Greens see red over debate exclusion

Green Party Leader Kristina Calhoun is blasting the CBC’s decision to exclude her from Wednesday’s debate as “undemocratic and discriminatory.” Gerald Dickson, leader of the First Nations Party, is miffed. “It’s not fair,”...

Green Party Leader Kristina Calhoun is blasting the CBC’s decision to exclude her from Wednesday’s debate as “undemocratic and discriminatory.”

Gerald Dickson, leader of the First Nations Party, is also miffed about being left out. “It’s not fair,” he said in an interview. “We have a right to be heard.”

Better to call the whole thing off than leave both fledgling parties out, say the Greens.

“The CBC is saying that minorities don’t matter,” the Greens charge in a news release. “If the CBC cannot respect the diversity of all Yukon voters then we suggest they not have a forum at all.”

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But the public broadcaster can hardly be accused of ignoring the new parties, said Janice Stein, CBC North’s managing director. It’s dutifully reported on their campaign announcements.

It just won’t invite them to the leaders debate, because neither Calhoun or Dickson stand a chance of becoming premier.

Neither party has a member in the legislature. Neither has ran a candidate before. And both are running just two candidates – the minimum required to retain their official party status.

“You invite the parties that realistically have a chance of forming a government, because those are the ones the public really needs to know about,” said Stein.

“It’s a standard practice, right across the country, with all the media. It’s not anything particular to the Yukon.”

The Yukon Party helped stir the pot on Friday, when it called for both fledgling parties to be included in the debate.

“Although the Yukon Green Party and Yukon First Nations Party are new to territorial politics, it is important that their voices be heard and that their input is included,” said Premier Darrell Pasloski.

Liberal strategist Jason Cunning questions Pasloski’s motives.

“The Yukon Party obviously want more voices heard at the debate because Pasloski performed so poorly at the environmental debate last week,” he said.

Pasloski initially refused to participate in the environmental debate, noted Cunning.

“It’s funny to see him suddenly be interested in democratic process halfway through the campaign. For the first half, he tried his darndest to stay out of public forums. So it’s pretty laughable to see him suddenly taking an interest.”

The CBC election forum will be held on Wednesday, October 5, at the Gold Rush Inn from 7 to 9 p.m.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.