Three of the four mainstream parties have really stepped in it by refusing Elizabeth May a seat in the leaders’ debates. Technically, the decision is that of the TV networks, but it’s based on opposition from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe.
Stephane Dion of the Liberals is alone in welcoming May to the debates.
The rationale for excluding May is that the Green Party she leads has never elected an MP but it can be argued the Greens have greater national legitimacy than the Bloc. While the latter, of course, is a Quebec-centred party, the Greens are running candidates in all but two of 308 federal ridings, and have been growing their support to a respectable percentage.
While playing the gender card on May’s exclusion is going a step too far, there’s no question the Greens deserve a chance to be heard via their leader at the debates.
I think I can speak for the other sponsoring local media in guaranteeing that local Green candidate Donovan Cavers — possibly the second least-known local politician after Cathy McLeod — will be welcome at the all-candidates election forum tentatively scheduled for the TRU Grand Hall on Oct. 8. (That forum, by the way, will be jointly hosted by The Daily News, TV7 and Kamloops This Week.)
And if May or any other national leader wants to drop in as well, I’m pretty sure we’d give them a spot at the mike.
Comments on the exclusion of May from the debates, or on any other issue, are welcome.