Election Debate: Separatists IN; Greens OUT

Just when I thought Canada’s broadcasters could do no more to lessen their dismal image and reputations among Canadian television viewers, they have proved me wrong.

These geniuses have just decided that in the upcoming National Television Election Debates, the Bloc Quebecois will take part in both the English and French  debates aired right across the country, but the Green Party will be shut out.

Their official reasoning: the Bloc Quebecois has seats in the House of Commons but the Greens do not.

My own speculation is that, once more, the Quebec tail is wagging the Canadian dog. 

Again, the Greens took almost a MILLION votes in the last election and are running candidates in EVERY Canadian riding, in every Canadian province and every Canadian territory; the Bloc have candidates ONLY in Quebec.  Yet Gilles Duceppe will be piped into Canadian homes from coast to coast, while Elizabeth May won’t be allowed on the set.

How ridiculous! What a farce!


Because it shows not only the  spinelessness of the CBC, CTV and Global Television executives, it also shows the dismal quality of our federal political leaders and their communications advisors and strategists.

Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton will  have turned their backs on Canadian values, Canadian fairness and Canadian voters in their rush to appease Quebec nationalists if they take part in this setup.  They should REFUSE to participate unless May is there, in the English debate, replacing Duceppe.

ANY degree of fairness would see Duceppe take part in the French language debate; and May take part on the English language debate. In fact, if anything, May …not Duceppe…deserves to be in both, since the Greens are running canddiates in Quebec as qwell as the rest of the country. And by the way, in the last vote, the Greens drew almost a million votes …just under the Bloc’s tally …but again, from every part of the nation.

What possible logically defensible  reasoning can exclude her  … but broadcast Duceppe from coast to coast!

 The broadcasters’ stance, and the willingness of  Harper, Igantieff and Layton to go along with it,  screws Canada  and they ALL are clearly willing to do that rather than risk any criticism in Quebec. 

Think about that when you decide whether to give ANY of them your vote.

Harv Oberfeld

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30 Responses to Election Debate: Separatists IN; Greens OUT

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    We do not live in a democracy, rather it seems, a media appointed oligarchy. Real political change in Canada, so desperately needed, is impossible and without it, Canada, as we know it today, will wither.

    I have voted Green in the past and debating whether I will this go around – but I will be damned if Canadian media censors the Greens!

    This may seal my decision and vote for the Greens, just to spite the media.

    As for Iggy, Harpo, and what’s his name who leads the NDP, a pox on all their houses; they are harbinger of corruption and dictatorship.

    Want real democracy? Well don’t look at Canada, where the political elites and their media cronies corrupt our political process for their own gain.

    Evil is as evil does.

  2. Gary E says:

    There is no defense for excluding the Green Party from debate. Over One Million people voted for them in the last election. That is a million people who will not be heard.

    Did you read Gary Masons column on the media coverage in BC Harvey? I especially liked the last line.

    (Response: It was a very good column by a very good reporter. Here’s the link for everyone to read:


  3. diverdarren says:

    The greens have always had this problem of media recognition at the debates. It unfair because there are not real rules that the big TV producers have to follow when it comes to this ongoing issue.

    It’s Elections Canada’s place to create equality rules for political parties, but it’s a slippery slope.
    There are lots of wing nut parties out there, do they get equal treatment? Whats the threshold?

    Anyways Big Media has always had a Liberal slant and this is how they show their bias. Big Media knows that the Greens strip votes from the Liberals so this is how Big Media helps get votes for their friends in the Liberals.

    If they thought they could get away with it I’m sure they would like to keep the Conservatives out of the debate.

    (Response: I think the threshold should be two-fold: the party should be running candidates in a minimum number of ridings … say 75%; and they should also have received a minimum number of votes in the previous election, either a number like 500,000 or maybe a percentage of the total vote cast. h.o)

  4. Robbie says:

    Harvey, I agree with you. The Greens are a declared national party, with a % of the popular vote that is derived and representative of every province and territory. If they field candidates in all ridings in this election, they should be included.

    Conversely, if a party chooses to be regional, as opposed to national, assign them proportionate amount of the vote subsidy based on how many ridings they plan to run in.

    For example, if the Bloc runs in say 50 of the 308 ridings they qualify for 16 % of the current vote subsidy. They should also be ruled ineligible for participation in a national debate if they are not truly national in scope.

    It is called a Federal Election for a reason.

  5. Sorry Harvey,

    But the leftist greenie is getting her just reward.

    How dare anyone, especially a retired journalist, advocate for such a flake.

    The Green Party does not, nor will ever, have an MP or member of any Provincial legislature.

    No wonder so many people are against your profession.

    I do not care if she had two million votes in the 2008 election: she does not, nor will ever, have a seat.

    She is of the looney fringe, and should be treated justly. No MP, no chance of an MP, should mean no position at the debates!

    What about the Communists, Marxist-Leninists, Marijuana Party, Neo-Rhino, Libertarian leaders? Should they be included? What about independent/non-partisan candidates….should they be included?

    I think I know your answer to that question…Do not give any BS regarding over a million people voting for a fringe party. Boo-hoo.

    (Response: Actually the Greens DID haver an MP last time. As fior those other parties you mention, my critieria would require them to not only run a certain number of candidates BUT also gain a certain per centage of the votes in the preceding election. If the Commies or Rhinos got almost a million votes then yes, they should be included. To have just the Establishment oparties take part is simply not democracy. h.o)

  6. Grouchy says:

    I agree with Robbie. And you Harvey. It’s time that we started letting MSM know that they do not have control of us and how we vote. The Bloc is not a national party and therefore they should be excluded from all debates. The Green party is a national party and having no elected MPs is not an excuse to exclude them.

  7. mariner says:

    If the Commies or Rhinos got almost a million votes then yes, they should be included. To have just the Establishment oparties take part is simply not democracy. h.o)

    Absolutely. What is happening now is tantamount to “fixing the votes and sharing the proceeds” and is contrary to any democratic principles.

    (Response: Perfectly put. h.o)

  8. Julie says:

    Perhaps it is true, the western provinces should separate from the east. We get no fair representation. The west gets dictated to, and must follow the rules set down by the east.

    Shutting out Elizabeth May, is the most unfair, nasty dictatorship of all. I too have changed my mind. I will support Elizabeth May. Canada is democratic? The hell it is.

    When the BC Liberals get the boot. We will remember the media, being nothing other than, a propaganda machine for the Liberals. They are a terrible disgrace to their professions. They have shamed, disgusted, and embarrassed this province, by how low they are willing to stoop.

    As Canadian citizens say, there should be a square of the ballot that says, none of the above. So actually, Elizabeth May is a good choice.

    (Response: It really IS unfair: all so called national parties have shown quite clearly they have not and will not take up BC/Western issues…but rather pander over and over to Qurbec/Ontario instead because that;s where they see victory/majority. How can anyone in BC vote for a party that will further denigrate our place in the corridors of power and even pass laws making sure we almost never have anyone qualify to sit on the Suopreme Court…which these days plays a HUGE role in determining the direction Canada goes on so many questions??? h.o)

  9. jenzed says:

    I am also very angry about the Green Party’s exclusion from the debate. Given that the media consortium flip-flopped last time over their inclusion, can they be made to flip-flop again? What is the best way to put pressure on them?

    – Writing to the leaders of the mainstream parties to suggest they boycott the debate(s) unless May is included?

    – Writing to the broadcasters themselves? Who would one write to at these organizations to complain?

    – Write to the CRTC? It seems to me that broadcasters should not be allowed to influence the political process by shutting parties out of the debate.

    (Response: I’d call the various parties and tell them you WILL vote Green and NOT vote for them if they take part in an anti-democratic vote. That should wake them up. h.o)

  10. A Dave says:

    If we had proportional representation, or some other system more reflective of the actual votes cast, the Greens would have had 10+ seats last election. Probably a lot more, based on the actual turnout. Hardly a fringe party, Sean.

    A minimum standard such as that proposed by Harvey seems perfectly reasonable.

    Interesting point made above regarding the Greens siphoning votes from the Liberals, which does raise questions about this decision.

    Not really a green voter, but I do recall May was very articulate during the last debates, and maybe that’s an issue too. Let’s keep it as boring and irrelevant as possible to the average Canadian!!

    (Response: I’m not normally a Green voter either, but I am thinking of it now…what a great way to send a message to the other three parties for ignoring basic democratic principles, turning their backs on BC and the West over the past two years. Hmmmm! h.o)

  11. Keith says:

    Well put Harvey. I remember her involvement in the debate last time. She brought a refreshing degree of candor and accountability. But more importantly, she deserves to be included for the points you outlined.

  12. seth says:

    Lotsa English speakers in Quebec so can’t exclude the Bloc in English either. He has enormous influence on federal affairs so we need to see where he’s coming from.

    Lizzie May is just the farm team for the Cons so there really is no point clouding the debate.

    That said. This is a debate format that even Carole James can be seen to win. It is worthless. With 5 participating worse than worthless.

    What is needed is a series of one and ones lasting two hours or so each. Unfortunately, Harper would never agree to that. He’d get whooped but good.

    If anybody wants to waste their time arguing with Lizzie May – let them. Maybe Lizzie should issue a challenge.

    (Response: I can assure you anyone in Quebec who does not yet speak French (so therefore cant watch Duceppe in the French debate) …won’t vote for the separatist Bloc!! Duceppe should man up, say the French debate is enough for him, drop out of the English debate and let May in. h.o)

  13. jenzed says:

    The Green Party has a list on their website that suggests how to complain about their exclusion from the debate: http://greenparty.ca/debate-action

  14. David Schreck, speaking on CBC One raised the issue of debate criteria.

    Firstly, a party should field candidates in at least 50% of the ridings;

    Second, a party must poll at least 10% of the total federation wide popular vote;

    Third, a party must have at least one MP.

    The Greens come no-where near any of those criteria.

    Most of the ridings, back in 2008, the Greens got less than 5% of the vote.

    We have to draw the line somewhere.

    (Response: So we let a dedicated NDPer decide the criteria whether the NDP’s biggest challenger gets to take part? And you call that fair? Shame on you. h.o)

  15. cosmicsync says:

    Iggy, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe were all quoted today saying Elizabeth May should be in the debate, just as they did in the last election. Stephen Harper, as far as I know, remains silent on the issue.

    So a pox on D. M. Johnston

  16. D. M. Johnston says:

    “Iggy, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe were all quoted today saying Elizabeth May should be in the debate……….”

    But did they say, they would boycott the debate unless May was included? No.

    Easy to say May is welcome, when they know the mainstream media will not let her in.

    Let the leaders make their actions understood – No May – no debate.

    Simple if you wanted true democracy.

    (Response: I would find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that the broadcasters were not in touch with the big three party strategists and planners before setting debate dates, format and other criteria …like whether May would be there. These great believers in democracy when speaking publicly have ALL shown how deceitful they can be in private in their purasuit of power and influence. And clearly fairness is not something ANY of them believe in behind the scenes. And they wonder why so many are turned off!!!! h.o)

  17. Henri says:

    If the Greens get in on the debate, than all the other parties running should have their voice also heard , of who they are .

    Libertarian Party of Canada
    First People’s National Party Of Canada
    Communist Party
    Marijuana Party
    Christian Heritage Party
    The Canadian Action Party

    (Response: I totally disagree. That’s the kind of political correctness …or really incorrectness …that would make the debate totally unwatchable. It would please the fringes at the cost of the majority. (doesn’t that run contrary to Communist common good philosophy, by the way?). There have to be some constraints..and I think requirments that they have candidates in a a certain number of ridings in all provinces and a pre-determined percentage of the popular vote in previous vote should make it fair without imposing ridiculous free-for-all discourse. h.o)

  18. Henri says:

    Harve, replied to Henri // Mar 30, 2011
    There have to be some constraints..and I think requirments that they have candidates in a a certain number of ridings in all provinces and a pre-determined percentage of the popular vote in previous vote should make it fair without imposing ridiculous free-for-all discourse.
    Thank you, your reply was as I anticipated.
    The consortium had set up guideline’s and constraints, they had it correct,but you as Lizzy feel she has entitlements beyond those constraints, that they must move the goalposts wider only for her party, but no one else.
    Talk about fairness and double standards in the same breath.

  19. 13 says:

    The criteria should be to EXCLUDE all parties dedicated to the disolution of the country.

  20. cosmicsync says:

    So you think the requirement for participation in the debate should be “a pre-determined percentage of the popular vote in previous vote?”

    Isn’t that like saying “we don’t hire people without expirence,” thus making it impossible for people to get the experience they need to get a job?

    And if you’re going to make performance in a past election the criteria, wouldn’t having realistic chance of actually electing a Member of Parliament make more sense? Wouldn’t that make it fair without “imposing ridiculous free-for-all discourse?”

    (Response: You’re wrong. This is not a matter of just hiring people for an ordinary job. These are the TOP jobs in running the country. Does any company hiring top execs give interviews to anyone who wants to apply? No. They set certain criteria, like experience and past performance. Otherwise the application/interview process would be ridiculous. Same with the debate: by requiring participants to have a proven record based on,say, candidates in 75% of the ridings and whatever’s a fair per cent in previous eelctions, you weed out the “junior clerks” who think they should be company President. h.o.)

  21. diverdarren says:

    To 13 (Mar31 5:28am);

    Not sure about keeping separatists out of the debate. Canada has a lot of problems (a look at the topics raised on this blog prove that) These problems seem to be insurmountable due to our nations design to support the status-quo.

    If the Confederation were dissolved, a lot of the barriers to change would be gone. The federal government and its trappings; the senate, constitution, court precedents, international treaties all null and void.

    The Provinces and Territories could renew as their citizens see fit. Re-join, on not as they see fit into a new nation. The people who currently make up this nation are peaceful, intelligent, and don’t hold ethnic grudges against each other. We wont break down into civil strife like the Balkans. If done right we could emerge better than before.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable… JFK

    (Response: The Bloc SHOULD be in the French language debate, which by the way will be run on English channels with full translation. That should be quite enough for ALL voters in Quebec. And then May should be in the English debate. That’s the fair solution. h.o)

  22. Cora says:

    I don’t believe either May or Duceppe should be included. Duceppe does not run outside Quebec, why does anyone else care and May can’t form government and has no one in the house.

    (Response: Well, Duceppe does hold MOST of the seats in Quebec. Banning him from the French debate would not be fair. h.o)

  23. Naive says:

    so if Quebec were to seperate, does Canada get it’s crown corporations back. no transfer payments to said province, more money into health care etc.. collec

  24. 13 says:

    What makes you think that we would ever dissolve peacefully? What makes you think the provinces would become nations. Wars would be fought thousands would die in disputes over who gets what. British Columbia could become Gordoland. An iron fisted ruler with no regard for unions.

    Mz May is off to court. Now we will see justice done. The courts should have no power to make private broadcasters include May. Thats why we have the CBC. The the private broadcasters could bitch that they arent treated the same as our homeland TV station.

  25. cosmicsync says:

    “You’re wrong … by requiring participants to have a proven record based on,say, candidates in 75% of the ridings and whatever’s a fair per cent in previous eelctions, you weed out the “junior clerks” who think they should be company President. h.o.”

    I never argued there shouldn’t be criteria, I’ve stated that in my “wrong” opinion, the Greens have not met it. Not provincially and not federally.

    All they’ve done provincially here in BC is help Gordon Campbell win the past two elections.

    Federally, despite receiving funding in the last two elections, they haven’t been able to bring voters out in numbers necessary to have any chance to win a single seat.

    And I’m not saying they shouldn’t get that funding, but given their level of public support I don’t see their exclusion from the debates as the threat to our democracy you and a few others are making it out to be.

    If we had some sort of proportional voting system, where 6.8 % of the vote might net you an MP or two, having the Greens in the debate would make sense. But the Greens have done nothing to improve their chances of electing anyone — in fact guarenteed Elizabeth May would’nt win her riding by running her against Peter McKay in the last election.

    Stephen Harper is the threat to our democracy. And having Elizabeth May in the debate isn’t going to do a damn thing to solve that.

    But this makes a lovely distraction, and hey, and it gives people like D. M. the chance to single out the Liberals and NDP for not boycotting the debate if May isn’t there (talk about “polically correct” garbage, I’m sure their volunteers and financial supporters would appreciate that) and others the chance to spit out the words “seperatists” and “socialists” a few times, while Harper hasn’t even stated publicly that he supports May’s inclusion.

    In fact, here’s what Elizabeth May had to say about Harper’s role in her exclusion:

    ‘May said she thought her participation in the debate was solidified in 2008, when she participated for the first time and saw her party’s and the TV event’s ratings soar. She said she doesn’t understand the reason for this rerun, but suspects pressure from the prime minister may have played a role.

    ‘”Only (based on) past history, and listening very carefully to the way that Mr. Harper parsed his words in responding to the question of whether I should be included in the debates,” she said.’


    (Response: If you read my piece None of the Above, you know I castigated May myself for her wimping out when the Greens’ Quebec wing decided it wanted a separate wing …but my personal opinion about her/Greens, nor yours, is relevant: when ANY party gets almost a million votes in an election, they should be IN the next debate. Period. h.o)

  26. cosmicsync says:

    I take back my remarks about D.M. not criticizing Harper. I missed the “Harpo” in his first comment.

  27. G.J.W. says:

    There are nine other provinces, who have to listen to one province, that has nothing to do with the rest of the country. Quebec is their own little country and have been as long as I, in my many years can remember. If Quebec doesn’t get their concessions, they won’t support the Federal Government. That’s the way, it has always been.

    That Elizabeth May isn’t included in the debate, is a mockery of democracy. I was looking forward to the debate. However, I won’t even bother now. It will just be the same old, same old. Harper doesn’t like Elizabeth May, she is one excellent debater, and she has kicked Harper’s butt.

    Harper is very arrogant, like Campbell is. Those two have a very close relationship. Harper prorogues Parliament, Campbell refused to call a sitting of the Legislature. Both of them are contemptible cowards.

    Shame on the spineless media, they are earning a lot of contempt for sucking up to the big boys, such as Harper and especially, they sucked up to Campbell.

    (Response: There’s a sinister side to this that none of the MSM have had the guts to take on. The decision was reached by FIVE reps of the networks as follows: CTV, Global, CBC English, CBC French and TVA French. That gave the two French-speaking networks 40 per cent of the power, when Francaphones represent only 25% of the Cdn population. And of course, they likely thought Duceppe should be in BOTH national debates, needing only ONE supporting vote from all of the rest of the English speaking Canada (CBC English wouldn’t DARE to say No!) to get Duceppe into both. May, running in BC, on the other hand could have been 40% BEHIND the eight ball right from the start (we don’t know because they won’t say who voted which way) making it almost impossible for her to get approval. But once more, the French tail may have been wagging the English dog. h.o)

  28. @13
    “What makes you think that we would ever dissolve peacefully?”

    It’s called the Clarity Act.

  29. Mr.Mint says:

    There is no defense for excluding the Green Party from debate. Over One Million people voted for them in the last election.

    No excuse not to have them when the separatists are in.

    For the record the Greens received 937,613 votes.

    (Response: There’s no way May with that number of votes should be barred, but Duceppe should be broadcast right across the country, when no one outside Quebec can vote for him. Broadcasting, like politics and government policy in Canada…is all slanted to favour Quebec MUCH more than any other province or any other percentage of the population. h.o)

  30. Willian says:

    Harper’s New Tories are set to become a marjoity government in the next election.A few reality checks for those deluded folks:1. Very few voters voted for the New Tories because they liked or agreed with their policies.2. Most registered a vote against the Liberals (voting for change or for a time out for the LPC).3. Therefore, Harper does not really have a meaningful vote for most of his policies.4. As a result, should he try to implement any of the major changes, he will be sent packing in the next election.The facts? This survey: The recent national survey of Canadians conducted by SES Research23/02/2006 shows that a surprising 12% of voters made their decision in the voting booth while another 19% made it on the Saturday or Sunday preceding Election Day. Canadian voters in the 2006 federal election were also asked to identify the main reason for the Conservative win. Almost one in two Canadian voters (46%) said that Stephen Harper was elected because it was time for a change. Another one in four Canadian voters (25%) said it was due to the fact that the Liberals needed a “time out.” Eleven percent said that the Conservatives had the best platform while 6% said Stephen Harper was the best federal leader. “With three of ten voters making their voting decision in the last three days of the campaign – the election was really up for grabs. A minority of voters cast their ballot based on the Conservative platform (11%) and on Stephen Harper himself (6%). Change and the need for a Liberal ‘time out’ drove support in the federal election. Polling clearly shows that the Harper mandate is founded on change and punishing the Liberals.” -Nik Nanos, President, SES Research Nuff said.Harper’s New Tories will be a shooting-star government, joining that of Joe Clark as a footnote in Canada’s history of accidental Prime Ministers. The Bloc might prop him up for a while in the House in order to wring changes from him, but the voters of all of Canada will pass judgment on Harper and his neocons come the next election.

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