Home > Federal, Greens > May Should Not Be At The Leadership Debate

May Should Not Be At The Leadership Debate

April 18, 2007

Well, there used to be a time where I thought that the Green Party should have been in the leadership debates.

With the Dion-May deal, I don’t think they should be anymore.

How come? Simply because how our parliamentary system works.

I think this statement from Wikipedia sums it up well:

The unique aspect of the Westminster system which creates the desire to hold leaders debates is that the party leader is usually the party’s presumed candidate to lead the government, because by constitutional convention he or she will usually become prime minister or premier if his or her party wins the most seats.

So it would seem that the reason why we have leadership debates is that one of the leaders could be Prime Minister, and the requirement of a party having seats before being on the debate imposed by the media consortium would be a signal from the public that there is some relatively significant support for that party’s leader to be Prime Minister.  (As for the Bloc, it would require changes in physical counting laws before Duceppe could ever be Prime Minister, but I guess the fact that he has seats is oddly a large enough signal of support.)

Now let’s bring in May of the Greens.  She has explicitly endorsed Dion as Prime Minister. Therefore it would be unfair to the other parties to have her in the debate, as where all of the other leaders are implicitly pushing for themselves as Prime Minister (we’ll sorta shove aside the Bloc problem here), Dion would have two people pushing for him to be Prime Minister: himself and May.  And it’s not fair for a person to have 2 where everybody else has 1.

So by making the deal with Dion that May did, May has given up any argument for the Green Party to be at the debates.

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Categories: Federal, Greens
  1. janfromthebruce
    April 18, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    If the consortium relented and changed their rules, May would have to agree to participate in both language debates, and not just one. If she wanted to decline one, she would by default decline the other. I understand that Ms. May is relatively unilingual.

  2. April 18, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    And what purpose does Duceppes serve in being in the English language debates exactly?

    Let’s call a spade a spade folks. The NDP does not want May in that debate because they well know a lot of the current Green support is being bled from them more then the other 2 Federal Parties.

    Try to be honest about it when you guys go off on her. That’s the reason the NDP has decided to abandon its democratic values, not because of any unfairness.

  3. Northern BC Dipper
    April 18, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    And what purpose does Duceppes serve in being in the English language debates exactly?

    Honestly, I can’t really figure it out either.

    Let’s call a spade a spade folks. The NDP does not want May in that debate because they well know a lot of the current Green support is being bled from them more then the other 2 Federal Parties.

    From the info I’ve seen, I’m not sure how true that statement is, but repeating it makes it so, huh Scott?

    I’d support the Greens being in the debate, if they were plugging for their own side and not the Liberals. But the Dion-May deal has made it so that May is endorsing Dion for PM, and for Dion to be PM, Liberals have to be elected, not Greens. I can already hear about the Liberals from Dion; we don’t need May to repeat after him.

    That’s the reason the NDP has decided to abandon its democratic values, not because of any unfairness.

    How democratic is it Scott, to have two voices plugging for one Prime Minster when the others can’t do the same thing? I’d say not very. How democratic is it to abandon two riding association without their vote, which is what happens when this type of thing happens in the US? Not very. I’m proud to remain part of a democratic party, where I can vote for my leader and have somewhat of a say in my riding association’s affairs. Can’t say that for your party.

  4. April 18, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Voting for your leader is doing your country a disservice if you live in Central Nova and are NDP. All Jack has to do is pick up the phone and make a similar arrangement with May and we can say the same thing about Greens voting for their leader in Danforth.

    “The broadcasting consortium says that the decision about who is invited to participate in the leaders’ debates is made “on editorial grounds” and explained that in this (the 2006) election, the consortium has only invited the leaders of the four most prominent parties with representation in the House of Commons.”

    If you want to talk about “backroom deals” you don’t get much more “backroom” than the broadcasting consortium deciding which parties will be seen by Canadian TV watchers.

    I think if you read over http://www.demanddemocraticdebates.ca you’ll agree that there are benefits for the country and our democracy if more parties are included in televised leaders debates. Don’t just add the Greens, but add other registered parties. It adheres closer to the Election Act that way, and more information on Canadian representatives isn’t a bad thing.

  5. April 18, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    You say the criteria is that they must be able to be the prime minister. The following people who never had any chance to become Prime Minister ahve been in the leaders debates:

    Jack Layton
    Alexa McDonnough
    Preson Manning
    Stockwell Day
    Jean Charest
    Ed Broadbent
    Tommy Douglas
    Gilles Duceppe
    Lucien Bouchard

    Obviously, the criteria for entrance is not the prospect of a parliamentary plurality.

    What is more, during an election, there are no members of parliament. Parliament is dissolved. So seats in the house cannot be a criteria, as even the Prime Minister does not control a single vote.

    So what is the real reason that all the NDP is up in arms about Elizabeth May?

  6. Northern BC Dipper
    April 18, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Saskboy,

    Voting for your leader is doing your country a disservice…

    So you are against OMOV and the democracy that comes along with it? Well, I guess it is the same mentality that allowed the Greens and Liberals to not consult their members of the ridings affected by a democratic vote.

    All Jack has to do is pick up the phone and make a similar arrangement with May and we can say the same thing about Greens voting for their leader in Danforth.

    Why would he pick up the phone and give up our new title of “Canada’s only National Progressive Party?” Besides, it seems like Layton would not betray those that work for him on the ground in such a manner.


    If you want to talk about “backroom deals” you don’t get much more “backroom” than the broadcasting consortium deciding which parties will be seen by Canadian TV watchers … Don’t just add the Greens, but add other registered parties. It adheres closer to the Election Act that way, and more information on Canadian representatives isn’t a bad thing.

    Yeah, I’d like to see some hard and fast criteria in regards in leaders debates. But at the same time, I really don’t want to hear repeated messages from proxies.

    James,

    All of the people that you’ve listed, with the exception of Duceppe and Bouchard, have been able to become Prime Minister. Now the probability of all of them actually becoming Prime Minister is a different thing all together.

    What is more, during an election, there are no members of parliament. Parliament is dissolved. So seats in the house cannot be a criteria, as even the Prime Minister does not control a single vote.

    Tell that to the consortium.

  7. April 19, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Yeah, I don’t get this meme of “Jack could just pick up the phone and do this”. Um, no. In the NDP we have internal democracy. It’s not perfect by any means but we at least have it. The NDP depends on our volunteers, and they are empowered. One of the things about truly empowered volunteers is that you can’t just throw away their work and shit on them like Dion did to the Liberals of Central Nova. It’s not just a matter of Jack “picking up the phone” – Jack has a responsibility to grassroots NDP members. A responsibility that May and Dion apparently don’t care about.

  8. April 20, 2007 at 11:01 am

    I think members of other parties assume that the Federal Leader of the NDP has the sort of absolute dictatorial powers of the leaders of the Liberals and (evidently) the Greens (not to mention the CPC!). Few seem to understand that the NDP is a federation of provincial and territorial associations, in which the Leader cannot decide not to run candidates on a whim.

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