ELIZABETH MAY ~ Female Party Leader Excluded From Debates



Where is our basic Freedom of Speech, why the exclusion?


Is there a hidden agenda here? 



Just yesterda,  I read that Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader Canada was excluded from the televised debates that will take place. May is understandably in shock.

“News that I will not be allowed to participate in the debates. In shock at the moment. I will be in those debates,”

May wrote on Twitter.

Marco Dubé, a spokesman for the broadcast consortium that hosts the debates, confirmed the group decided unanimously that a formal proposal will only be made to the leaders of recognized parties in the House of Commons — Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois (http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/03/elizabeth-may-should-the-green-party-leader-be-invited-to-the-tv-debates.html).

Consortium spokesman Marco Dube said Tuesday only the four leaders whose parties are represented in the House of Commons Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois have been invited to take part.

Dube said the five host broadcasters CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA “unanimously decided they wanted to invite the four parties that have representation in the House.”

He declined to explain the reasoning, other than to say “this is a programming decision that we’re taking.

May issued a statement saying the consortium is flat wrong to exclude her.

“They have no grounds to stand on,”she said. “They are making up the rules to please Stephen Harper and Jack Layton. It’s juvenile, old-boys stuff.” She said democracy is the victim.

“What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one-tenth of its citizens? What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party only running candidates in one province had more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding?”

It seems like history is repeating itself. In 2008, the consortium reversed a decision to exclude May after Harper and Layton backed off a threatened boycott should the Green leader be given airtime, and she took part in the federal debate for the first time (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/greens-elizabeth-may-will-fight-broadcasters-decision-to-ditch-her-from-debate-118927234.html). May put in a feisty performance, proving to be an effective thorn in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s side. That helped propel her party to its best-ever electoral showing just over 937,00 votes, or 6.8 per cent of the total but none of its candidates, including Wilson and May, were elected (http://www.fm96.com/channels/newsinfo/localnews/Story.aspx?id=1393406).

“I thought this was resolved in 2008 . . . and now here we are again with a closed-door decision by a group in a corporate boardroom. They have confirmed there are no rules, they have confirmed there is still no criteria; however, they’ve decided that it’s a programming decision that the Greens should not be at the table.” http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Election+2011/4530854/story.html

According to the editorial in the Ottawa Sun, the broadcast consortium has every right to choose which leaders it invites to its televised debates. The choice not to invite Elizabeth May was a bad one.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff believes that May should be present at the debates. The Bloc Party is quite willing to leave the decision to the broadcasters while the NDP spokeswoman, Kathleen Monk initially said the decision was up to the consortium, but issued a later statement saying her party has no problem if May is in the debate. Monk added, however, that the rules should be consistent. “While we do not have a vote at the consortium, we think it would benefit the process to have clear criteria so that this matter is dealt with fairly” (http://www.fm96.com/channels/newsinfo/localnews/Story.aspx?id=1393406). I read elsewhere that NDP leader Jack Layton said he supports May’s inclusion and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suggested he’s not opposed.

May is not taking this lying down. She is determined to be at the debates. She has a lot of support from people who believe that she has a right to be there. Some believe that she is a great alternative to the traditional party leaders. May receives 10% of the popular vote. May is appealing to the public to help fight the decision issued by the Canadian Broadcasting Consortium to bar her from the debates. She says the consortium is even refusing to let her know when and where they are being held.

An independent television station, Channel Zero, has offered to host a debate that includes May, saying the decision to leave her out is “just plain wrong” (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/greens-elizabeth-may-will-fight-broadcasters-decision-to-ditch-her-from-debate-118927234.html).

There are no Green Party MPs and May is hoping to be the first. Let’s stand with Elizabeth May and support her right to participate in the debates. Her voice deserves to be heard too. One man who was upset about May’s exclusion commented that, “The Green Party is a legitimate party that should be a part of the upcoming election debate. All the major parties fail to show leadership in failing to be more vocal about her exclusion.”

Let us be vocal in our anger at the Consortium’s exclusion of Elizabeth May and stand with her as she fights this bad decision. This was an undemocaratic move. Take action! Let’s send a message in this election to the other political parties that this slap in the face will not be tolerated. It is against everything we stand for in this country. Everyone has to be treated fairly.


Adele Butler, A Celebration of Women 2011



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