Canada Votes: Canadians vs. Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, & Networks Consortium

May 2nd, 2011 update: May 2nd Election – How can I forget? #elxn41

Sept 10th, 2008 Update: They finally let Elizabeth in to the leaders’ debate. See my blog entry, Canada Votes: A victory for Elizabeth May and Canadians.

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No one would have guessed the first major battle in the 2008 Federal election would be the question of whether Elizabeth May should be allowed to debate with the other leaders. But stranger things have happened in politics before.

I think the verdict from thousands and thousands of Canadians who called phone-in shows, blogged, emailed, called the broadcasters/CRTC is clear – We think Elizabeth May should be included in the leaders’ debates.

Here are some media reports I found,

  1. Let Elizabeth May speak” – Globe and Mail – Joe Clark, 16th Prime Minister of Canada – Here is an excerpt, “Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for the network consortium, is quoted as saying that three parties – those led by Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe – all opposed the participation of Ms. May in the so-called leaders debate, “and it became clear that if the Green Party were included, there would be no leaders debates.” That’s blackmail. If these three men want to boycott a genuine debate, let them have the courage to do so openly. Let them also explain why, in a year when U.S. party establishments could not shut out an Obama or a McCain, it is appropriate for the Canadian party establishments to muzzle a significant voice for change.
  2. May’s exclusion is unjust, but it probably won’t hurt her” – Montreal Gazette – Here is an excerpt, “As a matter of principle, we have no doubt that Elizabeth May of the Green Party should be included in the televised leaders’ “debates” that have become an essential part of federal and most provincial election campaigns. As a practical matter, however, we’re not convinced that being left out of these events Oct. 1 and 2 will do the Greens any harm.[K: To me, it is a matter of principle. Period. It is up to Ms. May to decide whether participate in the debate helps her or not. Her being excluded is a completely different matter.]
  3. Networks have lost their journalistic backbone” – Toronto Star – Here is an excerpt, “The Green party had a better case for participating in the televised debates of the 2008 campaign than the Bloc Québécois and the Reform party in 1993. Having opened the door 15 years ago to parties that were blatantly not in the running for power, why did the networks not stand up for Elizabeth May in this campaign? In the 1993 election, the established parties were just as opposed to the addition of new debate players as the NDP and the Conservatives are today. They brought at least one solid objection to the fore and it was the fact that neither the Reform party, nor the Bloc Québécois, could claim to be national parties.
  4. May pins hopes on outcry – Green party leader believes court of public opinion over TV debate exclusion will help avoid legal route” – Toronto Star

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