Little Fish in a Giant pond

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Canadian Democracy Takes Yet Another Hit

I haven't been able to find much free time to blog lately, since life as a student-at-law has been keeping me pretty busy these days, but I absolutely have to speak out against the Consortium of Networks decision not to allow Elizabeth May to join the televised leadership debates.

I don't agree with everything the Green Party stands for, in fact I think it's pretty obvious that I am a strong supporter of the Liberal Party, but there is no escaping the fact that 4.5% of Canadians who voted in the 2006 General elections thought that the Green Party deserved their vote. In fact, in many of the by-elections that have occured throughout Stephen Harper's term in office, the Green Party's support seems to be growing quite steadily as they have managed to beat the NDP several times and have come quite close on other occasions. I think they have earned the right to be heard on the national level.

I truly and sincerely hope that Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada take this case to court! I'm not sure what grounds they will be choose to base their claim on, since I do no think that the Consortium of Networks is a government agency, so the Charter won't apply to it, but freedom of speach is guaranteed under Section 1d) of the Canadian Bill of Rights, which applies to everyone, so perhaps the Greens may have a case! May they fight and win!

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  • Am pretty sure the consortium had set a couple thresholds for inclusion... something like 5% of the vote and an elected MP under the party banner. The Green's met the former but not the latter and were thus excluded.

    I mean we can argue that needing an elected mp for inclusion is too stiff a requirement, but most people are acting like its strictly "non democratic" to not include the Greens.

    Well we could say the same thing for Natural Law, Marxist-Leninist, and every other fringe party out there. There has to be a threshold for inclusion... the Green's don't bitch about the 5% because they've managed it but if they didn't have it they'd cry that was unfair too. They instead cry about the req of elected MP because they haven't done that.

    I guarantee you if they had elected an MP but had under 5% support they'd be bitching the other way. Nothing to do with democracy, everything to do with a party weaseling its way up the food chain.

    By Blogger Darcy, at 6:56 AM  

  • Well that's one way of looking at it Darcy. But another is to keep in mind that when an injustice is committed, it is often only those who were slighted that will speak out against it.

    I can certainly agree that an objective standard has to be set, or there would simply be too many leaders participating in the debate. Just the same, I also believe that there are exceptions to every rule, and given that the Greens have such a high percentage of the popular vote, I think it's pretty obvious that we're not talking about some crackpot that no one in their right mind will pay attention to.

    By Blogger Fish, at 8:24 PM  

  • "I think it's pretty obvious that we're not talking about some crackpot that no one in their right mind will pay attention to."

    We'll see if you feel the same way after the leader's debate :p

    And if you're saying that their exclusion to date was "unjust" what you are then saying is that 5% and 1 elected official is too stiff a requirement (I cant even verify if this is the requirement that was in place but let's say it was) - which begs the question, what requirement would be fair?

    It's all fine and dandy to say its not fair that they're excluded, but come up with a better system or at the very least explain what it is about the current system that is unfair. We agree some threshold has to exist, we would (perhaps) disagree on where it should be set.

    But this is in any case not an issue about "democracy", it's a micro issue about setting a threshold. I mean fuck if you want true democracy everyone in the country has to have the right to be there and speak. We already set rules and thresholds, so saying a rule or threshold is undemocratic is farcical.

    By Blogger Darcy, at 1:46 PM  

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