Once again, the Green Party of Canada has to fight to have its leader Elizabeth May in the debates. I hope it wins that right; exclusion is outrageous. The Debate is not just an exercise in journalism, it is as integral to the electoral process as secret ballots and electoral finance laws. Private companies should not be able to make a capricious decision on this matter.
The Green Party has polling percentages nationally that are similar to the NDP and Bloc. It hasn't elected an MP simply because its support is evenly spread through the country, although that might change since polls show it doing particularly well in BC. It has had one sitting MP a few years ago who changed parties.
I think any party that has demonstrated electoral support, and commitment to Parliament, should be allowed into the debates.
Criteria for demonstrated electoral support could be based on a combination of a) overall popular vote in the last election; b) current polls, and c) coming second or better in seats in the last election. Give a party one point for each percent in items a and b, 1 points for each seat in which they came second (including by-elections since the last election), and 2 points for each seat it won. I would set a threshold at 12 points for meeting this criteria. This is set so a party that consistently gets 6% support would be in the debate, but focused support in seats would given them a boost even if they were below 6%. Coming second in a seat is a major achievement, and shows potential for winning. The Green party received 6.8% of the popular vote and is now polling at about 10%. It came second in five seats (Central Nova, Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, Calgary Southeast, Macleod and Wild Rose). Therefore it would have 21.8 points.
And as for commitment to Parliament, give a party 2 points for every province or territory they run in, 1 point for every percent of the seats nationally they run in and 10 points for every year in the last 10 that they have had an MP in parliament at some point. The Green party would get 136 points, since they are running in all the seats, and had an MP for a while before the last election. I would set a threshold at 70 for this criterion (this is set so that the Bloc, when it was new, would just have met the criterion)
Here's how to voice your support for the Green Party's participation.
Vote in CBC's poll on whether Elizabeth should be invited to the leaders' debates
Sign the Green party's own petition
Send a text message to the Chair of the Media Consortium, Mr. Troy Reeb of Global TV on his cell phone at 647-261-3752
Email the news directors of consortium members CBC, CTV, Global, TVA
This is part of my continuing series of posts on Canadian politics, and the current election in particular. If you enjoyed it, then please also my previous posts.