Monday, September 08, 2008


Elizabeth May has been denied a place in the debates. The NDP is arguing that the Greens are a "one issue party" and May forfeited her chance at a place in the debate by endorsing Dion. The Conservatives are saying May's inclusion is "fundamentally unfair", she is merely a second "Liberal candidate". It's a sad day for democracy.

From a political perspective, I have mixed feeling about May gaining a higher profile. From a strictly principled perspective, May should be in, PERIOD. People assume that May helps the Liberals, because she would be another voice attacking Harper. I think that a simplistic view, because in many ways the Greens draw from the same pool, armed with similar policies, any momentum for May, and the prospects of a further split in the vote, largely works to Harper's advantage. This isn't to say Green support doesn't cut across party lines, but there is no question that there is a real danger of diluting the environmental vote, to the Conservatives benefit. Tactically, May's inclusion is a double edged sword, Liberals need to poach the Green vote, not watch it flower.

I mention my tactical concerns, because I think it highlights the fact that this decision to disallow May from the debates is beyond narrow self interest. If Gilles Duceppe can participate in the debates, then surely a party with a full slate, with ample support, which has now manifested itself in elections, DESERVES to be there. Elizabeth May was screwed, and we all know who the culprits were...

"The consortium of networks, which includes the CBC, said three of Canada's parties were opposed the May's inclusion.

"It became clear that if the Green Party were included, there would be no leaders' debate," the consortium said in a press release.

"In the interest of Canadians, the consortium has determined that it is better to broadcast the debates with the four major party leaders, rather than not at all."

I have heard rumors that the Conservatives threatened to pull out of the debates, should May be included. A complete farce that the networks were bullied in this manner- tell Harper not to show up, and just see how CANADIANS would react to that. Canadians supported May in the debates, the strong arm tactics of some parties were a complete BLUFF. Unbelievable.


Chrystal Ocean said...

This news is disgusting. That three of the parties didn't want May in the debates speaks volumes about their view of what 'democracy' means and the rights of voters.

The Cons have an excuse. No one expects those neocons and Republicans in sheep's clothing to act honourably.

But the once-grassroots NDP hasn't a leg to stand on in its failure to support the inclusion of the Greens in the debates. It was crass partisanship that was at play here, in all its ugliness.

Anonymous said...

This decision by illegitimate backroom media boys, with the connivence of the old parties led by their middle-aged wrinkled white macho politicians, has consolidated my support for Elizabeth May.

If they are so scared of her, she must be onto something.

I am voting Green, as a fully conscious protest vote against the anti-democratic establishment parties and for the future of the Earth.

Steve V said...

I think Harper just made his first gaffe. I'm taking my ball and going home will not play well. Let's not forget, Canadians OVERWHELMING said they felt May should be included. Let's see how this shakes out, if Harper was seen to threaten a pullout, working in concert with others, it's a bad frame.

Mark Dowling said...

not only can Duceppe participate but he can keep May out. However, if Wilson retains his seat on a Green ticket I suspect they will be in next time.

Mark Dowling said...


if anyone was afraid of May it was Layton, not Harper.

Anonymous said...

So we get to watch four middle aged white men shouting at and over each other.....again.
Me, I'll skip the farce.
Two days in, and this election is a bad, boring joke.

May should be in, PEROID!

A Eliz. said...

I thought it was the TV ststions that had their say. Harper is just repeating what someone in his office said. She said she would rather see Dion as Prime Minister instead of Harper.
I think she should have a chance. It is a wonder Layton can get in the debate, because you might have two Conservatives.

Steve V said...


You're wrong. If you listened to Harper today, he almost admitted that he would pull out if she was allowed in. I think the parties conspired against May.

Anonymous said...

This is a spineless affront to democracy. What business it is of these broadcasters to interfere in our political process anyways?

The Greens sit at about 10% in the polls, with more than 1,000,000 supporters in this country - now with an elected MP!

There is one thing that these cowardly power-hungry elites have done for certain - they just created another Green Party voter right on the spot!

The illiberal Corporatocracy that rules our great nation deserves one thing - the boot.

Anonymous said...

Let them know how you feel

Sign the petition

I'll be votng Liberal, but in support of May and the Greens I've decided to give them a donation this week.

Dame said...

Of Course the greens should be included period.
with the 10% popular support it is crime NOT letting her to be in the debate..

The Left is devided badly this is the Only reason con.s are coverning....
how about some kind of Formal Coalition???


JimBobby said...

Whooee! Well Steve, I usually try to be civil and keep the language on a "family man" level but, sorry, I'm lettin' loose. The actions of Harper, Layton and Duceppe are actions of anti-democracy chickenshit bastards. Sonsabitches of the first order.

I'd like to see Dion boycott the debates unless May is included.

The more I think about it, the more I see the invisible hand of corporate manipulation at work. TV is built on needless consumption -- selling cars, vacations, blue pills, ocean cruises, gasoline and gewgaws of every description. The Green Party is built on the concept of reducing needless consumption. Harper, Layton and Duceppe have shown their cowardice and their fealty to corporate interests. This is a disgrace. It is worse than a shame. It shamelessly strikes at the heart of democracy.



northwestern_lad said...

kleimbuch... "The Greens sit at about 10% in the polls, with more than 1,000,000 supporters in this country - now with an elected MP!"

Check your facts please. Blair Wilson was elected as a Liberal, not a Green. The Greens have yet to elect an MP, period.

Anonymous said...

Just exactly who the three parties are needs to be made explicitly clear quickly. Some responders to the story are trying to pretend that the Liberals are one of the three.

Northern PoV said...

Looks good on our guy Dion.
(And very crafty to support including Greens when this was the very predictable outcome!)

RuralSandi said...

Well, there's another way to let them know your anger.

Guess what - the debate is on the same night as the Biden/Palin VP debate....write the stations and tell them that you are going to watch a debate that represents true democracy and not one controlled by Stephen Harper.

That one would be more interesting anyway.

RuralSandi said...

You know what else - for so-called leaders....Harper and Layton are sissies...and it's kind of sexist.

Steve V said...

" the debate is on the same night as the Biden/Palin VP debate"

I wonder how they decided on that night? Accident?

Anonymous said...

Harper doesn't want May in the debates because the Greens are the only party advocating income-splitting, which is a VERY DESIREABLE policy among traditionally-conservative voters.

Income-splitting would be a major tax break for single-income families and would allow a lot of dual-income families to seriously consider becoming single-income families.

Anonymous said...

Also, Harper has a problem with outspoken women and he is trying to improve his ratings with women.

Gayle said...

I think dalestreet may be onto something.

Also, does anyone else find it funny how the CPC and the NDP complain about a coalition between the Greens and the LPC, and yet, on political talk shows, they seem to be building each other up. They actually agree with each other to a large degree, and both parties are running with the same election dialogue.

Big problem to me is that the consortium gave in to Harper. That is just sad.

Steve V said...


They should have told Harper to walk then, rather than cave. Look, if they took a stand, he would be forced to debate or it might cost him the election. It amazes me the way people are intimidated. In the end, it sure helped having the other parties singing from the same hymn book, I bet it was co-ordinated too.

Gayle said...

The other parties are trying to say there would be no point in having a debate without Harper.

I agree it could have been coordinated, but they are prepared to let Harper take the fall for it.

Steve V said...

The media might want to let it go, because they are complicit, but May sure won't.

Steve V said...

Interesting too, listening to the phone in reaction on cspan. A few "fence" sitters are slagging the NDP and saying they will vote Green. Canadians want May in, so this will play badly.

Anonymous said...

I thought I remember the media consortium spokesperson on Duffy live say that three leaders who opposed said they would walk was included. If that is true than it was more than just Harper would be missing. Might have to watch it again.

And for those who say, as Western_lad did, that the GPC has yet to elect an MP. That is true, but not a reason to keep the Greens out. I have read the response by the CBC ombudsman to the GPC complaint at being excluded from the last election. Having an elected MP (or any MP for that matter) is not, nor has it ever been, the excluding criteria. Nor was it listed as the reason in the last election, where the media consortium simply said:

"The decision about who is invited to participate in the leaders’ debates is made by Consortium members on editorial grounds. In this election, the Consortium has only invited the leaders of the four most prominent parties with representation in the House of Commons."

It was not the media consortium, but the political leaders like Layton and Harper who, after the announcement last time made up the excuse that the Greens should elect an MP before they have a spot in the debates.

Out of the several criteria that the CBC says are looked for having a seat is but one of them considered for inclusion or exclusion. Nor is it necessary for a party to achieve all of the criteria (the Bloc never has, neither did the Reform party).

The CBC ombudsman also made clear that the other political parties played a major role in the structure and make up of the debates saying:

"In other words, organizing a televised debate involves negotiations between the broadcaster and the various parties contesting the election. The parties play a decisive role in fact: if there is no agreement, there is simply no debate."

Tthat is for the last election, not this one. "Decisive role." So it may very well be that this is at least the second time that the Greens have been excluded from the debates by Layton, Harper and Duceppe (and possibly Martin last time).

Anonymous said...

northwestern_lad I think you are the one who needs to get their facts straight - the Greens have an elected member - whether or not he was elected as a Green is an immaterial fact. Wilson is still an elected member, regardless of how you want to spin it.

Or would you like to suggest that Harper's own David Emerson and Wajid Khan, plus Garth Turner, and Joe Comuzzi are all also illegitimate - as they all crossed the floor to join other parties?

If you have an axe to grind with floor crossing - that is a separate issue.