Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Fighting Greens vs. the Panicky Tories

It's really quite astounding - the lengths we in the Green Party of Canada have to go to to get the mass media to include our leader in the nationally televised debates for the upcoming election.

Not only did we register a domain name ages ago as a rallying point for democracy loving Canadians to help us petition the TV bigwigs for a seat at the table...

Not only did we field a full slate of 308 candidates in the 2006 federal election...

Not only did we embrace a previously independent sitting MP into the party fold to prove GPC representation in the House of Commons...

Now we are taking the unprecedented step of hiring a lawyer to press the case to the CRTC.
Former party leader Jim Harris said the Greens won't hesitate to resort to court action if current leader Elizabeth May isn't allowed to participate.

"We're going to allow the broadcasters the chance to do the right thing," Harris said at a news conference.

"This is pre-emptive, to say, 'If you do not do as you should, then there will be legal consequences."'

If the group of major broadcasters that organize the debates refuse to give May a spot, Harris said the party will file a complaint to the CRTC.

Should the federal broadcast regulator rule against the Green party, a judicial review of the decision will be sought, he said.

The party said the broadcast consortium - which includes CBC Radio Canada, CTV, Global Television and TVA - exercises "carte blanche control" over who participates in the debates, but lacks clear criteria for inclusion.

Harris said it would be a "very good thing" to have laws spelling out the rules for inclusion in the debates.

"We should have criteria such as major support in polls across the country, such as running in all ridings, these are pretty simple criteria, objective criteria, and yes, we should have them," said Harris.
And how do the Harper Conservatives respond? By their own novel (read:"twisted") logic, the GPC's Elizabeth May cannot be present alongside the Liberals' Stephane Dion since they don't hate each other as badly as the Conservatives would like. From the CBC report:
The federal Conservatives are seeking to block May from the debates, citing a deal struck by May and Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion where they agreed not to run candidates against each other in their respective ridings.

"You can't have one leader onstage that has already endorsed the candidacy of another and signed an electoral co-operation agreement," Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said.

"When it comes to the debate, they can have May or they can have Dion," he said. "But they can't have both."

It has been a normal practice in the past for political parties to occasionally not run candidates against rival parties' leaders.
To present such a laughably ridiculous argument must mean the Cons are really scared of what might become of a truly formidable opponent like May taking Harper on in front of a live TV audience.

Here's another good reason to include the Green Party of Canada: how many other parties grew their support by 100% since receiving 4.5% of the votes tallied in 2006?

And how's this for a good reason to include Elizabeth May: as the only female leader of a national party, maybe it would be nice to see some diversity up there, eh?

Or can't four white guys handle it?

If you think they can, why don't you make your opinion known to all the major Canadian TV media by signing our petition and helping us fight for democracy in this country. After all, we know that's what most Canadians want to see!

And if you're interested in making your voice heard over at the CRTC, here's where you can do that.

My fellow Canadians, I thank you.

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