PC candidate Jim McDonell Refuses Comment on Media Consortium Exclusion of Green Leader in Provincial Debate – September 7, 2011 by Richard Komorowski

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 Planthroughout 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.
Terry Fox Run


  1. The consortium again decided against Green inclusion in the debates but Editor Gilcig trains his lens on the PC cnadidate specifically. Of course he would. No surprise until you see the backgrounds of a lot of the writing and photographic staff at this paper are ideological Greens. They’ve also represented the Greens politically, written widely about them and continue to provide support in this paper WITHOUT revealing their source opinions or possible bias.

    Now webmaster, will you post this? Like a real paper would.


  2. Maybe the PEI candidate for the Greens are of a higher calibre then the local representatives

  3. Hi Susan. I won’t reveal my sources, ever. My bias is upfront – I think the Libs, Cons, NDP and Greens are a boring mask to hide a frightening tomorrow. The brave people left, got compromised, watered down every belief they ever had. More than one country has gained great satisfaction by putting their elected officials in jail and letting the current crop of prisoners loose. Will you help put all our MP’s and MPP’s in jail, Susan? It would be a proud memory.

  4. My candidate in Ottawa Centre, Kevin O’Donnell, is of a very high calibre. I suspect the broadcast consortium supports the dominant parties and doesn’t want someone to keep the debate on the issues because this detracts from the big guys’ “arguments.” Alternatively, perhaps they, like so many Ontarians – like the ones who write rabid diatribes against green energy, treehuggers, bleeding-heart Liberals and the like – wish to cling to a past that no longer exists.

  5. Author

    I’ve come to move closer to supporting the consortium. I think at some point I want to hear the opinions of those with a real chance of governing. The NDP for example under Jack Layton always had the luxury of being able to take certain positions because there was little chance of governing leaving tough or less popular votes to the Liberals…

  6. Reply to Susan:

    Because the PC candidate had no response to the problem of excluding a fellow candidate, he brought the focus on himself.
    I can hear you: Everyone’s out of step but our candidate. NO. He is.

  7. While leaving the Greens out is an affront to democracy, fair play and public will, a PC Candidate not answering a question is nothing new, he’s probably just following the peekaboo campaign rules that the Conservatives have used for several elections. If they don’t know if you can be trusted to speak your mind, they won’t let you speak at all. Wait and see how many spontaneous comments he coughs up this election, my bet it will be very few.

    I for one believe that more voices at the debates (and more debates) hurts no one, the silencing of a voice representing several hundred thousand voters hurts us all because next time it could be your voice that is ignored.

  8. Rev. Jones: The PC candidate reads his speeches. That’s a Communications 101 failure.

  9. This paper gives free time to anyone who has an opinion, regardless of its’ political leaning. Can’t say that for the “Real Newspapers” can you, Susan?

  10. I know I see the “real media newspapers” whitewashing a lot of crap going on.. Kudos to you Jamie for not following suit. Show’s who the real “no bs” media is out there.. The other media outlets if they can get their heads out of the sand, would do well to learn from you and avoid becoming fox news… But alas, they don’t, and they follow whatever they are told to follow or say..

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