of Canada (GPC) has betrayed and abandoned the core Green political principles of bioregionalism and political decentralization. With climate change a given, it is imperative for a political entity to own these principles as it is the nation’s regions that will be affected in different ways. Where the ecological problems will be is where the solutions will need to be crafted with the aid of the Federal government.
- The Federal government should seriously consider endorsing the commercial designation of Atlantica, with the proviso that Nova Scotia’s rolling stock be upgraded. Rail transport would displace the high volume of truck traffic, with its high levels of pollution, to transport incoming goods at the province’s ports. It’s not rocket science. The upgrading of the province’s rolling stock translates into a vast opportunity for TrentonWorks, a business whose business is steel and the manufacture of rail cars.
As a conscientious human being, I maintain the following:
- The voters of Central Nova have the democratic right to freedom of expression. Given a realistic political medium and opportunity, they have the right and the obligation to themselves to correct the blatant democratic wrong committed unto them by Elizabeth May and Stéphane Dion as leaders of their respective political parties.
I was a member of the first Green party founded in the Americas, the Green Party of British Columbia. At the time of my resignation from the GPBC in 1986, I sat on the Executive and was a candidate-elect for the upcoming 1986 BC provincial elections. I have never held a party membership with any federal party.
Political Platform II (Somewhat Visible)
- Politely, but firmly, send May-Dion packing from Central Nova
Political Platform III (Cloaked, though not hidden)
Kick-start a dialogue and philosophical exploration for the creation of a new Federal political party in the Maritimes, tentatively called The Atlantica Alliance Party, based on the following historical premises and context:The GPC has abandoned the political principles of bioregions and decentralization. A political vacuum on the transitory cusp separating the Industrial Age from the Information/Ecological Age seems evident. Nature abhors a vacuum.
To the best of my knowledge, no one on the ecological political stage, e.g. Green parties, David Suzuki, Al Gore, etc., has yet to inform the Canadian public how the destiny of industrial civilization, i.e. global warming to name one factor, is locked into the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, that the ecological "bullet" that is heading for our social institutions is one that cannot be dodged:
First Law: All matter and energy in the universe are constant; it cannot be created nor destroyed. Only its form can be changed, but never its essence.
Second Law (The Entropy Law): Matter and energy can only be changed in one direction, from usable to unusable, from available to unavailable, from ordered to disordered. Every time energy is transformed from one state to another, a penalty is exacted. That penalty is a loss in the amount of available energy to perform work of some kind in the future. The term for this "penalty" is entropy. The implication is that all social phenomena is moving in the direction of random chaos and waste, i.e. maximum entropy. (Work-in-progress for insertion here: 1. using the sample of compact fluorescent bulbs, show how, within a global context, the supposed energy savings are highly questionable; 2. outline how the notions of how recycling and sustainability are somewhat illusory; 3. question the political validity of claiming that they are otherwise.)
The Entropy Law is not an opinion. It is physical law, as true as the Law of Gravity. We are as blind to it and its consequences as were pre-Copernican monks to the rotation of the earth around the sun.
As such, The Kyoto Protocol is very likely too late by about 50 years. Industrial civilization is a runaway train on a downhill slope that will have to run its course. Hope and work for the best; prepare for the worst.
The 2007 Federal Budget has made evident how politically isolated and lacking in political leverage, i.e. divided and conquered, the Maritimes are. A regional electoral block of 32 ridings translates into a hard, political asset with which to negotiate future needs.
The Federal Conservative Government has delivered the historical precedent of “nation-within-a-nation” status for the region/province of Québec. The constitutional premise and template for a new Federalism to meet the ecological challenges confronting the nation are at hand.
Atlantica lies latent on the east coast, Cascadia on the west coast, Québec already established. What is the ROC to do?
To take part in the dialogue towards this possibility, please stay tuned for the launch of a dedicated site and/or blog, likely a kind of Online Steering Committee, based on visitor interest. If you are interested in taking part in this dialogue, please send an email to email@example.com and place in the subject field "Atlantica Alliance."
On the second day into its launch, the site was doing 100+ hits. Again, I'll take it. Much of the action was coming from bloggers, some friendly, some hostile, i.e. a limp attempt by a Liberal party hack in Ottawa to draw me into a pissing contest. Many names will no doubt be hurled at me and at this independent candidacy. "Idiot" will likely not be one of them.
I can't stress enough to please read the site before deciding where and how all this sits with you, if it "sits" at all. Page loads are only running about 20-30% above hits, so that tells me that most visitors aren't going beyond the first page. Which is fine, but to get dished on the basis of not having read the entire site is a tad unfair. Everything I can safely say at this time, I have written down. Seven percent of the Central Nova Liberal constiuency! In case anyone missed it, seven percent! Seven! Where it has not been written down, the space left "between the lines" is quite wide.
The high point of the week came during a telephone conversation with a reporter for a local community paper. It was when the light came on for him as to what is being attempted here and that it is actually do-able...and do-able only by an independent. Now all that needs to be done is multiply that "aha!" by several thousand. That's my job and I have the summer to do it.
My major concern at this point is that not much online interest is coming out of Central Nova. But that comes with the turf, i.e. degree of internet hook-up, unwillingness to take initiative, etc. What I already knew is merely reinforced: that much work over the next several months will need to be done by working the streets. If it doesn't get done within the tactical scope of the trenches, wrangling around in the mud, then it doesn't get done. The lofty hilltops of strategy can be left to the more socially and politically incumbent.
216 Stewart Road, Pugwash River, NS B0K 1L0
DATELINE: Pugwash River, Nova Scotia, May 2, 2007
An Independent for Central Nova
Former River John resident, now living in Cumberland County, Sebastian Ronin, has announced his candidacy as an independent in the Federal riding of Central Nova.
On the May-Dion pact, Mr. Ronin states, “The May-Dion pact, separate from Green and Liberal philosophies, is a political act. As such, it can be contested at the electoral level. For those Liberal voters who are opposed to having their freedom of political expression denied and who will not vote Green, Conservative or NDP, I am offering the electoral option for a more constructive protest vote than merely staying home on election night. Needless to say, the Green principle of grass-roots democracy is out the window.”
On bioregionalism: “The Green Party of Canada (GPC) has betrayed and abandoned the core Green political principles of bioregionalism and political decentralization. With climate change a given, it is imperative for a political entity to own these principles. It is the nation’s regions that will be affected in different ways. Where the problems will be is where the solutions will need to be crafted with the aid of the Federal government.”
On the future of TrentonWorks: “The Federal government should seriously consider endorsing the commercial designation of Atlantica, with the proviso that Nova Scotia’s rolling stock be upgraded. Rail transport would displace the high volume of truck traffic, with its high levels of pollution, to transport incoming goods at the province’s ports. It’s not rocket science. The upgrading of the province’s rolling stock translates into a vast opportunity for a business whose business is steel and the manufacture of rail cars.”
Mr. Ronin is a member of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, but on political principle has never held membership with the Federal Greens. Asked if this may confuse voters, Mr. Ronin replied, “I resigned from the Green Party of BC and its Executive 20 years ago over this issue. The situation in Central Nova is an opportunity to explain to the Canadian public why being a Provincial Green trumps being a Federal Green. As for representing the nation’s regions, in its own best interests the GPC could take a strategic page from the Bloc and how it represents the interests of Québec within federalism.”
A dedicated campaign web site has been launched at http://www.roninnova.ca/. Mr. Ronin can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Ronin is widely known in Pictou County as the owner of Abel’s Canes Company. He will again be at the Pictou Week-End Craft Market during the summer months and he encourages anyone who is interested in his campaign to drop by his booth for a chat.
He currently resides in Cumberland County as the result of a real estate transaction last year. “This is where I found the kind of property I was looking for,” said Mr. Ronin. “I may very well be back in Pictou County should this place sell once the renovation work is completed. I’m actually scouting a property in Eureka. I can’t help but get a smile on my face when I think of living in a community called Eureka.”
In July, 1999 my wife, Margaret Dyane Haggart-Ronin, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We were living in Vancouver, she a teacher, me a middle-management hack. We were informed that she had several weeks to live. True to the diagnosis, Dyane passed away on September 27, 1999. She had been born in New Glasgow and wished for her cremated remains to be buried in the family plot at Little Harbour Presbyterian Church.
Prior to flying Dyane's ashes to Nova Scotia for burial, I had never been east of Montreal. During the week that I was in New Glasgow for the funeral, something "grabbed" me. Whatever that "something" was, I can only liken it to a combination of people and place. When I returned to Vancouver, I started searching properties online and ended up buying a cabin, sight unseen, in River John in March, 2000. Over the next year I sold off most earthly possessions, stitched together a solid exit strategy from my desk job, and made the move to Nova Scotia in September, 2001. The five cats got piled onto a plane and I followed with pick-up truck and trailer.
My little cabin in River John was to be a grand sanctuary for the next several years and the birthplace of Abel's Canes Company. In the evenings during the first year after Dyane's death I had started "toying" with the idea of making hand-crafted canes. It kept me somewhat sane and kept the walls at bay. In time, I arrived at the conclusion that I was onto a fairly solid business idea. As it would happen, five days after I arrived in Nova Scotia the world was desecrated with 9/11. The province's tourism industry has been in decline ever since, not exactly the best business environment for a hand-crafted product. During my first year in Nova Scotia, Abel's Canes Company generated $16 in revenue (a gas rebate) and three very lovely ribbons (a first, a second, and a third) at the Truro Agricultural Fair.
A blind faith in the product and in its market, coupled with the necessary perseverance, has delivered today a solid recognition for the company not only in Pictou County, but with craft retailers across the Maritimes. (As an eco-libertarian, you should know that even considering applying for any type of government grant is out of the question.) A recent business venture is the launch of Arrowhead Wood Putters. As should be evident, I am not a rich man. I am a simple cane maker.
After several years of living in Pictou County, establishing a business here, and making friends and business acquaintances, the real estate market made me an offer that I couldn't refuse. In the summer of 2006 I sold my cabin in River John. After viewing several properties in Pictou County, the type of property I was looking for I found in Pugwash River, Cumberland County. This is where I now live.
With a couple of years of sweat capital to renovate, I will likely be in a position to sell and move on again, quite possibly back to Pictou County. With the Nova Scotia tourism industry on the ropes (my business is dependent on an "off shore" currency), it has been necessary to develop a business fall-back position. Home renovation for the retirement market is my choice for that contingency. I create my livelihood on a daily basis. No government is responsible for my survival.
Have I been a life-long resident of Pictou County? No, but certainly longer than a 20-minute photo op.
In general, I value my privacy and anonymity. The interpersonal dynamic of suck-holing for political favour nauseates me to no end but, fortunately, I know it's not about me; it's about principles and a few ideas. This thing that has been done in Central Nova by May-Dion is such an outrage that something needs to be done to thwart it. My independent candidacy is one effort of possibly several underway to accomplish such.
My in-laws live in Pictou County. I have nurtured a business here. I have friends and business associates here. My wife's remains are buried in the soil of Pictou County. At some level known only to myself that makes my relationship to the County sacred. As such, I have the right to challenge what I consider to be a political profanity.
Green Party of Nova Scotia
5665 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, NS B3J 3S9
Dear Ms. Perry:
By issuing an invitation to Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, to address the GPNS AGM, May 4-6, 2007, I can only assume that the GPNS endorses Ms. May’s highly unethical political conduct in Central Nova. I refer, of course, to the unconscionable and undemocratic May-Dion pact of withdrawing the Liberal candidate from Central Nova for the pending Federal election. I consider this action to be an act of electoral theft from the Liberal voters in the riding. I believe the political consequences shall reflect the motives and the action of the May-Dion pact.
Furthermore, if I am a shareholder of Company X, when attending the Company X AGM I do not expect when entering the meeting room to be confronted with the banner and logo of its direct competitor, Company Y, nor to be subjected to an address by the Company Y CEO. Such would be a ludicrous situation.
Until such time as the GPNS shows the conviction, wisdom and courage to forge its own identity with its own political philosophy and mandate, free of its “dysfunctional” co-dependency to the GPC, I am withholding, though not withdrawing, my support of the GPNS, my boycotting of the GPNS AGM inclusive. As such, I request that all motions carrying my name addressing the GPNS Constitution, Bylaws and Policy be pulled from the GPNS AGM Agenda.
As a member in good standing of the GPNS, I shall keep myself apprised of the Party’s development, beginning with the decisions that come out of the AGM.
As my posts to the Party’s policy development forum were by far the most visited and, as a courtesy to the general membership explaining my absence from the AGM, I ask that this letter be distributed to all GPNS members.
Sebastian E. Ronin
On March 7th, The News published a letter of mine (Interesting to muse what’s behind May’s decision), postulating that Elizabeth May’s decision to run in Central Nova could be the predecessor to her jumping ship to the Liberals and being rewarded for running against Peter MacKay with the Environment Ministry in a future Liberal government.
In light of the May/Dion candidate exchange that has been crafted between the Liberal Party and the Green Party of Canada (GPC), it seems that I was slightly off: rather than Ms. May crossing over by herself, it seems that she will now be taking the entire GPC with her. It will not be much of an amalgamation (one year? two years?), but more like a snack and a burp for the national Liberals.
Prior to this letter, out of courtesy to the Green Party of Nova Scotia (GPNS), I did not identify myself as a member of the GPNS. On political principle, I am not a member of the GPC.
As of March 6, my candidacy to stand for the leadership of the GPNS had been rejected on technical grounds by the GPNS executive. Go figure, eh? The GPNS executive decision is pending legal review, and possible action, on my part.
It would seem to me that the last thing the GPNS executive would want is a leadership candidate addressing the general membership on the following: 1. the GPC has sold provincial Green parties down the river; 2. it is a political imperative for provincial Green parties to own the core Green principles of bioregionalism and decentralization, and; 3. it is imperative for the GPNS to extend the commercial designation of Atlantica into a political designation.
Should one do a search on the GPC web site for the terms “bioregionalism” and “decentralization” the result is a fat zero. I liken it to the Green historical psyche having undergone a lobotomy, the political term for the latter being purge. It is little wonder that a “technical glitch” stands in the way of my leadership candidacy for the GPNS.
The GPNS AGM and policy convention will be held May 4-7 in Kentville.
Re the interview with Elizabeth May, I would like to raise the following.
To claim that Nova Scotia’s declining tourism industry is directly related to Peter MacKay, as per her comment, “That’s a direct area for which Peter MacKay is responsible in terms of U.S./Canada relations,” is a simplistic response and reveals a serious misunderstanding of the myriad of factors that are contributing to tourism’s decline. Ask any gift shop merchant on Provost Street what is happening with tourism and you will get a more knowledgeable answer.
In responding to the question about bio-regions and decentralization being the two philosophical pillars of Green political conduct, Ms. May performs a neat dodge by not really answering the question, then states, “We need an effective federal government. We're not going to dismantle the federal government in preference to decentralization.” Spoken like a true Liberal! Let’s not forget that if the national Liberals had their way they would be passing legislation, with accompanying monstrous bureaucracies, to accompany Canadians to the bathroom. If you think the rifle registration was a colossal boondoggle, wait until environmental initiatives come along, irrespective of the federal political party sponsoring such initiatives.
Lastly, to cast herself in the tactical light of the late courageous and humble Chuck Cadman is a travesty. To his dying breath, Chuck Cadman represented the wishes of his riding constituency. This is a far cry from treating the Canadian electoral map like a shoe store.
In many ways, I am picking up from where I left off 20 years ago with my resignation from the first Green party founded in the Americas, the Green Party of British Columbia. At the time of my resignation, I sat on the GPBC Executive and was a candidate-elect for the upcoming 1986 provincial election.
It is my belief that:
Ø The liability that the GPNS carries by entering the world of Green politics so late can be inverted to become the Party’s greatest asset.
Ø The GPNS must get back to “Green” basics by embracing the core political doctrines of bioregions and political decentralization.
Ø The GPNS will arrive at political maturity only when the public no longer perceives it to be leftist in nature.
It is in defense of the latter principles and in owning the political potential which they hold that I allow my name to stand for your Leadership.
Should you entrust me with your vote, I shall work diligently in collaboration with the Executive to accomplish the following:
Ø Earn the recognition, respect and trust of the Nova Scotia electorate.
Ø Triple the Party membership.
Ø Work towards winning three to five seats during the next provincial election.
As an exercise in raw democracy, I now leave it up to you, the membership, to put forward a running mate for my candidacy. If no one has stepped forward as a running mate by April 27, 2007, then my nomination evaporates. Should this vision for the future evolution of the GPNS in Atlantica proceed towards a membership vote is now in your hands.
This is the historical era in which we live. We all carry the terrible incentive to see clearly and act accordingly.
Sebastian E. Ronin
Candidate for Leadership
Green Party of Nova Scotia
One has to wonder about Elizabeth May, the Green Party of Canada leader, choosing to run in Central Nova in the pending federal election. Surely the motive is not to win, based on the meagre 1.5 per cent Green vote in Central Nova during the last federal election. So then just what may be going on here?
As reported by the CBC, it has been rumoured that the federal Liberals and Greens have been hunkered down in the back room discussing “ways to unseat the Conservatives in Central Nova.” A look at the Central Nova numbers from the last election offers the following, hypothetical scenario.
Based on the numbers from the last election, should any combination of votes taken from the Conservatives and NDP by the Greens equal 10 per cent, eg. three per cent and seven per cent respectively, while the Liberal vote is “encouraged” to hold pat, then that would put the Liberal candidate and Conservative Peter MacKay neck-and-neck at about 35 per cent. At that point, it becomes anyone’s ball game. So has a deal been struck in the back room allowing the Liberals to be realistic contenders in the riding while savouring the plum of possibly taking out the Minister of Foreign Affairs? And if yes, then what might the payback be for Ms. May for her role?
If I had a political imagination I would venture the guess that the payback is the Ministry of the Environment, should the Liberals come to office, once Ms. May makes the jump, that is. Based on this hypothetical scenario, I give it a year, maybe two.
With all due respect to Ms. May as an astute politician, I would venture the guess that she is wise enough to see that, if anything, the GPC will max out at some future time at a very optimistic 10 per cent and then begin to spin its wheels. Part of this wisdom may include acknowledgement that any hope of a Green political future rests at the decentralized regional level…just as Green philosophy has always meant it to be.
Now only if I had a political imagination would I be putting forward such outlandish thoughts.