Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Leaders Debate

I heard from Jim Harris last night that he is disinvited to the leader's debate. I include a portion of his press release:


The decision by the broadcast consortium to exclude the Green Party flies in the face of its previous rulings. Despite having no seats in Parliament in 1993, no official recognition from the Speaker, and only 75 candidates, the Bloc Quebecois was included in both the French and English debates. Preston Manning participated in the 1993 leaders' debate based on the 11,154 votes Deborah Grey won in a 1989 byelection with a 47 per cent turnout. In 1993, they only ran 207 candidates.

In 2004, the Green Party ran a full slate of candidates and won 583,000 votes, over double the Reform Party's performance in 1988. Still, it was excluded from the debate in 2004. The consortium cited the "large number of political parties contesting the 2004 federal election" as a reason to exclude the Green Party from participating in the debate and that five leaders would be unwieldy. But evidently, at least five parties can fit in the studio as they did in 1993, 1997 and 2000. A sense of fair play and the consortium's own precedent suggest that the Green Party should be able to join the debate.


The Green Party receives over a million dollars of taxpayer money because they are considered a "legitimate" party, receiving over 2% of the popular vote (more than double that criteria, in 2004).

I think there is a fear that resides in the Liberal and Conservative parties that their voters will start to flow to the Greens once it becomes more socially acceptable to do so. So they cling to their power, afraid that some political party will come and steal it, and forgetting that the power belongs to the people .. always has .. always will.

This is an unfortunate outcome, but in spite of being shut out last time, more than half a million Canadians voted Green, saying, in effect, these are the values which should govern our country. I have seen polls as high as 9% and 11% so far, more than double the last election. Noone can deny that groundswell.


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Devin Johnston said...

I agree that the Greens should be included in the debates. The problem is that the debates are not run by the Government, but agreed to by the major parties themselves. Since all four of the major parties stand to lose if the Greens get much publicity, it makes it difficult for the Greens to really become a part of mainstrem politics.

This is unfortunate. I don't want Canada to devolve into a two-party system, as in the United States. This prevents real debate on the issues and is a major obstacle for democracy. Even though the NDP stands to lose as much as anyone, I believe we need more parties, not fewer.


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