Wednesday, April 6, 2011 Capital News
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W OUR VIEW
Let May be part of the debate
he broadcast consortium has decided to bar Green party leader Elizabeth May from the 2011 federal leaders’ debates. She learned of this from a Canadian Press reporter, not the consortium, which represents Canada’s largest television networks. Only after public outrage was she included in the 2008 debates, during which she displayed her assertive persona. Initially, the Conservatives
and the NDP refused to participate if she was invited. Now the consortium argues that the Green party has never earned an elected seat in the House of Commons and, therefore, isn’t worthy of airtime, in English or French. We couldn’t disagree more. The Bloc party only runs candidates in Quebec, yet it is allowed to take part in the debates? The Green party is running candidates in all 308 Canadian ridings. Peter Tam is the
party’s nominee in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission, where, in 2008 election, the Greens earned more votes than the Liberals. In all, the Green party garnered close to a million votes, representing one in 10 Canadians, or 6.8 per cent of all votes cast, for which it receives taxpayer money. What party leader would be willing to tell all those voters that their opinions, and dollars, don’t matter? Those opinions largely con-
cern the state of the environment, an issue that will no doubt be part of the leaders’ debates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton are both willing, this time, to accept if May is included in the debates, which for the most part, are all bickering. Regardless, the broadcast consortium needs to rethink its arbitrary decision and apologize to May, and voters, and let her speak. There should be no debating that.
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Would you pay $48 to listen to the federal election candidates speak at an allcandidates forum? See City Confidential column below
To register your opinion on the Sound Off question, go to www.kelownacapnews.com or call 250-979-7303. Results will be tabulated until 2 p.m. Thursday.
Member of the British Columbia Press Council
Insult to injury; now we have to pay to hear politicians I
t’s been said there’s (NDP) CITY Kalmanovitch a price to be paid and Alice Hooper CONFIDENTIAL (Green) in the same for democracy. In Kelowna, votroom. ers now know how It appears the days much—$48. ($10.50 of a free all-candidates less if you are a memmeeting for the genber of the local chamAlistair eral public are gone. ber of commerce). Waters Now, as its notice anUnless another ornouncing the lunchganization steps fortime meeting on April ward to host a free all-candidates fo21 at the Delta Grand Hotel says, rum here, that’s how much it will cost B.C.’s biggest chamber outside the you to hear Kelowna-Lake CounLower Mainland wants to familiarize try candidates Ron Cannan (Conserits members with the candidates and vative), Kris Stewart (Liberal), Tisha help voters make up their minds.
On one level you can’t blame the chamber. It is an organization supported by, and there to serve, its duespaying members. And that’s what it is doing. If you want to play, you have to pay. But it’s sad to see the demise of what, in the past, had been a tradition of public service aimed at the entire community. There was a time when the chamber hosted such forums and the Kelowna Community Theatre was provided for the event. This time round, it will be in a local hotel, over lunch and with a cov-
er charge. Maybe, the fact that this is the fourth federal election in seven years has something to do with it. Throw in a few provincial elections during that time and a few municipal elections and its understandable why any organization would not want to keep dipping into its own pocket to provide a platform for politicians to repeatedly ask for votes. So, while Canada is fast becoming the Italy of North America, (with its penchant for the polling booth but without its randy prime minister) voters are switching off. Voter turnout is
dropping with every return trip to the ballot box and our skepticism about our political leaders is higher than ever. For $48 you can take someone to the movies and get a half decent meal. Or you can have the meal and wash it down with what promises to be vintage political rhetoric. In these cash-strapped, post-recession days, you have to decide which one will be more entertaining—and palatable. Alistair Waters is the Capital News’ assistant editor. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Apr 5, 2011