Monday, September 15, 2008

Leaders debate revisited

A column from Lysiane Gagnon here. Summary: the Green Party should not have been allowed into the leaders debate because they don't meet established "clear and perfectly fair" criteria of proven popular support and Commons representation.

Clear? They aren't clear to me, because they've never been cited by the broadcasters consortium or any of the articles I've found on this issue. Apparently they aren't clear to Ms. Gagnon either; she goes on to say that popular support "should ideally be measured by the percentage of the vote won in the previous election" and "a threshold of 5 per cent... seems reasonable." 'Should', 'ideally', 'seems reasonable'. All the terms one expects to see in reference to something that's absolutely clear, right? If they're clear then why speculate about what they ought to be?

She goes on to write: "The other rule was that the party had to be represented in the House of Commons. Yet, the Greens have no MP elected under the party's banner." They don't have an MP elected under the party's banner. They do have an MP. Are the rules clear here? Does the broadcasters consortium have it written down somewhere that the MP has to be elected under the party's banner? Or is Ms. Gagnon being, perhaps, a little disingenuous here by sneaking in the word 'elected'?

Really, this article misses the entire point. Elizabeth May was able to "elbow her way into the major leagues" because the other party leaders, not "the rules", were offered as the reason for her exclusion. If the rules had been clear and fair and cited as a reason for May's exclusion, that might have been the end of it. They weren't cited because their nature and application aren't clear at all. The article does nothing more than interpret that uncertainty so as to support a particular point of view.

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