Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Green party debate

In Canada the TV stations decided that they would hold a televised debate with only four of the current registered parties taking part. The TV stations also decided that if a party did not have any members in our house of parliament, that party  would not take part in the debate. The Green Party of Canada has about 5% of the votes but because of our first past the post system did not elect any members to the house of Parliament.  The leader of the Green Party is a woman called Elizabeth May. She objected and has taken the issue to court to fight for her "right" to participate in the debates. The TV debates are important as they may make a difference as to which party wins in a close vote. The Bloc is a party that advocates the French Canada should leave Canada. Only Canadians would allow the leader of a party with this agenda to debate about how Canada should be led. :-)

The issue that appeared to be taking up time away from the other policy issues of the Canadian election is the issue of whether or not Elizabeth May should be allowed to take part in the leadership debates. The debate is interesting, Creative Revolution has some interesting ideas on this as do the readers of CBC news. I initially thought she should not be in the debates and I also believe that the Bloc should not be in the debates. My thinking on the Bloc, is that the Bloc only runs in one province and therefore should not be invited to debate at the national level.  I see nothing wrong with them taking part in a French Canadian debate amongst all leaders.

My initial thinking about Elizabeth May is that she and the Green Party were given the opportunity to take part in the last debate, but they failed to get a member elected. They may have gahered 5% of the vote in the last election, but they are, in my mind a party, that has not yet impressed enough Canadians to get any members elected. So even though they are running in every riding, they should not be given the right to debate at the National level, with the three other parties who have impressed Canadians enough to get members elected.

However, when I did listen to her position on why she should be in the debate, I realized that she had a legitimate arguement and that with  5% of the vote perhaps she should be given a chance to take part in the debate. The matter is moot as the courts have refused to hear her case, and unless there is a huge public outcry she will not be heard.

Having said the above, I do believe that the Green Party would have been better served if they focused their money, attention and time on finding key ridings where they had a chance to get elected. Once they show me and I suspect other Canadians,  that they have what it takes to get a member elected then I would be more willing to take them seriously. Until then, in my opinion, because of the size of their vote, they have a right to be at the table as they have shown they are not a minor party, but perhaps so do any of the other parties that have not elected members to the House but who represent legitimate (or not) concerns of many Canadians.

The following are a list of the 19 registered political parties in Canada from the Elections Canada Website. I have included the links to each party as well. Note only four have members in the House at this time, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc.

*         Bloc Québécois
*         Canadian Action Party
*         Communist Party of Canada
*         Green Party of Canada
*         Liberal Party of Canada
Western Block Party

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