A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Conservative MP Declines Debate

Bruce Grey Owen Sound MP Larry Miller is declining an invite to take part in an all candidates debate sponsored by the Owen Sound and District Chamber of Commerce.
He says he will be declining to participate in any all-candidates meeting that follows the traditional format, one he says simply does not work. He says he would prefer a format where each candidate is given a few minutes for opening statements and then they go to a corner and take questions directly from voters.

And so it starts where Conservative candidates, many of whom avoided all candidates debates in 2011, play follow the leader and will only “debate” where the format suits them. Certainty in smaller communities where a limited number of voters show up for such debates the ability of voters to directly ask the candidates questions is helpful but with much more than a handful of folk present the table to table private chats that Miller prefers is hardly practical. Such a format also permits candidates of any party to make promises and assertions without being challenged by their opponents and without the press being able to properly cover such statements.
We wonder if Mr Miller is perhaps not so comfortable spouting the lines provided by the PMO and various ministers, wants to avoid making publicly embarrassing statements as he has in the past or simply cant remember his lines! Certainly there is nothing wrong with requesting changes to debate format but to avoid debates that dont suit your personal preference seems to very much reflect the conservatives and their leaders mind set of my way or no way.

The Conservative MP issued a statement in May of 2011 just after his re-election to Parliament, saying these debates have simply become a contest between candidates to see who can get the greatest number of supporters out to cheer and jeer. He says they are only attending to cheer louder than the supporters of other parties or embarrass another candidate with planted questions. Miller says this was made clear to him at a debate during the last campaign when he asked the crowd of 300 people if anyone was still undecided on who to vote for, and only about a dozen people put up their hands.
See his letter to the Editor and hear his statement to Bayshore news.

Look for much more of this sort of attempt to control the dialogue from the Conservatives as the election approaches and increased pressure is put upon all candidates to put their positions before the public so that they can make an informed choice.

UPDATE June 24th

Miller now says he'll take part in the one urban debate in Owen Sound on October 1st and likely one rural one. However he says he won't take part in a series of debates like there was in 2011. He says the fact that the debate will be televised several times by Rogers means it will be available to people who normally can't get out to these meetings and that swayed his decision.

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers


Owen Gray said...

Heading for the closet, Rural. It's beginning to look like Standard Operating Procedure.

Rural said...

I dont think that hiding from public debate is going to work this time, Owen!

Unknown said...

It's amazing Rural. What government sets out to hide discussing it's policies and it's record from the Canadian public during an election campaign? This constant avoidance of transparency reveals a behind the closed door governance. Canadians are starting to ask what is Harper and his cronies hiding? The answer is a lot! In fact almost everything they do. I agree, I don't think hiding from public debate is going to work this time. This is another way of Harper giving the finger to the majority of Canadians.

The Mound of Sound said...

I suspect Larry is just hoping to get closer to the buffet table in the corner.

Lorne said...

Only when they can parrot the regime's ideological talking points are they comfortable, Rural; engagement with actual ideas and contrasting perspectives is anathema to the whole lot of them I hope the voters see their cowardice for what it is.

Rural said...

Pamela, Lorne, Indeed real conversation and debate are the last thing they want, witness the "debates" and the restrictions of them in the House and in Committee!

Mound, LOL He certainly seems have kept pretty close to it in the past!

Kirbycairo said...

Of course, this strategy is generally only conceivable when someone is in government. When the fascists are finally out they will be chomping at the bit to get more attention from voters and the media. I have an acute sensation that Karma is catching up with this particular set of rogues. Even the media (to whom they all all three of the electoral victories) have turned on them and provided they don't stage a coup they will eventually be out on their ears and then we will see them everywhere screaming and pontificating, trying to get more attention and back to their old complaints that it is all a liberal media conspiracy.

Rural said...

As soon as the media stop publishing their spin without question and provide even coverage I expect that media conspiracy thing to start surfacing, Kirby.