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article imageOp-Ed: Greens Dumped From TV Political Debates in Canada

By Ken Chapman     Sep 9, 2008 in Politics
The deplorable decision to exclude Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, from the Canadian Election television debates is callow, crass and cowardly. TV Execs are hiding behind the political leaders of the Cons, NDP and the Bloc.
I am appalled. The decision by the television network consortium to exclude the Green Party from the debates is reprehensible. They put the blame three of the four political parties for this decision. That is the Harper, the Layton New Democrats and the Duceppe Bloc to be exact. If that is the case, then there lots of blame to go around and Canadian citizens should be outraged.
What are the names, email addresses and phone numbers of these mysterious television network "deciders" Who empowered them to operate behind these closed doors on such matters? I want to know exactly who they are and how to get in touch with them and to give them a piece of my mind directly and publicly.
The news reports say three of the four other federal parties were opposed to her participation. That means everyone by the Dion Liberals. Harper, Duceppe and Layton all threatened to withdraw from the debates if May was included. Shame on them! This is totally unacceptable.
I think it is pure exaggeration and blame shifting for the network consortium to allege that the major parties would not actually participate in an election debate because the Greens were included. Spare me. It that is the case, the consortium should have insisted the three political party leaders make their own announcement and give their reasons publicly. They should be telling us why they want to exclude the Greens and if they are threatening a boycott if she was to be included.
The breathtaking arrogance of these guys is astonishing. Who do they all think they are? The Greens have proved to be a viable and emerging political force in the country. According to an extensive Ipsos Reid Poll of over 4000 Canadians done September 6th the Greens enjoy support of 10% of the nation’s voters.
They are the choice of 13% of BC voters and 14% of Ontario voters and are tied with the NDP in Alberta at 10% support. Harper is losing former Red Tory Progressive Conservatives to Greens - the Red Greens as I like to call them.
The Greens do even better in the urban battleground where the Greens are ahead or equal to the NDP in the critical areas of the 905 and Toronto. Layton and Harper think this is their country. This is even more interesting. The Greens in Harper’s hometown of Calgary are at 13% support. That is more than double the NDP who languish at 6% Calgary support.
Last election the Greens ran a full slate meaning anyone in Canada could vote for them. Duceppe’s Bloc only runs Quebec candidates, meaning a limited number of candidates and only Quebecer can vote for them. This is a national election, not a Quebec election. Given the limitations of the Bloc’s participation, should the consortium should disqualify the Bloc’s participation too? Of course not! Quebec separatists have even qualified and served as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. And then they say the Greens are not even eligible to merely participate in an election debate. Unbelievable. Shame on them.
The MSM is out of line - way out of line. If they are telling the truth about the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc threatening to boycott the debate if the Greens are in, then they should have had those leaders make the public announcement to exclude the Greens.
If that is not the real reason for the consortium decision to exclude the Greens then the various television network heads should have their heads roll. Who do they think they are? How dare they presume that they get to decide who we citizens get to see and hear in a debate about OUR future and in OUR election. This is not a cheap realty TV show. It is about the deciding the very nature of the country. It is not about a bunch of anxiety riddled political leaders who are better at gamesmanship than governing.
This election is not just about producing a mediocre television program. It is not even about the political parties or the political leaders. It is about citizens becoming engaged and informed to make a considered decision about who they will trust with their consent to be governed. An election is one of the most important events in the lives of engaged citizens.
It is not the job of the television networks to make or manipulate such a decision. They have shown with this decision that they are prepared to abuse their privilege of the social license to operate their broadcast business over OUR airwaves. Shame on all those involved.
Get real guys and immediately reverse this stupid decision. If those arrogant political leaders and their parties refuse to participate if the Greens are involved May then cancel the damn debate. The three political parties and their arrogant leaders would not dare pass on the television debates. It is just too critical for them in the larger scheme of things.
If they do end up boycotting then let them. The Blogosphere will step up and take over the responsibility to fully inform the public about what is really going on this election.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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