Greens crying democratic foul

  • Apr. 1, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Green Party is demanding a voice.

The national broadcasters will not allow Green leader Elizabeth May to participate in the televised leaders’ debates as part of the May 2 federal election.

“It’s abominable that a few corporations have such control over democratic expression,” said Greig Crockett, Okanagan-Shuswap Green candidate.

“This is a totally undemocratic decision by the corporate elite.”

The broadcasters made the same decision during the 2008 election, but that was overturned after significant outcry from across the country.

Crockett suggests a similar controversy could erupt this time.

“I am sure Canadians will defend the democratic process and their right to hear from Elizabeth,” he said.

The broadcasters have stated May is not eligible to participate because her party does not have a seat in Parliament. Crockett believes that is irrelevant.

“The Green Party is recognized by Elections Canada as a legitimate political party,” he said.

He also points out that Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe takes part in the televised debates but that party only has seats in just one province.

“The Greens are represented across the country and the Greens are the only party that increased its vote count during the last election,” said Crockett.

The Green Party may pursue legal action in an attempt to get May added to the leaders’ debates.

Support for May comes from Nikki Inouye, the NDP’s Okanagan-Shuswap candidate.

“My personal opinion is they should include her,” said Inouye. “The people must see democracy in action. By excluding Ms. May a valued voice is being denied the chance to be heard by the people.”

However, Liberal candidate Janna Francis does not believe May should be part of the leaders’ debate.

“The issues the Green Party bring to the forefront are important but she did not win a seat in the last election,” said Francis.

“They can trust the Liberals and the Liberals will deal with them (issues). She doesn’t physically have to be there.”

Conservative candidate Colin Mayes is not wading into the debate.

“I’m leaving that to the folks who run the national campaign and those participating like the prime minister,” he said.