Elizabeth May: Should she or shouldn’t she debate, that is the question?

I had a very enlightening conversation today with a colleague who does not hold the same beliefs that I do, an invigorating experience to be repeated no more than once a week or as humility and reason would dictate. Which it did, in this case.

I apparently sent a biased trivia question out in my newsletter.

The question was- wait a minute. I can’t even remember the question. I think it was,”Which leader of one of the main political parties has been excluded from the televised debate? What are the two main reasons given?

Or something like that.

And, oh yeah. Biased. And I didn’t even notice it when I sent it out. I just thought I was covering some interesting current events for the students.

The truth is, my only reason for thinking that Elizabeth May should be a part of the debate is because, as one of the 6.8% of Canadians who voted for her, I want to hear what she has to say.

Not exactly a researched opinion, even by my standards.

The points my colleague brought up were:

  1. The Green Party has never been in parliament.
  2. If we start letting her in, any old riffraff will be let in (I think there was specific mention of the Rhinoceros  party).
  3. For a televised debate, she would take up valuable time and space, time and space that could be used up very effectively by the other three leaders ( I imagine three great hot air balloons inflating to fill her space). Okay. I added the parenthesis.

As for the media consortium, they state #1 as well as the ever-elusive and never described “journalistic principles” for the exclusion.

Now, these are very strong arguments.  But then I would cite the fact that they may not be in parliament, but 1 million Canadians saw fit to vote for them. The only difference between the Green party and the Bloc Quebecois (besides 3 percentage points) is that their supporters happen to be all together, whereas The Green Party’s supporters are all over Canada.

As for Elizabeth’s May team, they are also reminding people that the Green Party receives funding from the government  along with the other bigwigs (my words, not theirs).

Let us not forget also that she was allowed to participate in the 2008 debate (after much the same hullabaloo).

But then I just read  it was because a liberal MP turned Green at the last minute, allowing the consortium to climb out of the proverbial rock and a hard place by letting May debate while not compromising their journalistic principles (which are not hard and fast rules by the way). Voilà. Everybody happy. Except for maybe that poor liberal who didn’t get re-elected.

So. Now that I have done my research, has my opinion changed?

Well, I see my point, but I see theirs too, as Charlie, owner of Oxford Foods once told me.

In the end, no. I still want to hear what Elizabeth May has to say.

Aren’t we always telling our children not to judge by size or how many members we have in parliament?

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6 Responses to Elizabeth May: Should she or shouldn’t she debate, that is the question?

  1. Carrie says:

    Okay, now I'm seriously confused. You say three leaders. I thought there were four:

    Conservative
    Liberal
    NDP
    Bloc Quebecois

    Bringing May in would make it 5. I thought. Are you talking English debates — and does that mean the Bloc isn't participating in the English debates?

  2. Carrie says:

    If we shouldn't judge by how many members are in parliament, then why is that damn “but 1 million Canadians voted for her!” argument thrown around so much? Not just by you, I hear it everywhere.

    When did 1 million become the magical “you are allowed to debate” number? (It's wrong, too – rounded up by another 60 000). Would 800 000 be enough? 400 000?

  3. Carrie says:

    I am paranoid that my comments sound very argumentative. I get very confused by all these numbers being thrown about.

    And this is a stupid way for me to attempt to have a conversation, via blog. We're not in the same city, you can't tell the tone with which I'm writing (think “confused” and “light-hearted friendly sarcasm” for the first two comments, and “self-conscious” and “really self-conscious” for this one), the internet is making me crazy, I can't get out of my yoga studio membership contract, I wish someone had tried to talk me out of moving to Vancouver even though I still probably would have come but nobody tried which says something — something unpleasant I suspect, I wish I hadn't gained 20-30 pounds of sadness here, I wish other things that I am unable to articulate correctly, I wish I wish I wish.

    agggghhh.

    screw the election anyway, they're all daft.

    And, as Tom has pointed out to me, why is everyone talking about parties parties parties and leaders leaders leaders instead of people examining who is running in their riding. Those MPs can be really good at being an advocate for their constituents… what if your local Liberal candidate is someone you think you would like, while your local Green Party candidate is a pompous twit?

    aaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhh the internet is not connecting me with people far away, it is just making me feel alienated and completely out of the loop. whatever the bloody loop is.

  4. Okay. I just wrote a huge comment that the stupid blog wouldn't publish. On my own freakin' blog!

    Here's the gist of it:
    1. Oops. Can't count. Forgot the Bloc (psycho-analyse that).

    2. Numbers: see above to gage my proficiency in them. However, my understanding is that we elect our MPs on a “first past the post” system, which means the winner only needs to have a little more votes than the other candidates. Looking at the popular vote (how many people through out the country voted for the party in question) might give a more accurate picture of the support for said party.
    Still, 1 million translates only to 6.8% of the popular vote. Is that enough to allow them into the debate? Should it be a round 10%? I know not.

    3. I agree with Tom. Maybe I'll do a post about my own candidates…

    4. Not offended in the least. Thanks for catching my mistake.

  5. Alice Zorn says:

    I think it's wonderful that you write about the elections, Mama. Not enough people voice their opinion, including myself. I can't get past thinking of politics as “they're all pigs at the trough”. Elect them and find out how soon they forget what they said they would do–and then do even worse.
    I do, however, vote. Definitely vote.
    Bravo for engaging in an debate with your colleague.

  6. dianemb says:

    Well, once again I agree with you. Is this getting boring or monotonous? I always knew you were a very wise woman.
    Anyway, about the debate. Elizabeth May was allowed in last time. Personally, I thought she was the best of the bunch. She was articulate,knowledgeable, and non-confrontational. I know there is no chance of her becoming PM, but the party should be able to lay their platform before the voters.
    Now my confusion – what are the 'journalistic principles'?

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