By the Way… Last Night’s Election Debate

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By the way, did you watch the debate last night? For those who aren’t in Canada, we’re having a federal election and last night (English) / tonight (French) the party leaders debated.

But was it a reflection of a democracy? I think not.

Here was the makeup of the participants

First, it was an all-male affair, with host Steve Paikin, Stephen Harper (current Prime Minister, Conservatives), Michael Ignatieff (Liberal), Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Québecois), and Jack Layton (New Democratic Party). Missing from the debate was Elizabeth May (Green Party).

Problem is, Duceppe represents only Québec, as he made clear during his closing remarks last nighty. This in spite of the fact that for some reason, the BQ** has been granted national status without having to run candidates across every region.

**the Bloc currently holds 49 seats in our federal parliament

Elizabeth May, on the other hand, even though the Greens do run candidates across Canada as a national federal party, is denied a seat at the debates. The reason (a shut out if I ever heard one) is that the party does not have enough seats in parliament. Last election, that was not an issue.

No, this was not a fair representation of Canada’s population. The BQ (with it’s separatist, sovereign country issues) isn’t interested in representing Canadians across the country, women are overlooked entirely, not to mention non-caucasian Canadians; in other words, the majority of Canadians. But then again, should we be surprised?

I don’t have the answers, but it seems to me we need desperately to re-visit the way we practice democracy. As far as the participants in last night’s debate, I would mark them somewhere in the C grade.

You?

If you would like to watch last night’s (April 13th) debate in full, visit here:

http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?903009719001

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