Breaking news! Must credit random corporate blogger!


PM Harper’s spokesman says “If the NDP has decided they are changing their position… we will not stand alone on that point.” Harper will now participate in a debate, even with Elizabeth May present.


Breaking news! Must credit random corporate blogger!

  1. Guess Steve didn’t wanna be the only guy in the schoolyard scared of a girl. Whatta leader.

  2. The Conservatives are wising up to the fact that the Green Party getting more coverage will only further weaken the other three left wing parties.

    Let’s face it, she’s not going to be stealing many Tory votes.

  3. Two flip flops in one day! Way to go Stevie.

  4. Leaders debates should have freakin’ rules attached so we get out of this school yard stuff.

    Rule 1.) The Party must have elected members in the house prior to dissolution.

    Rule 2.) Your party must field candidates in at least 75% of the ridings across the country.

    Any other debates would not be official leaders debates and can because of their independant nature, can open to whichever parties wish to participate.

  5. Wow, so that would exclude the Bloc?

  6. Off topic, but happened to the assurances of bigcitylib and others who said this campaign would “write itself”.

    I recall something about “week 1: Listeria Outbreak”.

    So far Harper has owned the daily agenda even if he has stepped in his own puffin poop along the way.

  7. Can’t do anything that’ll risk pissing off any voters, don’tcha know…especially if it looks like you’re ascared of girls…

    What a spineless schmuck…


  8. Scott M.

    Yes, leaders debate would exclude the Bloc. However, if CBC or any other station or university wanted to host their own forum, the Bloc could be included in those.

    But this should be about National Leader Debates. It’s about the future of Canada and who can lead this country. It’s NOT about squakboxing or getting your message out.

  9. I would add to your rules that you must have 1% of the seats in the house..so currently, 3, to participate.

    Seriously, how hard is it for a supposedly national political party with supposedly high levels of support to focus and get three measly seats?

  10. I love how people try to inject gender issues into the whole debate thing. It wouldn’t matter if Elizabeth May was actually Edward May, a 6 foot tall, bearded brute of a lumberjack. They would still be the leader of a party WITHOUT ONE SINGLE ELECTED MEMBER and a voter share of less than 5% in the last election.

    Either you want a national leaders debate, or you want a playground scrap between preschoolers.

  11. I’m not sure if Harper is flip-flopping or listening. It’s very populous either way, so that makes every party stretching their policy into a big tent, full of, among other distractions, clowns and white elephants.

    This, along with full troop withdrawl from Afghanistan in the same day. I will want to read the details of these announcements, but it does seem Harper wants to start with a bang this election campaign.

  12. Darren Trent,

    How hard is it to get three measley seats? Ask Kim Campbell and the glory team that ran the PC’s incredible 1993 campaign haha.

  13. And so why turn away from new ideas, Riley?

    I think most Canadians who responded to this yesterday, yes even the Conservatives (47% said one poll — harpo wishes he had such numbers), agreed they were willing to hear Ms May’s ideas.

    I’m glad to see harpo flip flop on this one; as for Layton, he just plain looked sick at the news conference here in Regina when asked about it, and both he and harpo said it was the “network’s decision.”

    Can’t even admit when their own decisions. Weak.

  14. Now… will the Consortium come up with another excuse to avoid having 5 people on stage?

  15. “Willing to hear May’s ideas” and “Yes, she deserves a spot on the National Leaders Debate” are not the same thing.

    It’s not like you’re being banned from going to her website, attending her rally, reading her brochures or listening to her government mandated spots on CBC.

    This is about who can SERIOUSLY lead our country. I’m not proposing we ban anyone from learning about her ideas or being open to them. Heck, I’m not against the Greens. What I am saying is that a national leaders debate should MEAN something and not be some hocus pocus thing where everyone gets a treatbag.

  16. I hope the consortium stands it ground. May isn’t running to win seats, she’s simply there to grandstand on the environment. It’s bad enough to have the NDP and the Bloc leaders there, undisciplined by the possibility of power. May will be totally free to say whatever she wants because she has nothing to lose.

  17. Why should what has happened in past elections be relevant at all in determining who should be let in? It’s a major status-quo bias.

    Also, prior to the 2004 election how many MPs were elected under the banner of the Conservative Party of Canada?

    A better measure would be the *current* national support of the parties among Canadians. An obvious way to measure that would be how many paid members each party has and set a threshold based on that. (i.e. you need 10,000 paid party members across Canada to be able to participate).

  18. I like the idea of some kind of official benchmark to determine , but I always look to the 1993 election; Reform had only 1 seat in the house. Did the Bloq even have a seat in the house? I can’t remember…

    Yet no one could reasonably argue that those parties should not have been in the debate; everyone knew that both parties would win signficant support. The Bloq became the Official Opposition; and Reform came within a seat of 2 of becoming the Official Opposition.

    Perhaps a prospective debater would need to demonstrate the likelihood of winning a certain number of seats? I still don’t like the idea of having someone at the debate who has no realistic chance of winning more than a seat or 2. People need to hear from those leaders who actually have a viable chance of representing them. Parties who can’t win more than a seat or 2 are just noise.

  19. It’s NOT about squakboxing or getting your message out.

    That’s EXACTLY what it’s about, for all leaders.

  20. Meum pactum dictum, apparently not Mr. Harper’s motto?

    “Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.”

    – Ernest Hemingway.

  21. How hard is it to get three measley seats? Ask Kim Campbell and the glory team that ran the PC’s incredible 1993 campaign haha.

    Well Elizabeth May might get her three seats, and she’ll get more votes, but it won’t be at the expense of the Conservatives, it will be at the expense of the Libs, NDP, and Bloc.

  22. Let’s get real…in the House of Commons, a party must have at least 12 seats to be recognized as an official party. Recognition means that the party will get time to ask questions during question period (proportional to the number of seats) and money for research and staff (also proportional to the number of seats). The Green Party does not have official party status nor a current seat in the House where a candidate running under their banner won an election…if they, the Greens, are allowed to participate in the nationally televised debates then so too must all the registered political parties in Canada, being 15 in total. Sadly for May, if she does participate Canadians will really get a chance to see her in action and won’t waste a vote on the Greens…they need a new leader.

  23. Then why bother at all Riley? Just limit it to Dion and Harper, and forget the NDP, Bloc, and the Greens.

    Where does one draw the line?

    I’ll certainly admit that May’s manner of legitimizing the party in the debates was a bit underhanded, but compared to what has gone on leading up to the election call, it is small potatoes. And there is precedent with the Reform and the Bloc.

    And, of course, look at the Reform now! My how we’ve grown…they’re now a bunch of pubescent political hacks, who don’t know what to do, now that they’ve got the keys to the car.

    You reap what you sow, and Harper and Layton are eating crow (sorry that was unintentional). This is just another example that both Harper and Layton are cut from the same cloth: just blatant populists (what is it with CPCer’s and spelling/grammar? Oh right…pubescent) who can’t think about policy beyond their talking points.


  24. Have an open-for-all debate, but have another one with those that actually have a chance of becoming PM.

    Let’s have one debate with Harper and Dion, and no one else!

  25. I agree with the Dion/Harper debate! Let’s have that!

    How bout Paul Wells offer to host it! Macleans Leaders Forum!

  26. Darren Trent – “Let’s have one debate with Harper and Dion, and no one else!”

    I don’t think so Darren. As Harper’s flopping around like a dead fish here it’s obvious; Stephen Harper is not a leader.

  27. Mike – you don’t think the Rhinos could sell 10,000 $1 memberships?

  28. All this fuss about a “National Leader” debate but let’s face it, a caucus revolt could unseat any of them five minutes after Parliament convenes. The notion of Presidential Politics is difficult to properly marry to Canadian political structures.

  29. I’m assuming they all caved so that the issue would die already. Anyway, does May have any ideas not already taken by Dion? Why do two Liberals get to get into the debate? It would seem that May’s sole purpose in this election is to defeat as many Tories as possible.

  30. “Mike – you don’t think the Rhinos could sell 10,000 $1 memberships?”

    I thought political party memberships were all $10.. but maybe that’s convention rather than some legislative rule.

    You would want to come up with a threshold that discourages this kind of thing, though.. and one that has more thought put into it than me just coming up with numbers on the top of my head.

    At any rate, it should be part of the election act.. and not some decision made in a Putin-esque fashion where the media, government and political parties are determining these things behind doors so as to best benefit the status-quo.

  31. “It would seem that May’s sole purpose in this election is to defeat as many Tories as possible.”

    LOL, the Tory paranoia (why is it always the right wing and conservative parties that exhibit this – whether it be here, the US, or Australia).

  32. Imagine! Harper is being cowed by a woman!

  33. “The Green Party does not have official party status nor a current seat in the House where a candidate running under their banner won an election”

    For the last freakin’ time, the NDP and PC in 97 were not official parties, nor were the Bloc and Reform in 93, and they certainly hadn’t won seats in a general election, which seems as good as distinction as “ok they have an MP, but he wasn’t elected as a Green”.

    Anyway, moot point. Victory for the netroots, this one.

  34. Sunny: http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/

    Quite a few. Some the Liberals probably wouldn’t dare to take such as proportional representation.

    Some which I don’t think any other party would dare to take (for good reason) such as banning all tobacco advertising and promotion.

    All in all it looks like the party’s moved a good deal to the left since I last really looked at them. I’m unimpressed, personally.

  35. “All this fuss about a “National Leader” debate but let’s face it, a caucus revolt could unseat any of them five minutes after Parliament convenes.”

    Canadian political parties are FAR more leader-driven than those in any other mature parliamentary democracy. It’s important to get the leader out-in-front since it’s they alone who call their shots in their party (under normal circumstances).

    Only in Canada, for example, could someone like Dion, without a strong mandate from the party membership, insiders, or MPs, radically re-shape its platform in keeping with his priorities (the environment).

    Equally, Harper has steered his party strongly to the centre, despite its overwhelmingly right-wing MPs and membership.

  36. Banning all tobacco advertising and promotion? Communism!

  37. Doesn’t this – um – put a dent in Harper, The Leader narrative?

  38. Doesn’t this – um – put a dent in Harper, The Leader narrative?

    Um – no. You’re a narrative, Marshall McLuhan.

  39. No Anon, Harper is playing chess.

  40. So it looks like my boy STevie doesn’t have any problems debating Ms May : (like I’m surprised)stay tuned folks as this will be fascinating this lady may just have bitten off more than she may be able to chew especially after she says this : May argues she should be included because she is leading a distinct party and has candidates in 306 of 308 ridings. She also said she has no plans to endorse the Liberals but that realistically the election will boil down to Harper and Dion. “I consistently say a minority with Stephane Dion as prime minister, with enough Greens to keep us on track for positive change . . . is the honest answer. And I’d take enough Greens and NDPers, for that matter,” said May. – sounds like an endorsement to me!

  41. While everybody else in the room plays checkers, eh, Blue? You’d think he’d have the smarts to realize he’s in the wrong room.

  42. You are all playing checkers. Harper *wanted* May in the debates all along to steal votes from the NDP and the Liberals. Also, to leave him more time to work on his correspondence during the debate.

  43. Its called a “Leaders Debate” so if you lead a party represented in the Commons… yada,yada.

    I propose a decreasing round of “So You Think You Can Lead?” debates, eliminating people that call-in voters reject. Any predictions on a winner?

  44. I expect that we have just seen the zenith of the green party. Once Ms May is taken serious in the leadership debates I believe that the Green party will lose its protest vote status. This might help the Liberals but most likely will increase the did-not-vote count. Last election my second party was Green, the logic being that at least the vote for Green would not be too damaging to the country and would give the Green party the money to develop and present a platform.

    The first thing they do with this opporunity is to play back-room politics making side deals and strategic voting with the liberals.

    While I would never vote NDP at least they have my admiration for being open on whta they support and stand for.

    What are the Green positions on abortion and polygamy? Are they offical Green party positions or just Ms. May’s?

  45. From Darren Trent:

    “Let’s face it, she’s not going to be stealing many Tory votes.”

    Agreed. But she could persuade a lot of fence-sitters. So I think ALL the guys should be worried.

  46. A proud day for Canadian politics: the bar for being a leader of a major national party has been lowered to “lured an existing MP not elected under their banner that no other party wanted on account of the fraud thing”. They have no better chance of forming a credible force in the House of Commons than I do, but let’s not let petty considerations such as “reality” and “making the debate useful” stop us!

    If I’m the leader of the Communist Party of Canada, I’d be trying to make hay out of this: after all, the Communists have a 1-0 lead over the Greens in “number of candidates ever elected federally”. Hell, maybe somebody could dig up the corpse of the federal Social Credit Party: sure, they’ve been in the ground since 1988 but they’ve elected as many MPs as the Greens have in that time, and they got a bunch of guys elected back when they existed.

    That said, there is a silver lining here. Seeing Elizabeth May on a national stage without being filtered through the pens of reporters should destroy any hope the Greens ever had of wooing ordinary Canadians.

  47. What I am waiting for is when the focus of the target changes as right now all arrows aimed at Harper but pretty soon the gloves will come off between the rest and even Dion has to be very careful with Ms. May right now sure these little backroom ol’ boy deals work for awhile but the moment that the waters are chummed enough the two sharks turn on each other so it will b e a who bites who first and where- this is going to be the best debate yet I can’t wait!

  48. Lord Bob: Actually, it’s been lowered to “Getting a level of support that elections Canada considers worthy of taxpayer funding”

  49. Hey. Is it just me, or has Dion not rated any serious coverage in the last 48 hours? How’s that announcement-a-day strategy working out for you guys?

  50. Another masterstroke by Harper. Hard to keep up with the man.

  51. Hey Andrew E. Don’t poop on Dion’s parade.

  52. Excellent point Andrew E; what really gets me is that the Lib’s just do not seem to get it at the moment as they are all reaction and no action which is strategically very unsound as they say – even this puffin poo thing is turning into a nice little bit of fun on the trail so to speak and the self righteous only make themselves look silly. Dion better get his act together countdown – nasa we have a problem with take off!

  53. Wayne, Andrew E., Blues Clair – yes, Harper is indeed a leader. Always waiting to find out what it is he is supposed to be leading.

    A fruit, not a vegetable, and a LEADER.

  54. All I’m saying is, Dion might not be in touch with what Canadians are interested in these days, which appears to be shouting and pooping.

  55. Lord Bob: Actually, it’s been lowered to “Getting a level of support that elections Canada considers worthy of taxpayer funding”

    Please, if I loved something just because a government agency wanted to spend my money on it, I’d love everything.

    Admittedly, this would be a much easier way to live life.

  56. so where the NDP goes, so goes Harper’s nation?

  57. Yes, too many people are forgetting Capablanca’s infamous puffin poop opening…

  58. How would the Green Party go about about front-room politics exactly?

  59. All this talk of the Greens without a single elected member, it bears remembering that at one point, the new Conservative Party didn’t have a “single elected member”; they were all elected as PC’s or Canadian Alliance. So, such rules could have excluded them. Tighten up the rules, and then new parties don’t get to participate, some of these proposals would have left out the BQ, Reform, PC’s, and NDP at various points; certainly makes for a cleaner stage but all of these parties did well right after. I’m not voting Green, but in the last two elections that party grew its vote, and ran in nearly every, if not every riding. Its a serious party and deserves to be on the stage. Personally I get a lot more out of them, there, than the BQ, for which 3/4 of the country can’t vote for anyway. I don’t know if being on the stage will hurt the Greens themselves, the Tories, the NDP, or the Liberals, and I don’t really care either way. I’m glad they’ll be there.

  60. I so look forward to the day when we can have a National Leaders Debate with a Yogic Flyer hovering in the middle of the picture

  61. Frankly, I do not understand why the leader of a single-issue protest party, whose main support comes from voters looking for a place to park their vote, deserves a seat in the debate.

    Next time the organizers of the debate should insist that the party have a full platform – not just one based on Lizzie May’s prejudices.

  62. I agree with Jack that the debate about the debate was a total waste of time. To me it was the Florida/Michigan should the votes count issue. Remember by the time of the count the whether to count them as full or half votes was was moot in terms of the real impact on Obama’s win, Obama kept to the principle but eventually relented somewhat. I think that Jack looked at the media and their obsession with this and decided, time to move on. Let’s focus on the 500 workers that are out of work today. Let’s focus on demanding a moratorium on the oil sands the way Jack did yesterday. To me, Jack made the right decision for Canadians.

  63. Jim,

    I agree with your good points on the problems with “clear criteria”, but I disagree on admitting the Greens. The Green Party of Canada is little more successful than the Rhinocerous Party.

    Rhinocerous Party seats run in
    1979: 63
    1980: 121
    1984: 88
    1988: 74

    2000: 111
    2004: 308
    2006: 308

    Share of the vote
    1979: .55%
    1980: 1.01%
    1984: .78%
    1988: .4%

    2000: .81%
    2004: 4.32%
    2006: 4.48%

    Average vote received in ridings run in
    1979: 994
    1980: 912
    1984: 1,116
    1988: 705

    2000: 941
    2004: 1,890
    2006: 2,162

    Estimated Average Percent of votes in ridings run in
    1979: 2.3%
    1980: 2.4%
    1984: 2.5%
    1988: 1.5%

    2000: 2.2%
    2004: 4.32%
    2006: 4.48%

    This shows that:

    A. The Greens have NOT made a breakthrough. Their increase in level of support is almost proportional to the increase in the number of seats they have run in.

    B. The Greens have barely moved beyond levels of support obtained by a satirical protest party.

    C. To those that support 1. Clear standards and 2. admitting the Greens, you are casting a net so wide it would mean ridiculous inclusions.

  64. As a “random corporate blogger” myself, I’m impressed with the speed with which this happened. 48 hours ago, the decision was made. 24 hours ago, both Mr. Harper and Mf. Layton were entrenched in their positions. But thanks to Facebook posts, blogs, grassroots movements and media coverage of the issue – both leaders changed their positions and made the right decision. You have to wonder what else a volatile electorate can change if it sets its mind to it.

    For an example of one of those random corporate blogs that’s been talking about this issue – take a look at http://election08.fleishman.ca

  65. I have been racking my greyware thinking of a new shrt name for the LPC fromerly known as Grits however now that they and the Greens are making a nice little nest together what should it be caled. Let me see Liberal Green ” maybe Griberal?

  66. “You have to wonder what else a volatile electorate can change if it sets its mind to it.”

    How does this reflect a volatile electorate? It reflects new technologies that make it easier to mobilize people, such that large numbers of people that care just a little bit about something can register their opinions (previously you would have to sign a petition or go to a rally, which fewer would be willing to do).

    Frankly, I think most of the effects of technology on the political process are negative. Just look at how ghastly and negative the election to the south is – I think I can count at least 100 false facts about Palin, while Obama had to contend with the Muslim thing, and the whitey tape. Prepare for 40 years of utterly horrid politics.

  67. On the bright side, hoser, with technology you can actually look those 100 facts up and find out that they are false (or not) and make more informed decisions. For those not afraid of using their brains and forming their own opinion rather than accepting the spoon-fed ones that political parties would like us to, this is a very good thing.

  68. You’re on the west coast, right Wayne? Isn’t it a bit early to be drinking? Don’t worry, Harper got off to a bad start but he’ll turn things around.

  69. I’d like to see an “all candidates” debate with low requirements to get in and a “leaders” debate with high requirements.

    I’d really like to see a debate with only those that can reasonably form government or official opposition in it.

    How about for inclusion in the “all candidates”, you need 5% support in previous election and/or an elected member at dissolution.

    For leaders debate, make it tougher.

    20% (or top three) support in previous election, running in 95% of ridings, and official party status at dissolution.

    That lets the regional parties and new parties have a forum, but might allow a real debate to take place for the people who could actually form government or opposition.

  70. mecheng: The danger in who can “reasonably” form government or opposition is that the electorate is not that predictable. Remember the progressive conservatives getting basically wiped from the map back in 1993 due to Mulrooney (who Harper protects to this day — probably as a thank you for handing Reform power), something nobody expected.

  71. May should consider telling the Consortium to stick their offer if they don’t allow more parties into the debate with her. Have more debates to accommodate the other leaders of registered national parties.

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