Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RE: Let Elizabeth May Debate


Dear Members of the Canadian Broadcast Consortium, 

I am writing out of astonishment and disappointment at your recent decision to exclude Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada from the televised debates. Ms. May lead the Green Party to accumulate almost 1 million votes in the last Canadian election. Despite the party’s failure to obtain a seat, the Greens demonstrated a massive amount of support for their political priorities. 

The decision to allow a leader to participate in the televised debated based on the pretext of a sitting Member of Parliament is unreflective of Canadian values. Both British Colombia and Ontario have run referenda asking their constituents if the current first-past-the-post (FPP) voting system was working for them. The Green Party and the New Democratic Party advocate for electoral reform incorporating some form of proportional representation (PR); debate on Canada’s electoral system is ongoing. Why does your consortium believe it has the right to firmly support the ancient electoral system our British colonizers imposed on us, when Canadians have not come to a consensus on the issue?

The debate between FPP and PR is one that pits geographic representation against ideological representation. Because Canada operates on FPP the national vote percentage sees the seats in parliament unequal to the national vote share. This relationship has seen the Green Party shut out of parliament, despite garnering 1 million votes. FPP electoral systems privilege geography, but for the televised debates to exclude the Green Party is an unjust silencing of many Canadians.

To be more reflective of the Canadian values of provision of equal opportunity, the criteria on which you allow leaders to participate in the televised debates should coincide with the minimum % of national vote share necessary to receive federal funding, 2%.  Under such conditions the current 5 largest parties in Canada would be invited to debate the issues that matter most to Canadians. 

I strongly encourage that you let Elizabeth May debate and to re-align your policies so that they may be better representative of Canadian values. As Canadian media sources, you are responsible for much of our nation building, and our nation is not built on unjust exclusion. 

Sincerely,

D$$