MSM trying to shut out the NDP and Bloc from the leader's debate?

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remind remind's picture
MSM trying to shut out the NDP and Bloc from the leader's debate?

Quote:
Set the following criteria. Leaders whose parties get at least 15 per cent of the popular vote and/or whose parties have 50 seats (roughly 15 per cent) in the House of Commons can participate in the nationally televised debate in English in the main network.

Then, let there be one-hour interviews, or something of this sort, with the leaders of the other parties on prime-time programs on the specialty channels.

The same criteria could be used in French. Leaders whose parties commanded 15 per cent of the vote (in Quebec) can participate in debates on the main channels; interviews would be reserved for the others.

Of course, some people who support marginal parties will scream, claiming equality, equality, equality. But what's fair about allowing a party with no seats, or 10 per cent of the popular vote, to receive the same exposure to viewers/voters as parties with more than 100 seats, or 150 seats, and almost 40 per cent of the vote?

The networks control the format. The ones they have tried in recent elections haven't worked. It's time to try something trimmed down that lets the major parties with demonstrated significant support get a fairer shot at being heard.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/set-the-table-right-for-a-m...

Hello Simpson, they already have a fairer shot at being heard, given the media already never reports on any other parties and their actions.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

His column is aimed at the Green Party. Note the "and/or" in the sentence, "Leaders whose parties get at least 15 per cent of the popular vote and/or whose parties have 50 seats."

It would threaten the Bloc and cause them to redouble their efforts, but that would like hurt the Liberals more. What this suggests is the Cons see the Greens as a threat to their vote, every one of which will count.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Has anyone ever let Jeffrey Simpson know that it he is supposed to put milk on his morning cereal as opposed to his customary fluid?

remind remind's picture

No I do not think it is mainly targetting the Green Party, when one reads the full article, it seems to be targeting all parties but the Cons and Libs.

Tommy_Paine

 

So that's what Navigator thinks.

Debater

I don't think the NDP and the BQ would be excluded from the debates because they have been part of them historically and I don't see how you could exclude them now (although an argument could be made that the BQ is different from the other parties because of its purpose).

What I'm wondering about is what is going to happen with the Green party in the next election.  Last year, Elizabeth May used the pretext that there was a Green MP (eg. Blair Wilson) as a reason why they should be in the debates.  Of course, Blair Wilson was not elected as a Green MP, but that's another matter.  Then because of Harper and Layton's unwise handling of the PR concerning May's desire to be in the debates, May was able to get enough public sympathy to convince the networks and the party leaders to change their minds.

Has a precedent now been established that the Green party will be in the future debates, or will Elizabeth May need another MP to turn into a Green MP overnight in order to get in?

Coyote

Barring a blowout of massive proportions, neither the NDP nor the Bloc will be excluded from any debates. No one would stand for it; can you imagine the reaction in Quebec to excluding the Bloc? If Simpson's aim is a Bloc sweep of the province, he should keep this nonsense up. This is Simpson at his petulant worst.

janfromthebruce

Well, my understanding is that Layton deferred to Harper and it became his decision - but it is the MSM who decide who gets to be in the debates. 

Yes, that Green MP who prior was a liberal who disgraced himself so he was out as a lib and turned Green - in fact, he never even sat in the House as a Green.

Anyway, Debater smearing Jack here is wrong. I noted that Simpson, last year, thought May should be in the debates but now he says he made a mistake. I wonder if that's because there is no Red-Green deal now, where May in the last election, acted as the Liberals "cat's paw" taking swipes at the NDP. Nice tag team - sure like in a debate to have two rooting for one.

I guess this year, MSM don't want Greens in and personally, I don't think it has anything to do with the Cons. Simpson will do anything to ensure his liberals get in - perhaps the MSM and their corporate backers are tense - an election - where an alternative meme of the NDP comes through - one that is not singing corporations and maintaining the status quo - which is what Iggy and Harper represent.

Debater

I did not "smear" Jack - I pointed out what was true, both Harper and Layton objected to her being in the debates and did not handle it well so it was perceived as being sexist.

As you probably know, Layton received some criticism from women and the NDP membership over that.  I'm not saying he meant to be sexist, but he took some heat for it.

Coyote

He did, and i think it's been pretty universally acknowledged that Layton did not handle that issue very well at the beginning of the last election.

Tommy_Paine

 

I remember going quite berserk myself.

Fidel

I remember thinking what an unschooled leader we have. Jack will never make a proper stooge for corporate and US interests.

MUN Prof. MUN Prof.'s picture

Debater wrote:

As you probably know, Layton received some criticism from women and the NDP membership over that.  I'm not saying he meant to be sexist, but he took some heat for it.

I don't recall the "sexist" part of that incident. Clearly, Warren Kinsella and the cabal of Toronto frat boys running the Liberal party have updated their speaking notes since last year.

remind remind's picture

Good catch MUN Prof!

Debater

The issue of gender and sexism involving Elizabeth May was discussed quite extensively a year ago in the media when this incident happened - I'm not sure how anyone could have missed it.

Erik Redburn

Simpson once again proves his deeply reactionary nature, underneath his pseudo-liberal husk. 

remind remind's picture

Ya debator but we all recognized that sexist nonsense for the bull shit it was.

MUN Prof. MUN Prof.'s picture

Debater wrote:
 

Layton received some criticism from women and the NDP membership over that.  I'm not saying he meant to be sexist, but he took some heat for it.

Debater wrote:

The issue of gender and sexism involving Elizabeth May was discussed quite extensively a year ago in the media when this incident happened - I'm not sure how anyone could have missed it.

Yes, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

Stockholm

Its funny how in the 2004 and 2006 elections when the so-called Greens were led by Jim Harris, they were rightly excluded from the debates and no one seemed to think that there was any sexism involved. But then when Elizabeth May became leader all of a sudden she pathetically tried to play that card to get herself into the debate. Leave it to her to triviliaze sexism with her cheap shots.

Ghislaine

I would prefer that the debates only included those people running for PM. Jack Layton should stay and the Green leader (who commands a minimum percentage of Canadian support) should be included as well. The Bloc leader should not be in the debates imv. He (or she in the future) has no desire to form government or lead Canada - why participate in the debates? The insanity of it all was apparent in the last election when Mr. Duceppe was asked a question on an issue specific to Western Canada and basically had nothing to say as an answer except "the west wants in and Quebec wants out".

martin dufresne

By that standard, Bloc supporters shouldn't pay taxes. Come on, Ghislaine...

 

janfromthebruce

And in the last election, May the Green leader supported Dion for PM. In fact, she supported also some other Liberal candidates for MPs, and told folks to vote for other parties. Thus, it appears she is not too serious.

Coyote

Like I said above: the best thing anyone could do for the Bloc would be to move to have them excluded from the debate. Hell, it was the best thing that ever happened to May - but the Bloc would be able to do something about it (i.e. sweep Quebec).

Debater

Coyote wrote:

Like I said above: the best thing anyone could do for the Bloc would be to move to have them excluded from the debate. Hell, it was the best thing that ever happened to May - but the Bloc would be able to do something about it (i.e. sweep Quebec).

They are not likely to be excluded from the debate, so the issue is moot.

However, the Bloc would not "sweep" Quebec.  It has yet to sweep Quebec in a single election.  In 1980, Pierre Trudeau won 74 out of 75 seats in Quebec with 68% of the vote - that's sweeping Quebec!  The BQ hasn't even gotten to 50% of the vote in Quebec yet, or beyond 54 seats.  

The BQ is also not able to get its vote as fired up as it used to - despite the arts & culture issue last October, the BQ could only get 38% of Quebecers to vote for it.

martin dufresne

Sweep Quebec but fan the fires of anti-Quebec intolerance in the ROC, which wouldn't be conducive to coalition-building against the Cons.

Coyote

And what I'm saying is move to exclude them, and you will get Quebecers fired up. of course you're right, the point is moot, so thankfully we'll never know if i'm right or not.

but i am :)

Debater

Simpson's proposal is like that of John Ibbitson's earlier this year in which he suggested banning the BQ from Parliament - it is dead on arrival.

Maybe it would have been possible to do these things back before the 1993 election, before theses practices got established, but it is too late now.  The BQ has been in Parliament for 16 years as an official party, and was even the Official Opposition in 1993.

remind remind's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Its funny how in the 2004 and 2006 elections when the so-called Greens were led by Jim Harris, they were rightly excluded from the debates and no one seemed to think that there was any sexism involved. But then when Elizabeth May became leader all of a sudden she pathetically tried to play that card to get herself into the debate. Leave it to her to triviliaze sexism with her cheap shots.

And the NDP had 2 female leaders participating in the debates long before May's arrival on the scene.

madmax

Debater wrote:
Has a precedent now been established that the Green party will be in the future debates, or will Elizabeth May need another MP to turn into a Green MP overnight in order to get in
All she needs to do is find another discredited Liberal MP. Not to difficult. When on school trips children are asked to find a disgraced MP during their parlimentary scavenger hunt. I think each student finds a different one. Wink

madmax

remind wrote:
And the NDP had 2 female leaders participating in the debates long before May's arrival on the scene.
Don't let the facts get in the way of last years Green Spin and this years Liberal Spin.

However,  Elizabeth Mays 15 minutes are up.  The Media tuned out after the last election and they don't appear to be tuning back in. 

 

remind remind's picture

Maybe the sole Independant will think about it? ;)

Sean in Ottawa

It would be great if the NDP were excluded from the debates-- it would make the deabates fairly irrelevant-- it would return the NDP to be the voice fo protest and change- make a difference. May was let in the debates because everyone knew that the spectacle of her being outside would get her more support than being inside. In an election where people are more likely than ever to be somewhat fed up with the traditional choices nothign would help the NDP than being shut out of the debate. On top of that it would provide an obvious indication of the media bias-- the problem of being in the debates is that they go through this sham of pretending to treat all the parties equally.

the party of the people with the fat cats deciding how they can rob you blind-- yeah. The reason this would work is the NDP could build a whole series of adds around it. If the party were broke the exclusion would hurt because you need money to play the underdog card but with enough money to campaign, you can build a whole campaign around being the alternative the establishment doesn't want you to know about-- never mind being chased around by a chicken-- this would set the NDP as being different more clearly than anything else and attract people who know somethign is wrong and want to support somene different. The NDP struggles to show they are different.

Sean in Ottawa

The BQ leader has been very relevant on many issues in the debates-- I think it would be a loss to exclude him.

There was a previous format that they did not do again-- everyone does an open couple minutes and then there would be a series of one on one debates.

Open interupting does not work well with so many people but if you do a structured round on each -- on each topic let them all have 2 minutes to speak and then 2 minutes rebuttal and move on this can work as well-- then each one has the floor for the same length of time.

East613Est

Here's a better idea: ban Jeffrey Simpson from ever writing a column or being published again.

mybabble

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

It would be great if the NDP were excluded from the debates-- it would make the debates fairly irrelevant-- it would return the NDP to be the voice fo protest and change- make a difference. May was let in the debates because everyone knew that the spectacle of her being outside would get her more support than being inside. In an election where people are more likely than ever to be somewhat fed up with the traditional choices nothing would help the NDP than being shut out of the debate. On top of that it would provide an obvious indication of the media bias-- the problem of being in the debates is that they go through this sham of pretending to treat all the parties equally.

the party of the people with the fat cats deciding how they can rob you blind-- yeah. The reason this would work is the NDP could build a whole series of adds around it. If the party were broke the exclusion would hurt because you need money to play the underdog card but with enough money to campaign, you can build a whole campaign around being the alternative the establishment doesn't want you to know about-- never mind being chased around by a chicken-- this would set the NDP as being different more clearly than anything else and attract people who know something is wrong and want to support someone different. The NDP struggles to show they are different.

Unfortunately that kinda difference will prevent the public from hearing the Bloc and NDP's take on Harper's politics and how the parties feel the interests of voters can be better served.  If the NDP wants to be different the leader can start by stop trying to make deals that will never happen while his voice goes unheard.  Its like keeping voters out of the election as their representatives concerns for its constituents are left unsaid.  If Layton wants to be different lets start with the NDP stop being so laid back when it comes to whats truly important to Canadians and speak out and oppose the right much like his predecessors did.

 

Sean in Ottawa

 I think if you try to take something away from someone -- they will want it more. So if the public sees the NDP shut out they will pay more rather than less attention wher ethe NDP is able to get a message out through a paid or unpaid opportunity.

Agreed the NDP has to earn the right to call itself different-- at moments it is and at other times it is not.

Farmpunk

I thought that during elections no one was in power, with seats and therefore clout.  Simpson obviously just assumes the Libs and Cons will be the only parties that matter.  Never mind the stretch of minority govs we've had, when, presumably the opposition parties have more of a role than in a majority.

Or why not let Harper and Iggy go at it on the specialty channels? 

remind remind's picture

Now Tom Axworthy is suggesting something along the same lines.

There must be an underground move by the ConLibs and their media friends to circumvent democracy and people seeing a broader range of choices, other than them.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/report-calls-for-overhaul-o...

There should be a strong and swift public reaction should any further moves of this sort occur.

So much for Axworthy's being the Chair for the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University.

What he is suggesting is hardly democratic.

And his declaring:

“It's a perfectly fair and reasonable proposition if you think about it.”

is such a smoke and mirrors comment that basically obscures the truth that what he is recommending is neither fair, nor reasonable.

And as for this comment of his:

"Mr. Axworthy said the political parties and the networks were “trying to do a dirty on the Canadian electorate” in secret. That has to change."

means it is okay to do a dirty on the public, when it is not in secret.

Michelle

Oooh, suddenly this isn't so fair anymore, huh? 

Will we be hearing complaints about how unfair this proposal is from all those who were arguing that it was okay to set the threshold higher than the Green Party could meet to get into the debates last year?

Personally, I think it's a ridiculous proposal.  But then, I thought it was ridiculous of the Conservatives and the NDP to try to block the Greens from being in the televised debates too during the last election.

Stockholm

I find the title of this thread a bit ridiculous. One columnist - Geoffrey Simpson - writes one column where there is one reference to maybe having a debate only between the leaders of the two biggest parties - now suddenly this is the entire "Mainstream Media" conspiring to shut the NDP and BQ out of any future debates. Geoffrey Simpson is not the entire mainstream media in Canada. He's one itinerant columnist. Big deal.

Uncle John

This is potentially the best news for the NDP (and the Bloc and the Greens for that matter) in a long time.

Canadians of whatever political proclivity have an innate sense of fairness. Offend that at your peril.

If the Coniberal Libservatives decide to deny free expression to parties which are the result of the constitutionally protected free association of Canadians, they will suffer greatly at the polls.

Stockholm

Its not good or bad news for anyone for the simple reason that it isn't going to happen.

remind remind's picture

IMPV, I think it is an apples and oranges compare, michelle.

May got into the debates by using the ploy they "now" had a Green MP, who was a disgraced Liberal, and was kicked out, so he moved to the Green Party, though he had no affiliation to them.

Moreover, that she did get in, supports the reality, that if she was included on the basis of 1 seat, then any independant MP, should also be in the debate. To do otherwise would not be fair.

That some are suggesting that only the Cons and Libs take part is much much different. The other parties actually are in the House, and working for the people of Canada and Quebec on a daily basis.

janfromthebruce

And I don't want to go down that long road again - period.

Michelle

remind wrote:
IMPV, I think it is an apples and oranges compare, michelle.

Of course it is. :D

Hey, thresholds are arbitrary.  If supporters of a small party can support a threshold that keeps out an even smaller party, then I guess supporters of larger parties can support thresholds that keep out smaller parties.  Right?

Besides, the point is moot.  I agree with Stockholm, that the thread title is a bit alarmist.  It'll never happen.

Sean in Ottawa

Yep-- and I even said this when we were debating May in debates last time--

That Layton NEEDED to come out in favour of her being in the debates no matter if he was happy with this development or not.

Don't be so sure this won't happen -- with a second debate just between the top two in the polls as has been suggested.

The current formula/format is a joke so no assumptions should be made especially considering the interests in this issue- if they can they will.

janfromthebruce

And what would happen if either the cons or libs tanked in the polls? Would it mean that one of these two parties, for instance, didn't make it the "main debate"?

Sean in Ottawa

In theory, yes although they are assuming this could never happen-- frankly the Liberals should be worried that it well could-- but this is the party of arrogance -- isn't it?

Snert Snert's picture

I think they should take it all the way, and restrict the debates to only one party (whichever currently holds the most seats in the House).

What's the diff?  I think most people just want a good photo in which they can clearly evaluate the candidate's hairstyle, and beyond that, make their political decisions based on who's the least evil as described by their opponents' attack ads.

"Look at that photo of that candidate with a respectable club tie, not too (up)tight, not too (morally) loose, with his sleeves rolled up like it's time to get 'er done!  And those are some very smart looking glasses, too.  I bet he means business!  He can probably relate to the egghead crowd as easily as to the lunchbox crowd.  And while his opponents say he wants to increase my taxes just when my working family needs financial security the most, that doesn't mean much coming from people who coddle criminals!"

Snert Snert's picture

Remember back in '93 or thereabouts, when the Tories won a humiliating TWO seats, and weren't allowed into the debates the next time around?

Snert Snert's picture

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