Leaders' Debate

Elizabeth May

Yesterday, on Power Play with Don Martin,  I began, “déjà vu all
over again.”

Haven’t we been here before?  Didn’t the issue get resolved?

Why did the Consortium say I could not be
included in 2008?  Because, they
claimed 3 of 4 leaders said they would not participate if I were included.  That was the only reason.  So when Jack Layton and Stephen Harper
relented I was included.

This time they have a new reason.  Invitations only go to parties with MPs
in the House.  They are making this
up as they go along.  The debate
decision-making is an  unregulated,
ad hoc process that makes decisions
without benefit of rules or criteria. 
The decision makers are the so-called Broadcast Consortium, as the news
directors from CBC, CTV, Global, TVA and Radio Canada style themselves when
making all the decisions about the leaders' debate.

How can a group of five television
executives decide to exclude a party running in 308 ridings when they include a
party that only runs candidates in Quebec?  How can debates, a critical part of the democratic process,
operate in such a high-handed and arbitrary fashion?  How can a party with the support of one in ten Canadians be
excluded?  And most fundamentally,
how can TV executives tell Canadians that a vote for Green candidates is not a
viable vote?  That is in fact what
they are doing.  Far from
facilitating a full and fair discussion in a democracy, they are interfering in
democracy by dictating what votes are worth casting. What other interpretation
can there be when the news media tells the public what leaders have a right to
be heard? 

Yet, we were the only party in 2008 to
receive more votes than in 2006. 
We had nearly one million votes. 
We are the only party likely to raise important issues, consistently ignored
by others.  We are the only party
committed to “high road” politics, to rejecting the politics of negativity, the
attack ads and the smears. 

Canadians are fair minded.  Over 70% in poll after poll have argued
that the Greens should be included. 
This is not because 70% of Canadians plan to vote Green, but because
Canadians recognize that democracy is healthier when all voices are heard.
Right now, 83% of those who have gone on line on the CBC poll support the Greens
being in the debates.

Canadians know when something is unfair and
wrong.  This decision will be
pilloried by Canadians from coast to coast because it offends our basic sense
of decency and fair play. 

Please help us turn up the pressure.

Sign the Petition at demanddemocraticdebates.ca (which is endorsed by the Green
Party of Canada).


Send emails to:

CTV - Wendy Freeman President of News  and News Managing Editor Dennis McIntosh programming@ctv.ca

CBC Jennifer McGuire General manager and Chief of News  ombudsman@cbc.ca

Global - Troy Reeb  viewercontact.globalnational@globaltv.com

TVA - Serge Fortin rédacteur en chef, au service de
l'information de TVA info@tva.ca
Radio Canada - ombudsman@radio-canada.ca

Thank you!