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Debating about Debates

Just to continue the election discussion (with ready eye on differences between Canadian and U.S. system) started from a previous post along with links to other related stories and comments, I would like to add some more comments about Elizabeth May (leader of the Green Party) being excluded and then included in the television debate.

In another article from the Globe and Mail, it quotes that “Mr. Layton and Mr. Harper said they objected to her presence because, on occasion, she had expressed support for Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. Allowing her into the debate would effectively put two Liberals on the stage, they argued.”

Do their reasons for excluding May, if true, seem a bit absurd and illogical, especially in a democracy? Are we not free, in a democratic country, to express our support for the party and leader we so desire? Are not leaders also free to agree with ideas and members from parties not their own? If there are, in fact, ‘two Liberals on the stage,” then maybe the other leaders should think long and hard about why those ‘liberal’ policies are attracting support and consider counteracting those ideas or buidling upon them and suggesting how their own parties can do a better job.

Indeed, in these build up to elections, so much, too much time is spent on arguing about procedures, how to play the game, rather than the substance of the game itself. It’s no wonder many Americans find our system odd when we have such heated debates on the participation of Elizebeth May, yet just automatically include the Bloc Party (whose only interest is in protecting French rights) as one of the players in every election.

How about in the States? Do these issues arise? Or maybe it’s worse in that only 2 parties are ever really in the debate? Or is actually less about the Party but the Presidential candidates? Other than Nader in the past, does any name even have any recognition beyond the 2 main parties?

Patrick Law

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