Cornwall ON -
Once again, the TV Consortium has decided to exclude the Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner, from the televised leaders’ debate, to be broadcast September 27. Although other provincial broadcast consortia have (or are planning) to allow their provincial Green Parties into the debate (e.g. PEI), the Ontario consortium is following the lead of the federal consortium, which would not allow federal leader Elizabeth May to be heard.The leaders’ debate will be carried live by the CBC, CTV, Global, Sun News Network and TV Ontario. This TV consortium comprises Ontario’s major television networks, each of which will invest resources in a joint effort to offer the people of Ontario complete political coverage during the upcoming provincial election campaign.
Neither the CBC nor Global have commented on the exclusion of the Green Party leader, nor how this leads to “complete” coverage. TV Ontario, however, apparently supported the inclusion of Mike Schreiner in the debate, and has pledged to include an Ontario Green Party spokesperson whenever candidates for other parties appear, so it appears that the decision was not unanimous.
Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, stated on the party’s website: “I think the Green Party has some very unique positions that Ontario needs to hear and if we are going to have fair, open, inclusive debates in Ontario the Green Party needs to be at the table. In the last election 354,000 Ontarians voted for us and we had electoral results as high as 33 per cent.”
Schreiner is referring to the results in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound where, in the 2007 election, the Green Party candidate, Shane Jolley, finished second to maverick Tory Bill Murdoch, who is well known for his opposition to sustainable energy.
Johan Hamels, Executive Director of the (federal) Green Party of Canada, stated in an email that “The voices of over 354,000 voters who voted Green in the 2007 election have been silenced by the Broadcast consortium. Once again, we are confronted with a highly undemocratic decision! This is in contrast with the broadcasters in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edwards Island who included their provincial Green Party.
“The Green Party of Ontario, long established in provincial politics, was first to present its election platform on May 24th, has run a full slate of candidates in 2007 (they were one shy of doing so in 2003), and is prepared to do that again on October 6th. Ontarians deserve to hear their leader, Mike Schreiner, debating with the other three provincial party leaders.”
Justin Reist, SD&SG Green Candidate, when asked to comment, stated that we have a great chance here to see something different in the traditional leaders’ debate rather than the same old attacks, one-liners, and sound bytes that we have become accustomed to. Mike represents a different way of looking at politics and a fresh, positive voice that is missing from the other parties on the political scene.Perhaps the most convincing argument to include Mike Schreiner in the leaders’ debate comes from TV Ontario, whose editorial board recently announced
that they will be giving equal coverage to Green representatives in their political coverage. As the memo TVO’s executive producer points out, “Clearly, the Green Party is seen by voters as a legitimate electoral option and it is our responsibility to present the public with a range of voices on the issues.”
We applaud their journalistic decision, and call on the other broadcasters to include Green voices as well.Finally, I would like to say that, regardless of the media consortium’s decision, Mike, myself, and the entire Green team will continue to run a strong campaign and promote our Five Point Plan
throughout the coming weeks, as
Liberal candidate for SD&SG Mark A MacDonald
we have since May 24th.
When contacted, local NDP candidate Elaine MacDonald stated that at the provincial level, our leader has called for more debates and we do not wish to see anyone excluded.
Having said that, we recognize it is not up to us to determine who participates or not, and we are focused on winning this election for New Democrats.
Locally, I understand our labour council has extended an invitation to the local Green candidate to participate in the Sept 7 Labour Council debate at the Legion.Mark MacDonald, provincial Liberal candidate, stated that he has “a deep respect for people that enter into the ‘political arena’ and everyone should be treated equally.”
Jim McDonnell had no comment on the situation.
What do you think Ontario? You can post your comments below.
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