Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dion Says the Greens Should be in the TV Debates

The Globe and Mail's Eric Reguly and Stephane Dion are calling for the Green Party to be included in any next federal election television debates. The timing of such an election is ironically within the control of the NDP based on how the seats shake down with floor crossings and caucus expulsions. My expectation is Jack Layton would be happier if the Greens were left in the Green Room and not on the stage.

The television broadcasters seem to think they should have the control over this aspect of our democracy. They get to say that if a Party does not have a seat in Parliament then you don’t get to participate in the debates. Who made them the boss of the citizens?

The environment is the #1 issue in the country right now and the Greens are the Party most identified with that issue. Besides their Leader Elizabeth May ran a very respectful second place in a recent southern Ontario By-election. She beat the Conservatives and the NDP candidates with a healthy 25% of the vote.

May and her Party are a significant and proven political force to be reckoned with. Seats should not be the only test for inclusion. Performance in voter support plays a role here too. It is no problem to include the Bloc in the debates, and their primary goal is to split up the country for God’s sake.

So regardless of your partisan politics, support the Greens being included in the debates. There is an on line petition on the Green's site. Show your support and sign up. We can show the broadcasters that they must reconsider this policy and include the Greens notwithstanding the lack of a seat.

If this petition isn’t enough, let’s start a movement to draft the Independent MP, Garth Turner to join the Greens. This would be for the sole purpose of giving them a seat to “qualify” under the broadcaster’s silly rules to be for included in the debates.

I think that would be a refreshing exercise of a strategic realpolitik power play by a Turner and May tag team. It would be a perfect response to the shallow thinking of the opponents of the Greens being included. I would applaud Turner if he were to decide to stay Green or if he chooses to resign from the Greens immediately after their participation in the debates were confirmed.

I am serious about a draft Turner effort if it becomes necessary. Some times you have to fight absurdity with absurdity. It is nice when you can do it with creativity and class. But in the meantime sign the petition and let’s be sure to let the powers that be know the Canadian democracy belongs to the citizens, not the broadcasters or the politicians.