Canada’s Democracy In Jeopardy – Conservative Partisan Politics Get Nasty Nationally and in SD&SG Ontario – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig – March 30, 2011

Cornwall ON – They say that Politics is a blood sport, but this election seems to be amping up much more so than the usual.

As I sift through emails and phone calls today I’m hearing a lot of chatter about the Green Party.   While I’m sure Elizabeth May would rather get buzz on other subjects at least they’re getting buzz.

Frankly I’m a bit embarrassed today to be a Canadian.  While we’re allegedly dropping bombs on Libyans loyal to their leader, and teaching Afghanistanis how to roll up the rim and eat beavertails our Mainstream media are slashing Democracy in our country by trying to keep a National leader from a debate televised over public airwaves for the flimsiest of reasons.

Why?   Well I can’t answer that.  I can only guess, and either I’m a bad guesser or didn’t drink enough coffee today as I can’t come up with a legitimate or justifiable reason for this sort of fiasco.

Apparently neither can the leaders of the political parties as they’ve all mumbled noises about they having no problems with Ms May participating.   Stephen Harper even suggested a one on one debate with Mr. Ignatieff which I really like the idea of.

Locally though things seem to be taking a more sinister and partisan focus.   We have a failed Conservative Candidate, Chris Savard, using his role as a the manager of a Shopping Mall to evict a Green Candidate for campaigning and then a newspaper writing an editorial essentially supporting the former Conservative candidate while sporting a sign on their lawn for the local Conservative candidate in the Federal election.

I even hear rumblings that the local Chamber of Commerce is about to host an all candidates debate, but have all of the panel and moderator be Conservatives?   Surely with 700+ members they could find at least one Liberal and one NDP to participate which would pretty much represent the voter turnout?   As a matter of fact I’ve heard that Mr. Savard himself is to be one of the panel and after this issue I surely hope that would be remedied if Mr. Savard was to be on the panel?

What do you think viewers?  Should elections be allowed to sink to these levels?  Should our own Democracy not be protected and practiced?

And a final note.  In this short election I hope that we get a good voter turnout.   This is an important election locally and Nationally.

If you don’t vote you can’t complain!

You may post your comments below.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

Scott BeckDaily Dish News



  1. You are right where my heart is Jamie! I am sad to see also I am the only one commenting. What does it take to get Canadians (mainly Cornwall) to be interested in this election. Sadly I am concerned it is the poorest of poor who will not vote and they are the ones who need change the most. We are headed for extreme bad times if Conservatives are re-elected, still hard time if Liberals are elected. I think we as Canadians should show these two parties its not about them anymore .I won’t be voting for either of them but I will be voting!

  2. Who exactly will the moderator be and who will be sitting on the panel? Names, please.

  3. The reason is same as it was previously… because she nor her party have a seat in Parliament. The thinking is to give the limited time and attention to the three mainstream parties that are represented on the Hill. The Greens are not viewed as a force to have any real impact on election results. I believe the thinking is to enhance flow and intensity of the debate by focusing upon the key players. In past it was tradition that a party not elected to Parliament was not a participant in debates… for example the Communist Party and the Rhinoceros Party. Granted the Rhinoceros Party was mostly a spoof and thus perfect for protest votes.

    Perhaps they worry if May to participates it opens the doors to others in future and thus a debate with too many debaters creating so it becomes boring and largely insignificant due to tight time constraints. I can sympathize with some of the logic however if Elizabeth and the Greens were part of previous debate then that door has already been opened and currently the other three leaders have no issue with it.

    Savard… yes strange and foolish on his part. One would think he would be aware of the electoral rules and regulations. If he was then his actions were disappointing and doubly strange and foolish. I could have sympathy and understanding for Savard if the Elections Act was not with provisions allowing campaigning in “private but public enterprises” such as shopping malls. Indeed a very big gaffe on his part for sure!

    I religiously attend the Chamber candidate debates and wish a greater number would attend also. I do not know if you are accurate in regards to the panel but shall assume so. Regardless I fail to see what difference it makes as to their party preference… it’s not as if they have any impact upon proceedings. I never gave thought to their political leanings but it would not concern me if they were all NDP, Liberal, Conservative or non-committed voters as I view the panel as irrelevant in affecting the debate. I have always observed the Chamber debate to be fair… a tad too constrained perhaps but certainly fair and equal. I recall only one incident years ago where they initially refused a person(Dick Nadeau) from asking a very personal and loaded question. To his credit Kilger over-rode the moderator and accepted the question from the floor. I am confident if the candidates viewed it as a concern or if they felt it was purposeful exclusion, they would make comment. They have not so basically it is a non-issue… certainly a non-issue to me.

  4. Author

    My understanding is that John Bolton will moderate the event.

  5. Admin…. John has moderated before and will be fair and professional… unbiased as a moderator. Also his radio persona and community involvement makes him a good choice.

    Diane… true it is sad more people to not get involved and to express themselves. On a friend is strong Liberal; myself a strong Conservative and on Facebook we often debate. It is good debate because it is civil and factual which makes so each of us can learn and gain perspective. Neither of us will change our opinion this election and so we do not try to change each others opinion, we simply express points and counterpoints.

    I think some do not debate because emotions create so it too often digresses into ranting, insults, name calling, personal insults, all of which is without fact or substance. With politics there is seldom a right or wrong answer and people should accept that reality. I think some are intimidated or nervous to express themselves openly or they feel it is a private issue. Others rant and intimidate but offer nothing of substance, why would someone want to be engaged with that scenario!

    A look at long nose Pinocchio McGuinty as Ontario Premier… a look at Liberals Chretien, Dion, Martin, Ignatieff… a look at Mulroney and Harper. Is it any wonder people feel disenchanted and to feel getting involved makes no difference. Sad but understandable, however fact is getting involved can and does make a difference. I believe and hope Harper returns to power. I also hope the Liberals finally acknowledge for third consecutive election Canadians did not vote them in. If Harper does not get elected then it will be Ignatieff in power. Regardless the NDP and Green Party will not get in power… unless a coalition government is formed. Interesting reality is if half of those that do not vote, if they were to vote for Layton or May then Green Party or NDP would have majority of votes.People power does work!!!

  6. Author

    Garfield I rarely reply to people that don’t post their full names, but I will make an exception with you today. I’m John can do a fair job. No problem there, but there are four panel seats I believe and I see no reason to balance the palette out a bit with those seats as well. For example if John is going to be on the panel why is Lorne Wiebe to be there? He works for the same company as John and essentially is of the same political stripes? We live in a city essentially where the main media outlets have shown to be Conservative.

    The Free Holder being the lightest shade of blue. Why not have a Claude McIntosh on the Panel or Editor Andrew Carroll? Why not invite me for example as I’m a member and clearly not a Conservative? There are others who could and should be on that panel. Having everyone be of the same political stripe hampers the role of such an event and reflects on our community in my opinion.

    Again, cronyism and political partisanship should have a limit. The “Old Boys Club” may have some positives, but sometimes the line is carried way too far out into the sand.

  7. Regarding the panel I do not know the circumstance that has it with the persons it is, however I certainly do not see it as a planned aspect. I am sure the candidates also do not see it as such or they would make issue. Persons of other affiliations could be part of the four person panel and it would create better optics. Personally optics and political correctness have dominated political issues enough in my opinion and is of little interest to me. Still, you have created so I become aware and with a curiosity. Since you have put the question forward hopefully it gains attention and a explanation comes forth. I do not believe and certainly would hope it is not cronyism, partisanship or the “Old Boys Club”. That would be very sad indeed and too much of that exists in politics already!

    True as you say with media, it is with a bias. At one time local media was very much Red however more recently it is Blue. On national level it is the same… CBC and Toronto Star very much to the Left and Red… The Sun very much to the Right and Blue.

    I can not argue the points you put forward as they are valid and with substance. Curious if you have asked the Chamber directly and if they have given reply.

  8. I am not sure we truly have anything relating to right and left wing politics in Canada. It is something out of Frances history on who sat on what side of the room.
    Right, right-wing politics is generally relating to support for preserving traditional social orders and hierarchies. Right wing politics emphasizes the need for the principles of natural law and moral order
    I think that sounds more of what the NDP are trying to promote.
    Left, left-wing and leftist are generally used to describe support for social change to create a more equal society.
    Again the ideals appear closer to the NDP then the Conservatives and or Liberals.
    The current status has both Blue and Red doing the same things while only making different people rich.
    The old boys club, wow could you stir up a whole whack of attitude on that topic. I have no idea who John Bolton however he is from the media and knows the do’s and don’ts of politics. Is he Partisan or by partisan? It will be interesting to see.

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