EDITORIAL: Let May be part of the debate

The broadcast consortium has decided to bar Green party leader Elizabeth May from the 2011 federal leaders’ debates.

She learned of this from a Canadian Press reporter, not the consortium, which represents Canada’s largest television networks.

Only after public outrage was she included in the 2008 debates, during which she displayed her assertive persona.

Initially, the Conservatives and the NDP refused to participate if she was invited.

Now the consortium argues that the Green party has never earned an elected seat in the House of Commons and, therefore, isn’t worthy of airtime, in English or French.

We couldn’t disagree more.

The Bloc party only runs candidates in Quebec, yet it is allowed to take part in the debates?

The Green party is running candidates in all 308 Canadian ridings. Peter Tam is the party’s nominee in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission, where, in 2008 election, the Greens earned more votes than the Liberals.

In all, the Green party garnered close to a million votes, representing one in 10 Canadians, or 6.8 per cent of all votes cast, for which it receives taxpayer money.

What party leader would be willing to tell all those voters that their opinions, and dollars,  don’t matter?

Those opinions largely concern the state of the environment, an issue that will no doubt be part of the leaders’ debates.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton are both willing, this time, to accept if Ms. May is included in the debates, which for the most part, are all bickering.

Regardless, the broadcast consortium needs to rethink its arbitrary decision and apologize to Ms. May, and voters, and let her speak.

There really is no debating that.

– Black Press

Abbotsford News