Monday, September 08, 2008

Greens should be in the debate

The Green Party will be excluded from the leaders' debates after three of the party leaders - presumably Harper, Layton and Duceppe - threatened not to participate if Elizabeth May were allowed to participate. I don't buy the "Greens are Liberals in disguise" line that Harper has been spewing. It certainly isn't the case here in Guelph, where the Greens are a major challenger to the Liberals and critics of their policies. Frankly, I don't see why Gilles Duceppe should get to participate, as a regional candidate whose party only fields 75 candidates, and polls around 8% nationally, if Elizabeth May, who presumably will field more candidates and has similar polling numbers, cannot. The Bloc got its first MPs through party defections, just as the Green party did last week.

If nothing else, I'd like May to be in the debates so that Canadians can get a chance to see what her party actually stands for, and to see it subjected to critique by the other parties. I'm getting rather tired of seeing reports of high polling numbers for the Green party, when I suspect that most Canadians only have a vague sense of what the Greens are about. Frankly, I'd prefer to have them in the debates so that Canadians can make an informed decision, lest we wake up to find out that a number of voters made a "Hail Mary" vote for the party, only to wake up and find that they split votes in dozens of ridings, despite not having a clear sense of what they were voting for.

Moreover, if the Greens are just "Liberals in disguise", wouldn't this become clear in the debates?

I realize that this is now a moot point, but I'm disappointed in the cowardice of the networks. I don't believe that the other leaders would actually have skipped a leadership debate with May there. The potential bad publicity would have been very hard to spin. It also would have made for some fascinating television!

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