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Let Frank in!

It's become apparent that the Ontario election's televised debate is going to be lacking one important participant: the soft-spoken leader of the Green Party, Frank De Jong has not been invited.

The Green Party has started a campaign to force the television stations that plan to air it to allow Frank to participate. All the power to them, but I think there is a far more important target: the leaders of the other three parties competing for seats in this election.

If Dalton McGuinty, John Tory, and Howard Hampton can be convinced to let Frank De Jong into the debate, he will be in it. So I ask all of you to ask your party to tell the leader that the debate will be better for all with Frank present, as I am doing by this post.

Frank and the Greens should be given the opportunity to make or break themselves in the provincial election on their merits rather than on their presence. Share ideas; don't suppress them.

So let Frank into the debate!

Posted at 10:47 on September 17, 2007

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

The real truth about MMP | politics | The myth of the wasted vote


Julien Lamarche writes at Mon Sep 17 14:42:23 2007...

Phone the networks to include the leader:

http://jlam.flora.ca/visionFiles/?p=114


Shoes writes at Mon Sep 24 21:20:28 2007...

I have been following your well researched and articulated analysis of MMP. I tend to be swayed by your arguements.

However I can't grasp ( and perhaps you have to articulate it slower/ better) why the Greens should be in the debate(s) while you make no mention of the FCP or the communists or the whatever parties that a) have no chance of forming a government and b) have possibly equally valid missions / visions for the province.

If one looks critically at the Green platform you see more Tory blue than some of the other "fringe" (hate that term) parties, so I presume its not your political inclinations that elicit your support for the Greens.

Or are you just enamoured with the label?


cdlu writes at Mon Sep 24 23:31:34 2007...

Shoes,

Thanks for your comments and question.

I'm not entirely sure how to answer it. To address your last point first, I consider the Green party to be a centrist party with a different left/right balance from the Liberal model, rather than as a right wing (as some of their policies may suggest) or a left wing (as conventional wisdom has it) party. I am not particularly enamoured with the label, nor particularly with the party. The concept of an environmentalist party is appealing, but in practice I find them no different from any other party. The Green party, I am told, has the lowest ratio of female candidates of any party in this election, and they support electoral reform for what is clearly partisan rather than principled reasons. Our local federal Green candidate doesn't even live in the riding, driving in from the neighbouring town of Rockwood to partake in events. It's hard to take them completely seriously.

However, I do think the party should be given a chance to sink or swim in debate. Should all parties be allowed into the leadership debate? In theory, yes. In practice, the more parties represented on the stage, the less able any of them are to express themselves and the sooner viewers will get bored of the whole exercise. As a practical matter rather than as a philosophical one I see it sensible to only include parties which are likely -- and that is of course itself very subjective -- to have an impact on the election.

I do not necessarily expect the Green party to win a seat this election, but I do believe they are gaining enough support that they could split the vote in some ridings giving us unintended results[1]. As such, they meet what amounts to my personal requirement that their presence will have an impact on the election and they should be included in the debate. The Communist party, according to our local Communist candidate, has a field of just 8 candidates across the province and the candidate here in Guelph has in both debates in which I have seen him said that he is not in the race to win, only to get issues he believes are important on the table. If a party is unable to take itself seriously as an electoral force, I don't believe it is incumbent upon the public to take them seriously on their behalf. There are now four parties in Ontario who both take themselves seriously and are taken seriously by the population as a force in the election, and I would support all four being present in the (now-passed) leadership debate.

I hope that helps explain my position.

[1] - I should note here that many proponents of MMP, an issue we can never escape as it overshadows meaningful debate in this election on issues such as public transit on which I would much rather be concentrating, will misrepresent the vote splitting conundrum as a reason to vote for MMP. It is therefore important to point out, once again, that MMP will not have any effect on split votes within ridings. In a riding like mine, the Green candidate has been running an effective campaign and risks giving us a Conservative MPP by splitting the small-L liberal vote away from the incumbent Liberal MPP. Were this election to be held under MMP, the exact same scenario would be unfolding in this riding as the local candidates would still be vying to represent this riding, and they would still be selected under FPTP, as MMP keeps FPTP and its single most significant (and entirely solvable with a preferential ballot) flaw: the strategic riding vote.

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