Elizabeth May should be included in debates

After the first debate of this election cycle, the Maclean's National Leaders Debate showed that Elizabeth May belongs in any future debates about policy, direction, and the future of this country.

Elizabeth May should be included in debates

After the first debate of this election cycle, the Maclean’s National Leaders Debate showed that Elizabeth May belongs in any future debates about policy, direction, and the future of this country.

Maclean’s itself posted five non-partisan reasons Ms. May belongs in the debates, including the statements that “she brings welcome diversity, and “her focus on issues highlights political blustering.” Maclean’s called her role an “articulate, data-rich and civil performance.”

The Ottawa Citizen ran a headline that read “Canadians want Greens’ Elizabeth May at future debates” based on a poll conducted by Postmedia. The Huffington Post claimed that “Elizabeth May proves she deserves a spot in each debate.”

However, some media outlets were far less generous of their assessment of May, calling her a “talented distraction” (Toronto Star) and the “mouse that roared.” Really?

Of course, anyone who tuned into the debate, and the analyses of the debates that followed, realizes that every blogger or analyst has his or her own perspectives of all of the candidates, but that sounds like petty putdowns.

Many mainstream media have been quick to marginalize Elizabeth May and the Green Party. Yet Ms. May was voted Parliamentarian of the Year, Hardest Working Member of Parliament, and Orator of the Year in successive years in Maclean’s Parliamentarian Awards – as chosen by fellow MPs. Despite this recognition, she was not even invited to the debates during the 2011 election, on the basis that Greens did not have a seat in Parliament at that time.

Now that Greens have three seats in Parliament – more than the Progressive Conservatives prior to the 1997 election – the rules have apparently changed. And those 1997 PCs? Yup, they were included in the election debate. Heck, Gilles Duceppe, a federal (but not federalist) leader committed to only one province’s sovereignty ambitions, was included in the last debates.

Nevertheless, most Canadians really do want Ms. May, as well as all federal leaders, present at all debates so that we can hear her perspective. According to iPolitics on August 14, a more recent poll by Ekos shows that 71 per cent of Canadians (and 53 per cent of Conservative supporters) believe that all four federalist leaders should attend all of the debates.

So why hasn’t Ms. May yet been included in these debates, save for the original “consortium” debates for which she was finally invited, only to see Stephen Harper pull out? Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has stated that he supports Elizabeth May’s presence at all debates. Tom Mulcair is playing coy, having threatened not to participate in the consortium debates if PM Harper is not present. And Mr. Harper? Perhaps his reluctance to debate with Elizabeth May would be to avoid too many inconvenient truths.

Can Tom Mulcair and Stephen Harper explain why they want Ms. May excluded from future debates? Their reluctance seems to be going against the grain of Canadians’ wishes.

Gerald Haase

Marsh Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read