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Archive for September 10th, 2008

Let May Debate

I am not a Green Supporter. I am not even sure that the Greens would be my second choice in this election, although they probably would be. I am not a huge fan of Elizabeth May, but she is my favorite amongst the other party leaders. But overall, I believe in democracy, and I think it is abhorrent that May is not allowed in the leadership debates.

The standard for inclusion in the debates should not be some arbitrary seat requirement. The standard should be whether or not the inclusion of someone in the debates would offer relevant information to a large proportion of the Canadian Public.

Polling on this is pretty clear – people want the Greens in the debates. Even biased web polls, like the one on Macleans.ca are sitting at about tied, and that’s with thousands of partisans from the NDP and Tories stacking one side of it (Are Greens stacking the other side – you betcha – but look at party membership numbers). Scientific surveys are way more on the side of the Greens inclusion.

However, polling is irrelevant. People might want to vote for the Greens, and those broadcasters who we gave the Airwaves away to for free owe it to Canadians to show us what the party leaders think. I wonder how many people polled would like to see Gilles Duceppe in the debates? After all, Non-Quebec Canada will NEVER have the opportunity to vote for a Bloc MP. They’ve been able to vote Green for some time now.

Perhaps looking at another standard – that of the taxpayer. How much money are Canadians spending to finance Elizabeth May’s campaign? The Greens cleared that threshold, which no other non-represented party did, and so we, as the taxpayers deserve a chance to see what we are paying for. Many people vote for the Greens as a protest vote, and now that they are becoming an honest to god alternative, perhaps we should no longer be so cavalier.

Finally, historically, this is not unprecedented. Parties are pragmatic institutions (with the notable exception of the NDP, which would not know pragmatism if that particular abstract concept walked up and hit them in the face), and have coordinated historically. In the 1926 election, the Progressive and Liberal parties were so coordinated that they would not run candidates in some Manitoba and Ontario ridings against one another, and in some, nominated Liberal-Progressive candidates, while still running against each other in the rest of the country. Taste that – that’s precedent. I wonder what Jack Layton thinks about the actions of his parties spiritual forbearers.

Notably, Jack Layton stands out in this story as a huge hypocrite. His threats to boycott forced the cable consortium into excluding May, and then when he is caught up in controversy (Sample from Democrat-Jack’s Facebook page – As a 60 year old women who has voted N.D.P. my entire life, you have also just LOST my vote unless you allow the Greens into the debate. It makes you look like a very worried man who is afraid of an open fair debate. Come on Jack, are you really that afraid of Elizabeth May?), he blames the broadcast consortium for making a decision that he himself forced them into.

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