Networks Say No To Green Party of Canada

Posted Sep 8, 2008 by Bob Ewing
Canada's broadcasters have decdied that Green Leader Elizabeth May will not participate in the leaders' debates during the federal election campaign,
Elizabeth May  leader of Canada s Green Party
Elizabeth May, leader of Canada's Green Party
Canada's broadcasters have just made a decision that will make my decision who to vote for in the October 14 federal election all that much easier.
The networks have decided that the Green party leader cannot participate in the nationally televised debate. So this means Elizabeth May will have to watch as the other party leaders, all of whom have expressed their opposition to May's participation, debate.
"It became clear that if the Green party were included, there would be no leaders' debate," the network 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."
May came out firing against the decision, saying her party "may have to take further steps" and will consult with legal advisers about a possible court challenge or injunction against the debate taking place without her.
"I think it really is appalling that the media consortium is willing at this point to rewrite the rules," a defiant May said.
She said the Greens are fielding 306 candidates across the country to run "against all those parties that don’t want to see us in the debates."
May also dismissed the consortium's explanation that her presence would cause the other leaders not to show up.
"I don't think Canadians will accept this for a minute," May said.
"It's the decision-making of a small group of TV network executives, and to do so without clear rules that are transparent and predictable and applied fairly really is anti-democratic."
The parties that will take part in the debates, which take place on Oct 1 and 2, are the New Democrats, the Liberals, the Bloc Québécois and the Conservatives.
Both the Tories and NDP had referred to a deal struck by May and Dion, in which they agreed not to run candidates against each other in their respective Nova Scotia and Quebec ridings.
"My leader, Jack Layton, is running to be prime minister and so are the leaders of the other parties," Byers told CBC News on Monday from Vancouver.
"This is a leaders' debate. It's not an environment ministers' debate."
"Elizabeth May is not an opponent of Stéphane Dion," Harper said.
"She is his candidate in Central Nova, and I think it would be fundamentally unfair to have two candidates who are essentially running on the same platform in the debate," Harper said at a campaign event in Richmond, B.C.
Harper expects May to endorse the Liberal party before the end of the campaign.
"We are cutting into his base," May said.
"And frankly, the notion that I would go into debates as someone to cheer on one other party leader is absurd."
Dion apparently would have welcomed the presence of May, but he would not participate if Harper were to boycott the debates.
"I will say that I would like her to be there," Dion said.
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said Monday he feels strongly that the Greens should not be included in the debate because they have not elected an MP to Parliament yet.
The Greens stated they would lodge a complaint with Canada's broadcasting regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and might launch a court challenge if excluded from the debate.
Well, strike a blow against democracy with this choice and hopefully, the Greens will make full use of the Internet to speak directly to the people. This may be a hot election after all.