BTC: Sorry Liz


Fresh from the inbox.

“The Consortium approached the parties to explore the possibility of including the Green Party in all or part of the Leaders’ Debates. However, three parties opposed its inclusion and it became clear that if the Green Party were included, there would be no Leaders’ Debates. In the interest of Canadians, the Consortium has determined that it is better to broadcast the debates with the four major party leaders, rather than not at all.”

The cynical reaction? This might be the best thing to happen to Elizabeth May.

First, she’s relatively untested on the national stage and there’s no guarantee she would have succeeded against Messrs. Harper, Dion, Duceppe and Layton. As much as appearing might have given her legitimacy, she might just as easily have bombed.

Second, as various the comments below seem to demonstrate, this may only galvanize support for the Greens in some sectors.


BTC: Sorry Liz

  1. Has the Consortium approached the parties to explore the possibility of including the Conservatives in all or part of the Leaders Debates? The Bloc? The Liberals?

    Duh. Of course they’re going to say “We don’t want them” Hell, if they could, they’d each prefer a debate where they were the only speaker. If the Consortium said, “Greens are in. You can not participate if you want”, does anybody really think *any* of them would refuse?

  2. When I read this post I got a chill down my spine. Who the hell is ‘The Consortium’ and why do they get to decide anything?

    I have now done some goggling and The Consortium is not as ‘star chamber-ish’ as it sounds but I still don’t like it. I understand a line has to be drawn somewhere but I don’t like where it’s been placed this time. The green party seems to have significant support across Canada and their leader should be heard. And it would be entertaining to watch May run verbal rings around the rest of them.

  3. Good call. She leads a fringe party that has no chance of winning more than 2 or 3 seats, if that, and is openly cheering for some Liberal candidates.

    If I were a Green party member, I’d be furious with Ms. May, what with having sold the party out to the Liberals.

  4. If the Bloc had ZERO elected for the Bloc and a booted MP that spent ZERO days in the Commons with the Bloc the exact same question would be asked.

  5. anon: They did. In 1993. They were in the debates.

  6. Pardon my language, but this is bullshit. No matter where one stands on the Greens, this is abuse of power. Just so we’re clear on this: the BQ can participate, even though they don’t run candidates outside of Quebec. But the Green party – having now met the criteria previously used to keep them out – are now subject to the whims of the other parties?!

    May I suggest everyone donate a bit to the Green party in support of their forthcoming legal action to get included? Even if you don’t plan to vote for them, this seems like a time for all of us who care about democracy to make ourselves heard.

  7. This news is disgusting. That three of the parties didn’t want May in the debates speaks volumes about their view of what ‘democracy’ means and the rights of voters.

    The Cons have an excuse. No one expects those neocons and Republicans in sheep’s clothing to act honourably.

    But the once-grassroots NDP hasn’t a leg to stand on in its failure to support the inclusion of the Greens in the debates. It was crass partisanship that was at play here, in all its ugliness.

  8. Actually, this is wonderful news for Liz May. THIS will now be the story for the next day, at least. Harper will be asked about it soon enough, and there goes another news cycle. Layton, the next day, and on and on.

    And Liz can just play the old-boys’-victim-card and milk it for all it’s worth. She must have a secret admirer somewhere.

  9. Which three parties?

  10. “Which three parties?”

    Cons, NDP and BQ

  11. Wassim, it has to be the Tories, NDP, and Bloc. The Liberals want her in the debate. Harper says it’s because, well, she’s a Liberal. She certainly acts like it sometimes.

    I might add that, if anyone should take responsibility for this decision, it should be the networks, too.

    They could have easily included her, have the three party leaders bow out, and make them look like they refused to debate her.

    Instead, the networks buckled.

  12. Lizzie May took an axe and gave the Consortium 40 wacks When she saw what she had done she gave Dion 41! – personally I would love to see her in the debates the more the merrier what will be funnier though is if the Greens actually do good in this election and the Liberlas fall through the floor the ol honeymoon with Dion might take a sudden turn in an unexpected direction.

  13. Simply put, she did this to herself. Do you suppose that when she was endorsing Dion for PM, she ever considered the potential impact of that statement down the road?

    She’ll sue, of course, and anyone who has recently donated money to the Greens will be proud to know that they have lined the pockets of some already-wealthy lawyers.

    They’ll lose, too. The courts won’t directly inject themselves into the electoral process unless electoral law says they have to. Again, her public statements in support of another party leader for PM will make it easy for the court to wash its hands of the whole mess.

  14. TT, sorry but Lucien Bouchard, Nic Leblanc, Louis Plamondon, Benoît Tremblay, Gilbert Chartrand, François Gérin, Rocheleau and Jean Lapierre etc. did sit together for more than ZERO days.

  15. The only way I can make sense of Dion wanting May in the debate is if he knows she will ultimately endorse the Liberals in non-competitive Green ridings (read: all but three or four across the country). Otherwise she just splits the left-of-centre / environmentalist vote even further.

    Has she ever explicitly denied this eventuality?

  16. No Bloc MP’s sat together. They weren’t an official party.

  17. “We asked four of your competitors and all but one agreed that you shouldn’t be allowed to do business in Canada.” That’s effectively what the consortium is saying to the GPC.

    Actually this could be good news, because it will give the Greens a chance to change something about our faltering democratic process and help the cause of taking back our public airwaves from the advertising industry. Can’t see a court not siding with full and fair airing of opinions by all federally funded political parties.

    I can’t wait. Injunction junction chooowhoooo …

  18. Style question … when I say “consortium” do I need to pronounce it in all CAPS with a bit of reverb? Maybe a host of cherubim singing in the background?

  19. “The cynical reaction? This might be the best thing to happen to Elizabeth May.”

    Agreed. I’m quite certain she’s disappointed but being so publicly shafted by two of the most untrusted groups in Canada – politicians and media/journalists can only win her support.

    See: http://www.legermarketing.com/documents/spclm/070522ENG.pdf

    Now all she needs is a used car dealers association to go after her and she’s got it made.

  20. Given a choice between being shafted by “the man”, and being legitimized through inclusion in the debates, I think she would have chosen the latter.

    Unless there is some public outcry, she will end up losing to MacKay and we might not hear from her again.

    I think that’s the reality.

  21. In 1993, the Bloc had several MPs who had crossed the floor mostly from the Conservatives. The other parties wanted those Bloc ridings that the Bloc was invited to the debates. If the Greens had 12 MPs who had crossed the floor from the other parties, those parties would be inviting the Greens to the debates; those parties would want the Green ridings to turn a different colour.

  22. This is outrageous. I think it says something about the other political parties, but not much since its a bit of a no-brainer to not want her there. However, that this consortium actually allows their wants to rule is unbelievable!

    What do we know about the consortium? What networks specifically, who are the, I don’t know, Presidents, Directors of News, old boys in charge?

    How dare they decide who I can hear ask for my vote?

    T. Thwim has it exactly right.

  23. T. Thwim: “No Bloc MP’s sat together. They weren’t an official party.”

    What are you talking about? Of course they were a registered party, and they had 8 MP’s sitting in the House (actually recognized by the Speaker, in the House) before the 1993 election.

    They didn’t have official party status, but they were categorized as Bloc Quebecois members.

  24. Let’s be clear, here. She didn’t do this to herself. The other parties and the Consortium did it to her. The release didn’t say that the Consortium had been impressed with the other party leaders’ arguments that she was supporting the Liberals. It only said that they were trying to appease them, whatever their reasons for opposing her inclusion.

    They threatened not to play if the Consortium included her, and the Consortium folded.

    The fact that the people running the debates can be manipulated out of something as plainly fair as following the standards they themselves adopted for who will and will not be included eliminates any credibility that they had in the first place.

    Maybe the consortium should ask some more of these questions. I wonder how the other parties feel about the Bloc being included? Maybe then we could ask the remaining three whether or not the Conservatives should be allowed. Maybe we should ask them what sorts of questions they’d like to see asked? Why not? If we’re not nice to them, they might not come.


  25. When the court decides against her, it may well take her repeatedly expressed support for the Liberals into account. We’ll never know – courts aren’t always explicit about the factors influencing their decisions.

    Playing footsie with Dion gained her party absolutely jack-squat. And it may have cost her the chance to participate in the debate.

    I repeat: She did this to herself. Now, she will spend thousands of dollars of other peoples’ money trying to fix the mess she created. Everyone who wrote a cheque to the Green Party thinking they were buying some smart lawyers their 2009 summer vacations, raise your hand.

  26. Also, recall that the Bloc MPs in the House in 1993 weren’t all “switchers.” They had elected MPs under their banner. The first MP elected as a BQ member was current leader Gilles Duceppe, who won a 1990 by-election as a member of the BQ.

    What, if a loony MP on his last legs decides to join some lunatic fringe party, that gets them into the debate? That was the logic May was working on when she pulled this stunt with Blair Wilson. Pretty weak.

    May was sending cheerleading e-mails to Liberal candidates as recently at 9:19 am this morning. Hilarious. Half her party wants to string her up by this point.

  27. Sending this to Jack Layton:

    I’d just like to say as a voter who has supported the NDP in the past I was both astonished and embarrassed to read in the paper this morning that Mr. Jack Layton was one of the conspirators who refused to participate in the televised debates if Elizabeth May of the Green Party had been invited.

    However you choose to spin it, this is nothing but a simple act of cowardice. I guess I was wrong to expect better of you and the NDP. Good luck with the campaign, but you just lost another voter to the Greens. You squandered whatever opportunity you had to retain my vote when you slapped democracy in the face by threatening to take your ball and go home.

  28. Why does not Elections Canada and CPAC host debates?

  29. Okay, everyone talks about “the Consortium” like they are a secret society…who exactly are the “Constortium” and who BY NAME make the decision?

  30. Who is/are in the “Consortium” that allowed themselves to be strong-armed and blackmailed? I want to give them a piece of … advice.

  31. I disagree with Elizabeth May’s decision to sit, as the Green Party’s first MP, an ex-Liberal MP who was booted from the Liberal caucus for campaign spending irregularities. However, I think she deserves a spot at the debating podium because nearly 700,000 people voted Green in the last election and, if polling results over these past few months translate into pro votes at the ballot box, the Greens should near, and perhaps surpass, the one million mark. Hundreds of thousdands of Canadians, who care enough about the environment and the future to vote for something other than the mainstream parties, deserve a spot at that podium through Elizabeth May.

    I suspect the biggest reason that Tubby objected to having her there is because his charisma-challenged “school monitor” personality would have taken a drubbing in the unforgiving glare of public television once feisty Elizabeth’s sharp tongue got going. By the way, the other three deserve to be condemned too for not having the decency to take a stand and side with May in this matter. Paint Tubby (who is reputed to be rather thin-skinned) into a corner and we’d see the real Harper emerge.

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