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.
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

National Televised Debate set for October.

The group of networks known as the broadcast consortium, including CBC News, has set the English-language debate for Thursday, Oct. 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET, and the French-language debate for Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET...... despite an ongoing boycott by the Conservative Party.
In a news release, the consortium which includes CTV News, Global News, Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec and CBC News, said the broadcasters maintain their invitation to the Conservative Party, who have thus far declined, to participate.

Some criticism has been heard regarding the time slot allocated, particularly from the western provinces where it will be aired in the late afternoon, however they will also be distributed to all social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Google, YouTube, and CPAC.
A number of other debates have been planned by various organizations some of which have excluded both the Greens and the Bloc. Most notably Elizabeth May has not been invited to an exchange of views on the economy hosted by the Globe and Mail newspaper and Google Canada, nor one on foreign policy planned by the Munk Debates.

May has however agreed to participate in the Aug. 6 leaders debate organized by Maclean’s that will be broadcast on several television and radio outlets and stream via Facebook and YouTube and has received an invitation this week from the venerable Empire Club of Canada to a debate with other party leaders on business and financial issues – the same general focus as the Globe and Google event.
Julian Morelli, Green Party Director of Communications said “The decision to exclude Elizabeth May from the Globe and Mail and Munk debates is unbelievable given that these two institutions proclaim to be fair, open, and unbiased. “Is it coincidental that only parties that support the fossil fuel industry and pipeline expansion are invited to these debates?  Add to this that the Globe and Mail has in the past endorsed Stephen Harper – so it is not a neutral sponsor.

In an effort to shame the two organizations into changing their minds the Green Party has released a series of emails between them selves and the organizers of these debates in which they point out “this upcoming election will be the most unpredictable in history and one that will have a lasting impact on the character and makeup of Canada. At this time, public opinion suggests a minority government is probable, which provides further rationale for the inclusion of the Green Party as another voice in the development and implementation of good public policy.”
They also refer to the letter send by Stephen Harper in 2008 supporting the inclusion of “parties with at least one Member of Parliament elected” where he says:-
“The Conservative Party has always supported the concept of televised national leaders’
debates during a federal election. The only condition that we have attached has been the
participants represent parties with at least one Member of Parliament elected under their
party banner. Having one elected member is not a high bar to obtain and it helps to
ensure that the party leaders represent democratically elected representatives in the
House of Commons.”

How things have change since then, now despite the Greens meeting that criteria and Elizabeth May having led or been a significant voice in the national conversation on a wide range of important issues including C51, FIPA, democracy, proportional representation, accountability and transparency, parliamentary reform, climate change, etc she continues to be sidelined.
This despite the fact that she was also recognized this year as “Best Orator” and in the two previous years as “Hardest Working MP” as well as “Parliamentarian of the Year”.
It is unclear at this point whether Harper and May will face each other directly in any debate and we wonder how much control Harper has exerted over the G&M and Monk debates in this regard, what we wonder is he scared of, guess there is no closet to hide in at the G&M

 Update – It appears that the Macleans’ magazine’s debate scheduled to take place in Toronto on August 6th and carried on City TV and CPAC will include Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May. This is the only debate in which all four leaders are scheduled to attend.

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Owen Gray said...

The exclusion of May is the clearest indication yet that Macleans and the Globe are in Harper's pocket, Rural. I expected better from the Munk Centre.

Lorne said...

The fact that May has been sidelined suggests to me once more of how afraid Harper is of genuine debate. This should send a strong message to all engaged voters.

Rural said...

Indeed, I suspect that all the other leaders are aware of Ms May's depth of knowledge of both parliamentary procedures and the various polices domestic and foreign that each propose which exceeds their own. Its hard to debate someone with a greater grasp of the subject than your self!

Unknown said...

More then any other leader Harper is terrified of Elizabeth May. People should look very closely at what Harper does when he's afraid of something or someone. He hides!

Unknown said...

I forgot to mention Rural, that the G & M and the Munk Centre are sanctioning Harpers cowardice. They seem to thinks it's okay for our Prime Minister to behave this way. Frankly I find it disgusting.

Rural said...

From Con MPs to the G&M those who condone the disdain shown for our democracy are just as guilty as he who does it, Pamela.