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Letting the Greens into the club is a test of our democracy.

September 8, 2008

Looks like it has been decided. The Green party will not take part in the national televised debates.  We’ll see if that changes.  But the consortium of tv networks, that decide this, don’t want to risk the other leaders not showing up (as they’ve threatened) if the Green party leader Elizabeth May is present.  So they’re not inviting her.

All I can say is: Unbelievable!

The Greens have steadily grown in support and now actually have an MP.  This and the fact that the environment is just a big concern right now makes it clear they should be in the debate.  But they are not a single issues party.  They have a full platform with a focus on the environment and some fairly progressive conservative economic policies.

I really think the parties were bluffing, if she was in all teh debates, they’d show up, what are they afraid of?  Democracy apparently.

I understand why the NDP don’t want her, they eat into their vote, but it looks so cynical, and to say that its because Jack Layton is running for Prime Minister is silly.  We have a parliamentary system, no one is running for Prime Minister, you are all running for MP, even you Jack, especially you Jack.

Who said that a party must have a real chance of winning in order to be valid?  We’re one of the only parliamentary democracies in the world that has this strange delusion.  And somehow we maintain this delusion in the midst of the existence of the Bloc.  They really really don’t want to form the government!  They want a lot of say, but they are completely uninetersted in running candidates outside quebec or forming government.  So how is a party that consistantly represents 5-8% of the country any stranger?

There does need to be a bar for entry to the debates but by any reasonable measure the Greens have passed it.  Our democracy needs to be reformed and part of that is allowing smaller voices to be heard.  Obviously the old parties are afraid of that.  But you can’t just ignore 5% of the population, espeically in minority times when 5% or 8% could make a difference in the governming party.

Any party leader that doesn’t support the Greens on this, will not get my vote.  Makes for a pretty limited choice right now.  But maybe they’ll come around yet.  If we all complain enough.

UPDATE: We passed the test.  On Wednesday the NDP and the Conservatives dropped their objections to the Green Party being present at the debates.  I’m very proud of my country today, it was the resonable choice.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. toneroo permalink
    September 9, 2008 3:58 pm

    While I’m not 100% decided as to whether May should be included. Let me play a little devil’s advocate.

    Currently, the Green party has no MP’s who were elected on the Green party platform. Their only MP is a converted Independent/Liberal. So let’s say that person counts. That gives the Green party 1 member out of a possible 308, the percentage that works out to is minuscule (less than 1/2 of a percent). Contrast that to the BQ (whom I don’t think should be in the debates) who have 48, which is, well, 48x the number of elected members. Should we deny a party that can successfully get 15+% of the total seats in the house of commons? And especially how could we deny them if we allow a party that can’t even get 1%? You have said there should be a bar for entry, what should that be if it isn’t elected representatives?

    You also mention popularity. Everyone in Canada knows that you don’t have to be the most popular party in order to win even a majority government, never mind a minority. While the Green’s may get 5, 8, even 10% of the popular vote, if they can’t convert that popularity into seats in the House of Commons they have no influence even in a fragile minority.

    I’m leaning toward the side that says no seats, no debate. Elizabeth May has plenty of opportunity to get her word out. Although she isn’t using every means possible (why aren’t they using RSS, Twitter, Facebook?). Personally I take very little from the debates anyway. It is just a bunch of people giving canned answers to questions that they have answered 100 times previously. Elizabeth May could be creative and spend her time and effort getting her message out while the others are arguing over who was to blame for the failure of a law that was passed 15 years ago. A leader’s performance in the real world holds a lot more weight with me than the debates.

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