Sources say Elizabeth May won't be allowed into the debates this time around.
Personally, I feel May did little more than take up air time in 2008 so I don't have a problem with this decision. The flip side is that she's now going to take up a ton of air time between now and then due to the predictable outrage over her exclusion.
The debate we get about the Greens' participation in the debates every election shows why we need a firm set of guidelines on how debates are run in Canada. Right now, the only criteria being used seems to be having a seat in the House, but that strikes me as a rather arbitrary rule. I mean, was Blair Wilson really the Greens' ticket to the debates in 2008? This was a candidate elected as a Liberal, booted from the party in the midst of an Elections Canada investigation, who joined the Greens a few weeks before the election. If Helena Guergis joined the Pirate Party today would the Pirates qualify for the debates?
What I'd like to see would be a more far reaching set of criteria. How about a point system along the lines of:
5 * MPs elected last election + 5 * Current MPS + number of candidates in upcoming election + number of votes in previous campaign / 10,000
Anyone with over 500 points gets a spot in the debate. We can certainly play with the math or we can set benchmarks parties need to reach, but the point is we need to remove the power from backroom negotiations between the broadcasters and parties. Having firm guidelines would spare us from repeating the debate debate every election.
And while we're at it, how about trying out some of the other changes to the way we run debates I suggested back in 2009?
Labels: Leaders Debate