Elizabeth May RIP

Elizabeth May, Canada’s Green Party leader, behaved so badly it finally had to be noticed. About time.

Although the annual Ottawa Press Gallery Dinner is known for its unorthodox speeches, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May cast an awkward pall on the proceedings with an extended speech that ended with her being led off the stage.

Elizabeth May overdid it. She was awkward, emotional, hot-tempered, rambling and out of tune with the emotional context of the Press Dinner. So what else is new?

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I recall her in the Munk debates on global warming a few years ago. She was debating Bjorn Lomborg and Viscount Monckton of Benchley. Lomborg’s view was that man-made global warming is occurring and it is about 100th on a list of one hundred problems the world needs to solve. Despite the fact that one look at Christopher Monckton’s snooty face would make you long to punch it, Elizabeth May had the shouting meltdown at Lomborg. Quite out of control with wrath.

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Christopher Monckton  Bjorn Lomborg

The debate organizers had to silence her microphone so that she could not be heard. So why was the inoffensive gay vegetarian Dane more offensive to May than the snooty, witty hereditary peer?

I do not know, but I have met Elizabeth May types all my life.

They frequently have families, which they terrorize. Dutiful husbands cast their gazes downwards as the wife goes into yet another tirade. They are never in doubt. They feel it is vitally important to save the planet, and that by a diligent effort to recycle, and use paper bags rather than plastic (or is it the other way around?), and with a bit more effort on all our parts – including especially yours – we can avert the ecological catastrophe that your careless and anti-social plastic bags will inevitably cause. And they feel the need to tell you this as you meet in the village store, the church, or by chance on the sidewalk. This is how they converse.

I can think of at least half a dozen bossy-boot women, all past fifty, who have never managed more than their families, and whose default mode is to snap, shriek, bark, and hiss in outrage. All social intercourse with them may be the occasion for their ire and recrimination.  The ecology merely gives them the excuse they need to be overbearing. In another century it would have been sexual impropriety that gave them the vapours. Now it is global warming.

Elizabeth May has been caught out in her default mode. Her toothy smiles and the touching concerns and  kissy-face greetings are a micron-thin layer barely covering her burning rage. She belongs to the Anglican women’s branch of cosmic scolds, and of that tribe of women there is no lack.

One of these days they are going to have to be called on it, and I observe that Elizabeth May had one of those humiliating but necessary moments. I can think of a few other women of that ilk who could also use a similar, well-deserved comeuppance.

Scolding will not make the world a better place.