Ottawa – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is calling on all Canadians to demand democracy – again. The television companies, while admitting they have no rules for who participates in the leader’s debate, have attempted to overrule Canadians by barring Elizabeth May. She learned of the decision from a Canadian Press reporter and not from the TV companies.
“They are trying to silence the voices of one in ten Canadians,” said Elizabeth May.
In 2008 Ms. May was initially excluded - according to the TV companies - because the Conservatives and the NDP refused to participate if she was invited. Less than a week later the decision was reversed after tens of thousands of Canadians emailed and phoned to demand democracy. During the last election an Angus Reid Poll found that 73 per cent of Canadians wanted Elizabeth May in the debate.
Troy Reeb, Vice President of News for Global TV and head of the committee of TV companies, also says their ruling is based on journalistic decision-making.
“We do not accept this highly arbitrary decision." Mr. Reeb confirmed to us that they have ‘no prescribed rules.’ They describe the debates as a "journalistic exercise”, said May. “What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one tenth of its citizens? What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party only running candidates in one province had more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding? This decision will not stand.”
The Green Party has retained legal counsel and will be making an application to the court in the next few days should the TV companies continue to deny democracy. Details of the legal application will be provided soon.
“The House was brought down on contempt. This is contempt for democracy,” said Deputy Leader Adriane Carr.
For more information, visit: http://demanddemocraticdebates.ca
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
Saanich-Gulf Islands Communications Director