Tag Archives: Sharon Labchuk

Wasting Years With Elizabeth May

I sent the following e-mail (in italics) to Elizabeth May on, or around, November 27, 2008–two years ago.  I had been heavily involved in the Greens for two years and knew what needed to be done.  While her manipulative supporters said I should shut up and “Stop hurting the party”, this private letter proves that my goal was to help.  The lack of action or response shows that Elizabeth May and her unelected clique hurts the party with their incompetence.

Elizabeth,

My name is Dan Mick.  I have sent you several e-mails in the past, and since this will go to your assistant, I have no way of knowing if you ever receive them or have the time to read them.  Please call me.  I can be a valuable asset.

I have always preferred actions to words, so instead of just a message of support, I will provide what support I can to end the division within the GPC.

While there has been much criticism directed at you recently, you can take some comfort in the fact that the disagreement is not with you personally.  If everything went as it did, but three greens were elected, the party would be unified behind you, as it was when I criticized GPC Organizing in the spring.

In the past, some of the GPC leadership including Jim Harris and Sharon Labchuk, have been quick to silence all who disagree with them.  This has not solved any of the very real problems with the functioning of the party.  The frustration of members that feel they do not have a voice, are calling for a Leadership review to guarantee review of internal GPC policies and operations.  Your replacement is not the goal of the majority of your critics. Greens are unified around the GPC platform.  The only disagreement is on how we can make each point into a law of the land.

The current situation represents a great opportunity for change and growth, but also a threat that could permanently fracture the GPC. Your decisions alone on whether to regard the situation as a threat–or opportunity–will determine the success of Greens in the next general election.

Suggestions

Further attempts to limit or silence criticism will backfire and increase opposition.  Instead, appoint one of your detractors to actively seek criticism and solutions.  This immediately allies you with your perceived opponents.  To expect those that were in a position of authority to investigate their own failures will not produce any positive results.  Someone from outside the current structure will do a better job.

By “seeking criticism” I mean that someone should find all those that have any grievance whatsoever and guide their frustration into suggestion and action.  Part of this process is to allow frustrations to vent.  This will refocus us and increase activity to rebuild our motivation and grow our volunteer base.

Questions for Members:

How do you feel about the past election?

What went poorly?

How do you feel about GPC Organizing?

What can the GP do better?

How do we implement that?

Who else should I talk to?

etc.

We can use the situation to create excitement among Greens.  It may also be beneficial if you would contact some of the more outspoken Greens and listen to their criticisms.  You don’t need to defend or even reply–only listen and inquire deeper with open ended questions so that they know you care about their views and are as concerned as they are.

There has been anger over strategic voting comments, with blame put solely on you.  This is evidence of the GPC’s over-concentration on messaging.  Every riding that received 9-10% (while polling much higher) indicates more a failure of the GOTV effort, than any of your misquoted comments.

Nik Nanos has said that the success of the GPC will be determined by our organizing success.  For polling support to double while membership levels drop during the two-year pre-election period indicates that GPC Organizing is in serious disarray.  Changes must be made in this area to unify the party.

While the group that opposes you is small, they are very determined and they include many of the best organizers in the GP that have been excluded because of their opposition to the methods of Sharon Labchuk.  This group is what the party needs to succeed on election day.  Let’s harness their energy and give them something productive to do.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dan Mick

It is now two years later and the problems are in fact worse.  None of this advice has been taken.  Elizabeth still refuses to speak to anyone who disagrees.  She is weak and incompetent.  Elizabeth May isn’t cut out to be a Member of Parliament or the Leader of political party.  Resign now Elizabeth May.

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E May: Greens “Meaningless”

Elizabeth May, the Leader of the Green Party of Canada has said at the BGM Convention that the 25% decline in the membership numbers are a “meaningless indicator”. Since the members are the party–she just said that the members don’t count.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have two political parties:  Party A has 100,000 members, Party B has 1,000 members.  According to Elizabeth May, Party B is just as likely to win an election, raise money, recruit volunteers, etc.   Wow.

Oh but it gets better….

Elizabeth May wants the “meaningless indicator”–membership–to be six times higher at 50,000… “But it’s not my role as leader to work on that.”  You’re right–it’s Sharon Labchuk’s and she is awful at it and has been awful at it for four years. Please change this.

Elizabeth also says that she would do “a lot” of things differently in the next election.  Like what?  Lie more? Greens and ex-Greens want a Leadership contest specifically because Elizabeth won’t do anything differently.  She keeps making he same rookie mistakes over and over, and anytime someone suggests a new idea they are pushed out because E May and her “friends” are too insecure to take any criticism.

May said getting elected was “top priority” for her… now.  “Up until after the 2008 election was over it had not even been on a list of priorities that the leader getting elected had any particular importance.”  : O Wh–wha–WHAT!?  Oh I see–Elizabeth forgot to try to win last time–just a small error–no big deal–but she’ll win this time…  What was the London North Center by-election about then?  I could have sworn that the goal was to get Elizabeth elected… Was Central Nova a practice run?…

How can anyone still support Elizabeth May?

The Green Party vs. Barack Obama

A few years ago, a man named Howard Dean, ran for the Presidential Nomination of the Democratic Party (USA) and raised more money than any Democrat in history. His visionary Campaign Manager, Joe Trippi, has held seminars for the Green Party, where we given the tools to take advantage of the biggest breakthrough in political campaigning… ever. While the unknown Howard Dean lost the nomination, the campaigned was mimicked by Barack Obama years later.

The ideas of Joe Trippi and Barack Obama is not to put a conventional campaign on the internet. It is a paradigm shift from centralized leadership driven campaigns to a much more efficient, effective and engaging de-centralized campaign that uses the power of social networking. After all, politics and political organizing is social networking.

Compare your own social network on and off the internet and most will realize that they can communicate to far more people–far more effectively by using e-mail and internet based tools. It is especially vital for the GPC given that we do not have any existing networking framework such as churches or unions to use.

We have seen the power of social networks that spread “organically” and exhibit characteristics that are the envy of all centralized groups, such as exponential growth and spontaneous management. The best ideas spread like wildfire, and nepotism is virtually non-existent. People get motivated, excited or even obsessed, by seeing their ideas adopted in a democratic fashion by a political party that actually listens and responds–which is what we all want from politicians.

Under this new system the central party only need to create the framework for the network, offer assistance to users and communicate messages to the network and the network does the rest, as proved in recent US politics. And even people without internet access can still contribute to the group because of the systematic inclusive internal culture that overtakes the campaign.

For the Green Party of Canada to succeed in campaigning we must also be able to raise money. To succeed like Barack Obama and Howard Dean, the GPC must receive hundreds of thousands of $10-$100 donations. Impossible you say?

For the GPC central party to raise one million dollars in one month is impossible. Yet, a virtually unknown Republican Candidate named Ron Paul, used the strategy pioneered by Joe Trippi to raise 20 million dollars in the last quarter of 2007 (More than any other Republican), set the record for the most money raised in a single day by any Republican Presidential candidate in history, and the most money from internet donations in a day by any candidate ever. And the best news for the Green Party is, Ron Paul had only 7% support (among Republicans).

What if we could raise more money than any political party in Canada? We can… Greens across the country learned how to do this two years ago. So what is GPC Director of Organizing Sharon Labchuk waiting for? and why are Greens waiting for her? There is a site started by concerned Greens like yourselves that are working on grassroots organizing. Lets prove to the Central Party that this works. Join here.

I keep hearing from Sharon’s friends, most of whom also have no political experience and have never been part of a winning campaign team, that she is good at her job, though they never site any proof. Let’s assume that Sharon is good at political organizing, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Regardless, one organizer will not win the Green Party–or any Party–even a single seat.

Given the tremendous disadvantage that Greens face as the fifth major political party in the country, most Green Party Members need to become organizers. One hundred volunteers putting in just two hours a week are better than five full-time paid staff. We have all heard “If everyone signed up just one member we would double membership”–except for Sharon Labchuk–as she has made no effort within the last two years to make any attempt at a Trippi/Obama strategy.

In fact, Sharon and the current Leadership has done the exact opposite of the Joe Trippi strategy. Adriane Carr once proudly displayed to me 1970’s NDP campaign material as if it was a break-though for the GPC. It should be no wonder how years of federal funding, a new Leader, increased media coverage and inclusion in the televised leaders debate only improved the election result by 2.3% from 2006-2008.

One of the reasons that the GPC is using an outdated organizing and campaigning strategy is that many in the current leadership are motivated by power and control more than results.

The criticisms of Joe Trippi’s strategy are mostly an example of outdated theories. To counter this, every Green should automatically ignore anyone who concludes that less engagement, involvement, and ideas somehow equals more members, money, votes or seats. It can’t–it won’t–and it never has (at least not in any democracy).

In conclusion, Sharon Labchuk owes it to the Greens that pay her salary to tell the grassroots why she, despite never coming close to electing anyone, thinks she knows more than Barack Obama and the most successful organizers in US politics.

Green Party Organizing Needs Overhaul

Elizabeth May takes credit for doubling poll support since taking over all aspects of the Green Parties operation, but the 6.8% result of the 2008 election is especially disappointing considering that the GPC received 4.3% the first time a full slate was run in 2004, without being in the televised Leaders debate. The question begs to be asked: what would the result have been with a more popular Liberal Leader to run against?

Elizabeth must bear responsibility for bypassing any democratic process and surrounding herself with people who’s only record of success was helping with Elizabeth’s Leadership campaign.

Accountability is the fundamental concept of democracy. It ensures fairness, and quality. The very leadership structure of the GPC is completely unaccountable to the members that are the Green Party of Canada, for the next two years, when there will be a mandatory Leadership contest. All Greens should keep this in mind when they speak of our electoral system being “undemocratic”, or other parties as being “hypocritical”.

The GPC, has appointed Deputy Leaders, no automatic leadership review after an election, there are no performance review procedures, no mandatory benchmarks of success, and no tracking of benchmarks beyond the often disappointing financial figures presented to the Federal Council. Ultimately, the Federal Council’s capitulation to the desires of E. may mean that every employee of the Green Party is appointed by–or approved by one person–Elizabeth May.

Monitoring and reporting of key indicators is rarely undertaken, because very few indicators point to successes. In their place are arbitrarily and deceptive statistical analysis, such as Jim Harris claiming that the number of votes received per dollars spent is the most “efficient” of the federal parties. This ignores the fact that the dollars spent per seats won is 0% “efficient” and the worst of all parties, and it does not include in the analysis that almost all of the increase in popular vote for the GPC could be protest votes that do not in any way indicate success of the Green Party.

This theory is supported by the loss of 2000 members since Elizabeth May took over. Most members would be surprised and outraged to learn membership figures were down 20% from two years ago. This is our fundraising and volunteer base that we depend on during elections. An accountable system would have discovered this and demanded a plan of action form the Executive Director and Director of Organizing, and then monitored progress of the plan and made changes to strategies or staff as required. The result would be a sizable increase in our election success.

In the past, when members have attempted to analyze metrics and to bring these issues forth, they have been shunned, banned, block, restricted, excluded from paid and volunteer roles, and spoken of dishonestly by the oligarchy that inevitably festers in all unaccountable systems.

The success of the Green movement and the implementation of the Green Party platform is more important than any individual friendships, or individual’s ego or job security. As Greens, the victory we seek does not belong to us–it belongs to our earth, our country, and our children. It is for them that I call for the resignation of Director of Organizing Sharon Labchuk.

UPDATE: (Monday, Dec 1 10am pacific) It has taken almost two days for the first vote to keep Sharon to come in. I have attempted to e-mail every candidate, organizer, council member and staff member about this blog. The result is 21-1 in favor of dumping Sharon Labchuk at this time. While this result is not scientific by any means, surely if Sharon had the confidence of members, then it would not have taken over 150 hits on this post to find the first person willing to vote to keep her. The verdict is in and Sharon is out.

UPDATE (Monday, Dec 1 1:20pm pacific) I wonder if supporters (if there is more than two) of Sharon would leave a comment and a name and tell us why they support her?

UPDATE (December 2) Former Leader, Chair of the Federal Campaign Committee, and National Campaign Chair Jim Harris resigns