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May seeks Dion's help in 
defeating MacKay

[PoliticsWatch updated 1:20 p.m. March 22, 2007]

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is seeking Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's assistance in defeating Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay in Central Nova.

OTTAWA  — Liberal Leader Stephane Dion confirmed on Wednesday that he has been having conversations with Green Party Elizabeth May.  
 
However, the Liberal leader was reluctant to talk about how much of those discussions centred around the Grits not running a candidate in the riding of Central Nova, where May plans to challenge Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay in the upcoming election. 
 
When asked by PoliticsWatch after question period if he and May have had discussions about the Liberals not challenging May in the riding, Dion did not deny that such a plan was in the works. 

"Well, Madame May and I have conversations about how we may work together to be sure that this government will stop to do so much harm to our environment and other issues and these conversations for now did not conclude to anything concrete and we'll see," he said.

"We will discuss and see. I have nothing to add for now."
 
May made headlines over the weekend by announcing that she would challenge the popular MacKay, who was also the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party.  

In an interview with CPAC this week, May revealed that Dion made a congratulatory phone call to her after her announcement. 
 
She said that during the conversation the issue of the Liberals and the Green working together to defeat MacKay came up. 

"We're going to try and talk later this week after we get through the budget about whether there is anything that could be done to collaborate in that riding," May told CPAC.

"That came up and that's something that I'm very interested in."

May acknowledges that MacKay represents a major challenge for the Green Party leader in the riding. 

A recent poll rated him the most popular Conservative cabinet minister with Canadians. He has been the MP for the riding since 1997 and his father, a former Tory cabinet minister, also held the riding for years. 

In last year's election, MacKay won 40.6 per cent of the vote and finished over 4,000 votes ahead of NDP candidate Alexis MacDonald who won 32.8 per cent of the vote. The Liberal candidate won 24.5 per cent of the vote. The Green candidate in 2006 won just 1.5 per cent of the vote. 

May finished a strong second ahead of the Conservatives and the NDP in a byelection in London, Ontario, late last year.  

During that campaign, Liberal MP Garth Turner, who was sitting as an independent at the time, campaigned with May. 

Despite his past support, Turner said in an interview with PoliticsWatch on Wednesday that he does not think the Liberals should make any special concessions to assist May. 

"I would be shocked if the Liberal party does not run a candidate in 308 ridings," he said. "I haven't been part of that strategic thinking, if it is there, but I just can't understand why we would do that."

"Elizabeth May may be a really nice person, she's really competent, but she's already made her impact around (Parliament Hill) not even being in the House. I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think Elizabeth is going to win and I don't think she expects to win."

Meanwhile, MacKay laughed off the reports of potential Liberal-Green collaboration against him. 

When asked by PoliticsWatch if he was concerned about the Liberals intentionally tanking the riding to help May, MacKay quipped, "They've been tanking in that riding for years." 

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