Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Debates on Debates?

This is an interesting issue for the current Canadian Election. When scheduling the leaders debates for the 2006 Canadian Election, the media panel which organizes them has chosen who gets to speak.

For those of you not following too closely, the panel, which consists of CBC, CTV, Radio-Canada, TVA, and Canwest-Global have decided that in the 4 televised debates (2 English 2 French) the leaders speaking will be Paul Martin of the Liberals, Stephen Harper of the Tories, Jack Layton of the NDP, and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois.

Now, where is the issue, some ask? Well, there is a party called the Green Party, who might have something to say about that. While small, they did garner 4% of the popular vote in 2004, and are running candidates in all ridings. Now, the same can't be said of the Bloc. While they did gain a larger portion of the popular vote nationally (12.4% according to Elections Canada results available at http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2004/default.html), they do only run candidates in Quebec. So, for the voter in the other 9 provinces and 3 territories, what is the relevance to having the Bloc in the debate?

Frankly, I personally care more what the Green Party has to say than the Bloc purely because I can't do anything to affect the results of the Bloc. Sure, include them in the debate, as there are many voters in Quebec who do want to hear what they have to say, but for the rest of the country, its more of a preview into the election elsewhere than something they can directly take action on. For the remainder of the country, I personally think that it would be good to have the Green Party included in the debate. And if another new party develops, and starts to gain the publicity, include them too. The debates should be about giving Canadians the chance to hear what each of the major parties in their ridings have to say on the issues, and until they are willing to include parties like the Green Party and other future parties, no significant change will happen. Then we're just hearing the same stories from the same players.

So what do I say? Give them a chance, see what they have to say, and let us hear all the options.

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