Home > Federal, Greens > They Should Stop Moving The Goalposts

They Should Stop Moving The Goalposts

September 8, 2008

While I believe that Elizabeth May’s inclusion in the debates would result in an unfair situation in which there would be two people present gunning for Stéphane Dion to become Prime Minister, at the same time I think that it is rather unfair for the television consortium to keep moving the requirements for a political party to be included in the debates.

Let’s look at the requirements in the past:

  • The Reform party got in the 1993 debate on the basis of one elected seat.
  • The Bloc Québécois got in the 1993 debate on the basis on one elected seat and 7 floor-crossers.
  • The Bloc Québécois still gets into the debates considering that they only run for seats in Quebec.
  • The Green Party of BC gets into the BC debates on the basis of having no seats.

So, basically, the requirements to get into the debates is based on whatever random criteria the television consortium decides on at the time, despite whatever lame excuse they use to justify their decision.

It’s high time to remove the television consortium from organizing the debate and give the responsibility to Elections Canada, which could then implement consistent requirements.

PS: I suspect not being included into the debate is going to give the Greens some more publicity than they would otherwise get. The inclusion of the Greens in BC elections doesn’t really result in  that much more publicity for the Greens here, and certainly hasn’t resulted in Green seats.

PPS: I kinda looked forward to having May explain why the Greens did a total 180° on their floor-crossing position. Ah well.

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Categories: Federal, Greens
  1. September 8, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I understand the arguments that you are trying to make. However, if Harper or some of the other leaders do not want to debate May, that is their choice. No one can force them to debate each other. Not even the broadcast consortium. I don’t think Elections Canada could do it either and I personally wouldn’t want it to run debates. Elections Canada should stick to counting ballots.

    If Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion at a local Tim Horton’s in Barrie, Ontario, they could decide to have an impromptu debate with the media present. There is no reason why they should hold their own tongues unless the other leaders joined them.

  2. September 8, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Come on, you’re sounding like Harper! May isn’t a shill for Dion, at least no more than Layton is now being a shill for Harper in preventing May from debating!

  3. September 8, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Sound like Harper? You kidding me? I’ve held that view for over a year now.

    If anything, Harper sounds like me.

  4. janfromthebruce
    September 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    What’s Dion doing shilling for Harper – saying he wouldn’t be in the debate if Harper wasn’t?

  5. September 8, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Good question Jan. So you’re saying Dion is no different from Layton, and from Harper?

  6. janfromthebruce
    September 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Well Layton didn’t say that he would pull out if May was included. Thanks for asking Jeff.

    But there is more to this story which implicates the libs as well as the NDP and Bloc.
    “The Liberal, Bloc Québécois, and NDP camps all say they didn’t threaten to pull out of the debate if May were included, but said they wouldn’t be interested in a debate without Harper.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/politicalbytes/2008/09/debate_fingers_pointed_at_harp.html

  7. September 10, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Scary Dream Conversation:

    Broadcast consortium. “We think we might have to invite Liz to the party? Any ideas on getting out of this mess?”

    Steve. “Oh no, can’t have that, it’ll make Canadians want to learn more about Climate Change and make Stephane’s Green Shift ideas seem sensible. Got to keep people in the dark on that one. Keep ’em thinking Stephane is loony, out there on the fringe, sneaking another tax on ’em. Let’s call her Stephane’s mouthpiece. We couldn’t possibly be able to shift focus away from that issue if there were two parties talking about climate. No. No. No. I don’t want to debate her.”

    Consortium. “Not good enough, could you offer us some help, we can’t exclude her because you don’t want her there. Why don’t you tell us, you won’t come to the debate.”

    Steve. “I, I, …. I won’t come. That’s it, I’m not coming if she shows up. . . . Convincing? I’ll look wimpy.”

    Consortium: “You could say you are having a bad hair day.”

    Steve. “I’m not sure I like this idea. If I’m not there, they’ll all be talking that climate change nonsense and we won’t be able to refute it with our “Science” and economic doom and gloom talk.

    Consortium. “Steve, you won’t really have to miss it, we could get everyone else to say they don’t want to debate Liz too. That way, we’ll surely have to leave her out.”

    Steve. “Won’t we look bad if the public thinks we won’t show up because we don’t want to debate her. We need a better angle.”

    Consortium. “Hmmmmm. The public would go crazy if you all chose not to come to the debate!”

    Steve. “That’s it. We’ll Boycott the debates. That sounds better. Do you think we could convince Jack not to come?”

    Consortium. “Are you kidding. The Greens have almost as much public support as the NDP. The last thing Jack wants is to stand beside Elizabeth. He doesn’t want to get hidden by her shadow. He’ll be in for the Boycott ruse.”

    Steve. “What about the bloc? Help me remember, Why is Gilles in the debate again? After all, only Quebecers can vote for them? Did you ask our party if we’d boycott back then?”

    Consortium. “Oh, no we didn’t bother with that. Nobody across Canada listens when he speaks at the debate anyway. It’s like a commercial break. People need a bathroom break after listening to you boys. Remember, there are no commercials.”

    Steve. “Don’t people wonder why he’s there?”

    Consortium. “Have you ever seen Gilles? He wonders why he’s there!”

    Steve. “Well it’s clear he’ll join the Boycott then.”

    Consortium. “That’s the answer then. Thanks Steve, you’re a pal. So you’ll tell the media that you’d Boycott if we let her in?”

    Steve. “Oh, no, we can’t do that. It has to be the Consortium’s decision to not invite her. And you can’t say that I or any leader in particular threatened to Boycott. That would give the people a place to point the blame. Best to keep the electorate guessing.

    Consortium. “We won’t talk to Stephane then. We’ll get three of the parties to say they’d Boycott. That way, the public won’t be sure where the idea started in the first place.
    After all, you have the most to lose if she’s there. If everyone threatened to Boycott you’d take the heat.”

    Steve: ” . . . and we can’t afford another lawsuit, so we clearly can’t be fingered. If the Greens decide to try to fight this in court, they won’t know who to sue. By the time they figure that out, the debates will be over and we’ll have our majority. The first thing we’ll do is pass a bill that says anyone who has a flower in their logo, is female, lives on an island or drives a hybrid can’t participate in any leaders debate.”

    Consortium. “That will make things easy for the future. Ok, so, we’ll say we decided not to invite her, because some of the parties threatened to Boycott.”

    Steve. “That will work. After all, we wouldn’t want democracy to be put into the hands of the people. They’ll see its better to keep democracy in the hands of you media types. After all you need viewers. You don’t just do this for the goodwill of Canadians. It’s viewership that matters.”

    Consortium. “Not exactly Steve. We hope no one watches the debates. No commercial revenue. We hope people are at home consuming our other media products like print and internet. If Liz is in the debate, viewership would skyrocket. That would be bad for business.

    Steve. “I get it. It’s bad for business and the political elite if Liz is in the debate. It’s bad for the people, democracy and the greens if she’s out!”

    Consortium. “No need to flip a coin on this then. She’s out – for the best of Canadian Democracy.”

  1. September 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm
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