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Monday, September 08, 2008

elizabeth may should be allowed to join the leaders' debate.

The ruling group of media outlets will not allow Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May to join the 2008 televised Leaders Debate because of opposition from Stephen Harper and Jack Layton. Both Harper and Layton have apparently threatened not to participate in the debate if May was allowed to debate. The Conservative and NDP leaders appear to have an issue with May's support of Stéphane Dion's positions on environmental issues.

The idea that two political leaders would cut out a debate because one political leader agrees with another highlights a major flaw in the mentality of Canada's partisan political system. As admitting that someone else may have a better idea than you is a reality that millions of real Canadians have to come to grips with on a daily basis, perhaps our political leadership should not act so infallible.

Also, at what point in time did Canadians grant private media outlets (with the exception of the CBC, being public) control over deciding which political leaders voters would have access to in a nationally televised debate?

UPDATE: Jason Morris at is blogging in green to protest the media consortium's decision.


Anonymous said...

No directly elected seats, no voice.
Simple decision.

Even Dion said he would not attend the debate (if Harper won't show).

Best to have a debate with the main candidates, than no debate at all.

Also, maybe May should pull a 'Santos' and throw her own debate across the street?

janfromthebruce said...

Apparently, Layton did NOT SAY he wouldn't participate if May was included:
The facts are that Harper said he wouldn't debate if May was included; and
Dion said he wouldn't be at the debate if Harper was a no-show.

why the spin - doesn't fit with the Dion-May narrative?

Personally I would like May in the debate, explaining her social conservative views, would be most interesting.

Ryan said...

As undemocratic (and straight-up ridiculous) as this is, it's going to result in better publicity for the Greens than if May was to participate in a debate. I don't have the desire to watch four leaders beg the question with one another — let alone five — for an hour or so. But I'll read the paper the next day, and May will be there more prominently than if she was involved in the debate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you've constructed a lovely argument however the premise you argue against is in fact BS.

Harper's concern was not that May merely agreed with Dion on a single issue (environment), but rather that she is, in effect, the Liberal's candidate in Central Nova.

Also Jack Layton has always said he would be happy to debate Ms. May. Show me proof that he threatened to pull out of the debates? Harper said he would no show, Dion said he wouldn't go if Harper didn't, and the seperatist traitors may or may not have threatened to no show as well, but no Canadian should give a sh*t about them at this point anyways.

Please stick to the facts Dave.

Also, anonymous #1 is absolutely correct. Admission to the debates is as simple as winning 1 seat in the prior election. If an independent Quebec DJ can manage that feat, shouldn't the entire Green Party and their 600,000+ voters be able to pull it off in ONE of the 308 ridings in the country?

Oh wait, that's too hard? Ok Ms May, the lineup starts over there, behind Natural Law and the Rhinos.

Anonymous said...

You can visit to sign a petition to pressure the Broadcast consortium to make sure that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is included in the leaders' debates. You can also let the broadcast consortium know of your disagreement by contacting them at:

John Cruikshank, Publisher, CBC news
(416) 205-6300

Robert Hurst, President of CTV News

Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of News Canwest Global
(416) 967-1174

Pierre Dion, President, Groupe TVA Inc.

Ronald Cohen, National Chair, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
P.O. Box 3265, Station D Ottawa, ON K1P 6H8

Glenn O'Farrell, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Broadcasters
P.O. Box 627, Stn. B Ottawa, ON K1P 5S2
613-233-4035 ext: 326

democracy now said...

It shouldn't matter whether the Green Party have met a standard set by an unaccountable media cartel. What matters is that the Greens have now become a recognized participant in Canada's national political debate.

Plus, there are plenty of examples of smaller parties with no seats getting to participate in leader's debates:

2001/2005: Adriane Carr - BC Green leader

1991: Gordon Wilson - BC Liberal leader

1997: Pam Barrett - Alberta New Democrat leader

1993: Preston Manning - Reform Party leader

1993: Lucien Bouchard - Bloc Quebecois leader

In 1997 Jean Charest led the Conservatives into an election with only 2 seats. This is only one more seat than the Greens currently have. Charest was invited to the TV debate.

tjk said...

The Reform Party had won a seat prior to 1993.

Ted said...

Ooo, blogging in green!

That'll show em!

daveberta said...

Are Canadian politics so mediocre that we have to rely on the results from a previous election to determine which leaders are worthy of joining the televised debates for this election? It seems to me that the results of the last election are irrelevant to the debate over whether or not the Green Party leader should be included in these debates.

It now appears that after recognizing and giving credibility to the Greens and Elizabeth May over the past year, the media conglomerates have now decided that they are not credible enough to let join the leaders debate. Their having won or not won a seat in the House of Commons is irrelevant, what is relevant is that the Greens are a recognized contributor to Canadian political discourse in this election. This is why Elizabeth May should be included.

Saskboy said...

Janfromthebruce is providing misinformation again. Layton did have handlers admit that he was one of the 3 leaders the CONspiritorium said would boycott the debate because he was too scared to face May in a debate. He also used Harper's excuse that doesn't make any sense because May is a Green, not a Liberal. Elections Canada can verify it for those who remain clueless.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Elizabeth May participating. No matter what the others have about policies and issues, Ms. May's going to sqwack "green." We all know she has tunnel vision and argues one issue, so I'm not interested in what she has to say.

I'm personally sick of it. I'm concerned about foreign affairs, the economy, crime and to a certain extent green. Even Mr. Dion is buying himself out of his carbon footprint. It's all nonsense to me. She's going to do is turn it into a bigger circus than it already is.

In what country do you have 3 national paries, a seperatist only representing one province and Ms. Green with one single policy in a national debate. It's laughable really.