The Greens Win a Spot in the TV Debates

As you may have heard, everybody involved in the federal leadership debates did a flip-flop, and agreed to include Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the debate. The rationales seem, well, peculiar:

Layton, who faced protesters at an Ontario campaign event on Wednesday, conceded the issue had become a “distraction,” and said he did not want to continue “debating about the debate” until the election. “I have only one condition for this debate, and that is that the prime minister is there, because I want to debate the issues with him,” Layton said.

Kory Teneycke, Harper’s director of communications, confirmed Harper had also changed his mind, telling reporters that while the Conservatives still objected to May’s participation on principle, he would no longer oppose May’s inclusion. “We don’t think she should be there, but if the NDP have decided they’re changing their position, we will not stand alone,” he said. In an interview with CBC News, Tory campaign co-chairman David Emerson said the reversal was a case of the prime minister “reacting to changing circumstances.”

May says that “tens of thousands of Canadians came to her defence, with some staging protests or telephoning the TV networks in charge of the debates”. Really? What evidence was there of a protest of this scope? I joined a Facebook group (that was the vast extent of my public dissent), and it only has 209 members. Ah, hang on, clearly I joined the wrong group. This one has 6007 members, which is pretty good for being only a few days old.

Still, you’ve got to hand it to Mr. Layton and Prime Minister Harper–way to have the courage of your convictions.

On a related note, the UBC School of Journalism created, a Netvibes-powered aggregator of social media news and commentary about the election. They asked for my feedback, so my main complaint would be the lack of RSS feeds. Obviously Netvibes doesn’t want you to consume information that way, but it’s too bad that we can’t grab, say, a mega-feed for the entire site. Then you could filter it for mentions of your local candidate, a particular issue like ‘net neutrality’ or whatever.


  1. Do you mean a mega-feed for all the blogs? Or a mega-feed that includes all the blogs/flickr/tweets/etc.

    They could probably offer a mega-feed pretty easily too via Yahoo Pipes.

  2. I think FriendFeed would have been a better platform than NetVibes. It provides a re-feed of its aggregated content. only works if you accept third-party cookies for NetVibes, if you don’t, it won’t even let you see the page content.

  3. Still, you’ve got to hand it to Mr. Layton and Prime Minister Harper–way to have the courage of your convictions.

    Not really fair. Who gets to participate in nationally televised leadership debates isn’t a matter of principle so much as expedience.

    I’m virtually certain that the debates would have been better without the Green Party. On the other hand, it appears the debate story would have otherwise been “why were the Greens shut out?” had they not been admitted.

    The only reason I’m even slightly inclined to let them participate is their new-found MP. Not that I consider floor-crossing a per se invalid practice; it’s just that in this case they have an MP who has not voted on anything as a Green, and who is not particularly likely to re-take his seat.

    It’s not an exaggeration to describe him as a paper member.

  4. One of my recent posts about the use (or misuse) of Twitter by Canadian politicians was aggregated from NetPrimeMinister, but didn’t pick up all the keywords. Not sure if that’s a shortcoming of NetVibes or what.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: