See? I told you this would get interesting!
From the ITQ mailbox:
For Immediate Release
September 10, 2008
Centre for the Study of Democracy Offering Networks and Parties Inclusive Televised Leaders Debate
Queen’s University: The Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) at Queen’s University is issuing a public call to Canada’s federal party leaders and television leaders to attend and broadcast an inclusive leaders’ debate at Queen’s University on September 29, 2008.
“In the heat of the moment, and with election tensions running high, some of the major parties and television networks have made a grave mistake in excluding Green Party Leader Elizabeth May from the televised debates during this general election,” said CSD Chairman, Dr. Tom Axworthy.
“We are offering our facilities and expertise to correct this affront to the democratic process and citizen engagement in Canada. The CSD believes that May and all the leaders deserve and have earned the right to be heard during this campaign. Canadians themselves should expect no less.”
All networks are invited to put aside their corporate and competitive concerns and broadcast the CSD Leaders’ Debate as a service to all Canadians.
September 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., Queen’s University’s historic Grant Hall will be the site of a televised inclusive town‐hall leaders debate. The debate format will feature 30 minutes in each official language followed by moderated questions and answers from the audience of Queen’s students, staff and faculty and community. The CSD will prepare the questions and determine the rules and format. CSD Fellow Mary Lou Finlay, former CBC host of ‘As it Happens’ will reprise her
role as moderator.
”The decision by some of the parties and networks to exclude one of the party leaders will only increase voter cynicism and disengagement in an era when citizen involvement in Canadian politics, particular amongst the young, is declining,” added CSD Fellow Arthur Milnes. “We can only hope that in the interests of Canadian democracy that the parties and networks will respond positively to the invitation extended by Dr. Axworthy and the CSD “
“That this unfortunate decision was made during the 20th anniversary season of the greatest televised Leaders’ Debates in Canadian history, only adds to the disappointment many Canadians are now voicing over the exclusionary nature of this year’s debates,” says CSD fellow Peter O’Malley.
The famous Free Trade debates between Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Ed Broadbent in the famed 1988 general election.
Party leaders and networks are encouraged to affirmatively respond by September 17 to the CSD’s offer for planning and logistical reasons.
(Full disclosure: Yes, the Peter O’Malley quoted above is a relation – he’s my dad. No, I didn’t know anything about it before I got this release, but honestly, I think it’s a great idea.)