First off, in 2008 I argued VEHEMENTLY for Elizabeth May to be included, so no hysterics please. I'm a bit torn on this decision to exclude May this time out, let me explain why.
On the one hand, all the arguments from 2008 hold, with the added emphasis of more votes in that election, further legitimizing the Green Party as a viable option. It's also true that the Greens didn't secure any seats in 2008, once again, one could argue May had her chance at the national table- that seems to be part of the logic in today's decision. You can pick arguments on all sides, but I want to pull back and think in a wider context.
What do we want out of these debates? I admit, five people arguing, yelling, everyone trying to be heard, stand out from the herd, the format creates a less than optimal presentation for voters. There are simply two many people in these debates now, to politically correct, at the expense of the best discussion. Duceppe shouldn't be in the English debates, but this is Canada, we can't dare offend people that are offended by Canada, go figure. Aside from this blight, maybe we need to pear down the competitors, maybe we need a series of debates, more "head to head" so to speak. Further, maybe we need to dispense with the niceties entirely and give the two guys who can actually lead this country, travel abroad as our elected head, the chance to have a focused discussion. Crazy talk I know, but while it's cute and all that Jack is running for PM, everyone knows it's a farce.
I'm just tossing out ideas. What about an "all candidates" debate, featuring the five leaders, or better yet a series of these debates, involving different participants each time? On top of that, I would love to see, partisan I know, DA HORROR, Harper and Ignatieff actually sit down for an hour and discuss things. The Brits get it with their QP, the Americans system has a focused debate for the top job, but in Canada no seats May is created the same as the Prime Minister. This whole debate about May is braced by a sense of fairness, and yet her inclusion also brings another measure of unfairness.
I don't know what the answer is, but 2008 is in the books and I'd rather not have a repeat of that hog the spotlight, talk over each other, yellfest. Quite simply, the five person format doesn't work, so we need to rethink everything, not just a kneejerk "let May in" reaction. Bigger questions for me, welcome comments.