I’m voting Green, in protest of Elizabeth May’s exclusion (April 2011)

215981_10150147540081968_4791576_nI’ve never voted Green in my life.  But I’ve decided to vote Green on May 2nd, and for one reason alone: as a protest vote, expressing my frustration with an older generation that doesn’t seem to care about democracy.

There is no excuse for Elizabeth May’s exclusion from the Leaders’ Debates, and the media executives who made that choice should be stripped of their position as official facilitators of our nation’s national election debates. It’s been good to see the other federal leaders express their support for May’s inclusion, but I think they could have spoken louder – or even threatened to not participate.

It would be nice to see more leadership from our leaders. Democracy is all about sharing ideas and exposing voters to different opinions and options so they can make their own informed decision.  This requires fair access to media exposure, not political censoring as decided by a few media execs sitting in a boardroom. There are many issues that are important to me in this election.  The economy, job creation, environmental sustainability, our justice system, wasteful defense spending, etc.  But nothing is more important than the democratic process itself. So, for that alone, I’ll be voting Green.  Without democracy, we have nothing.

26 responses to “I’m voting Green, in protest of Elizabeth May’s exclusion (April 2011)

  1. Well put.

    As long as you’re voting Green anyway, you might want to have a look at the GPC platform released yesterday. You may have already done so.

    http://greenparty.ca/platform2011

    I’ll bet there are quite a few things in there that will reinforce and defend your decision.

  2. When did the focus of democracy shift from the rights of people to the rights of parties? For someone who advocates discussion and consensus-building, you are endorsing a party founded on the principle that if you don’t agree with every last position of a given party, you start your own.

    And fair enough I guess: this is the founding principle of the Reform/CA party and the Bloc Quebecois. Such parties are certainly more emotionally satisfying in a world where I demand the right to pick the toothpaste, iPhone case and political party who represents exactly how I feel.

    But it seems to me that if you think our political system needs more dynamism and new ideas, you must first, absolutely before anything else, succeed in establishing a proportional representation system, so that a truly democratic consensus can be formed at the coalition level and not the party level.

    Failing that, you must suck it up and make do with the established parties. And what’s wrong with that? I mean, who was more likely to implement an environmentalist agenda … Elizabeth May or Stéphane Dion?

    Mez, why don’t you use your famous rallying skills to take over a riding association and elect a candidate who will represent your views in a party that might actually get a chance to govern? That’s how the hard-right conservatives do it.

    Otherwise, you are basically voting for the party with the largest minority support. And today that is the Conservative Party of Canada.

  3. Interesting statement. 4 of 6 Media outlets are privately owned businesses.
    But according to Greens it is undemocratic for businesses to chose what they think is right for their businesses, because they choose nit to include a party that has absolutely no seats in the House of Commons. And this same party thinks it is their right to go to court and have the courts overturn the decision of these same businesses. Isn’t that “undemocratic”? Since when does anybody or party have the right to tell a private business owner what to do with his legally operating business. Isn’t that too Undemocratic? The problem with the Green Party of Canada having lost not once but twice ingoing to the courts trying to prove our system is “undemocratic” is that they themselves are lacking. They are no better than the spoiled 3 or 4 year old screaming for whatever they want and not getting it. This Party should learn how to play the game to win or pack it up totally. Its ridiculous to continually here this Party crying and whining how the system is unfair when they can’t even elect 1 M.P. They have to ask themselves what are they doing wrong? What is wrong with our platform? What do we have to change? Then maybe people will vote for them or “NOT”!

    • @Bob

      Go read the Elections Act of Canada, you will find that private businesses must make allowances under the law to accommodate the democratic process. You are intentionally failing to recognize that the democratic process includes those parties that are not in power. To do otherwise is to create a system where only those with power have a voice – in the real world these are called dictatorships.

      The reasoned mind glances at the Canadian political landscape and sees 5 political parties. Yes this includes the Green Party of Canada as the only party not to be included that got not just 1.2% (the combined vote for the 14 other registered political parties combined), not just 2,3,4,5, or even 6 % but a total of 6.8% representing close to 1 million Canadians in 2008, and one of only 4 parties to field candidates in “all”* ridings across Canada.

      * As happens in all Parties one or more Candidates resign.

      Your argument seems to be centered around spoilt children screaming about spilt milk. If you do not agree with Green policies you are free to vote for another party and discuss your reasons why, but telling one million Canadians that their choice is invalid is dangerous nonsense. Food for thought.

      Ryan Windsor
      Brentwood Bay, BC

  4. “Since when does anybody or party have the right to tell a private business owner what to do with his legally operating business. ”

    A: When those companies are using publicly-owned airwaves.

  5. Another answer:
    “Since when does anybody or party have the right to tell a private business owner what to do with his legally operating business. ”

    when they are acting solely in their own interests and are systematically shutting out a party that garnered 1-million votes in the last election.

  6. this is a national election that the people of Canada have an opportunity to vote on. the green party is a part of this decision, correct? let all else aside and think of it in the simplest of terms. giving quite possibly the easiest answer. let them in! no you say? hidden agenda. period. people, stop being so biased and opinionated please! your fancy words and your convoluted thinking is wrecking the democratic way of life. whether you agree with how a party has come to be is not up for agrument (green, conservative or etc.) or goings on about private vs public ways of certain business .. that is irrelevent when regarding a national debate! don’t be thick.

  7. Cool. Enjoy that Harper majority.

  8. Hey Marky,

    Can you explain how my Green vote contributes to a Harper Majority?

    Are you projecting a Conservative win in Trinity-Spadina?

  9. Dave, YOUR vote in T-S won’t contribute to a Harper majority or a Conservative win in Trinity-Spadina, but the Green votes of others could indeed have that effect.

    However, I sympathize with you, given the fact that the establishment parties in T-S have offered up only a choice between two family compacts, including one in which the candidate’s husband, who is also the former MP, is currently facing securities fraud charges. You might have hoped the local Liberals would have considered such an association to be a problem during a brutal recession caused by securities shenanigans, but then again, they had no problem when Tony Ianno ignored the intent of the Liberals’ own campaign finance law to create a trust fund to funnel secret campaign donations in 2003, just as the sponsorship scandal was getting underway. I used to think Ianno’s worst problem was that he was lazy!

    I want to vote Liberal, but until the T-S riding association can get its head out of its ass, Olivia’s got my vote.

    Seriously: why aren’t you looking more at riding associations? I mean, maybe 1,000 people select party candidates! It’s the easiest way to get progressives into power!

  10. Dave Meslin,

    People like you ruin democracy.

    Before I go……..We all know Olivia Chow is going to win Trinity-Spadina, if you dare not vote for her, she will get you deported.

    Now………I retired from Journalism but I am going to say this as I would still be in Journalism…

    Whomever mentioned above that Green Part got a million votes? That is 2.90% of Canada’s 34+ million population.

    I sat in the board of directors my previous employer. Who are YOU to tell me WHO I can let in on my paper? We had a youtube channel.

    Elizabeth May is DEMANDING to be heard. Private companies have to do jack shit.

    She can do the same thing the NDP/CON/LIB are doing:

    Beg voters for money, use part of that money to buy advertisement.

    Less than 3% voted (I will take the comment from another commenter that said one million to be accurate for now but since I haven’t seen valid proof…).

    Again, if I owned a newspaper…I don’t have to post shit. This whole notion that the media has to be neutral is complete bullshit.

    My last position was advertisement manager (or something like that). I personally think the greens are cry babies but as an adver manager/whatever fancy title editor for advertisement I had I would let Elizabeth May give me/my paper money to advertise, she can request the rates and advertise depending on her budget.

    Elizabeth May should not EVER get any special treatment. She has ZERO Green MPs, She herself is not an MP.

    I met her during an event for Vaughan (which fantino won)’s by-election. Yea for her. I got chocolate from her, it was delicious.

    I don’t care that she is a woman, I don’t care that she is short, I don’t care that she is enviromentally friendly, I don’t care……….

    You and I had this discussion before, PITY is not something that should be involved in democracy.

    Under democracy I don’t have to listen to anyone.
    Under democracy a private media does not have to listen to anyone. Hell they don’t even have to take her money.

    Forcing private media to show ALL party leaders (and there are more than 4 of them) is undemocratic.

    Less than 3% listened/cared what she wanted. She should get the picture, she lost once, she will loose again in BC.

    Remember Toronto’s election last year? There were what, 30-35 candidates for Mayor?

    IMAGINE HAVING A 35 CANDIDATES MAYORAL event, it would go until 4 in the morning.

    When I lived in a previous RIDING than the one I live in, the GREEN candidate had every opportunity to come to my door. call me, drop me off some literature. He even lived 3 minutes from my house.

    Just because you are a candidate doesn’t mean people HAVE TO listen to you. That is what democracy is. Forcing people to listen to you is not.

    By the way, since you are thin skinned and get easily “insulted” (re: NOW), do note I am being blunt here and I don’t sugar coat things.

    Elizabeth May’s message is not what 97.1% of Canadians wanted last time.

    • “Private companies have to do jack shit.”

      Read the Canada Elections Act and you will find that this is an incorrect statement. There may not be any specific references to debates but the EA does place other conditions on private corporations.

      You will also find that private corporations operate at the liberty of the state.

      If people choose not to vote you cannot factor them as you did. The fact remains that ~6.8% of people who choose to actively participate selected the Green Party as there best choice for government. The flaw therefore is in the system not in how much of the population that those ~1,000,000 voters represent (perhaps you are advocating that the 11,000,000 million people who are ineligible to vote should do so to make your numbers accurate)

  11. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    That the Greens garnered a million votes, but no seats in the house in the last election was a travesty. I suggest that you also check out Fair Vote Canada, and read up on Proportional Representation.

    Wayne

  12. Wayne: Agreed! I’m a long-time active member of FairVote (although I’m extremely disappointed to see them opposing runoff voting at the municipal level. This decision destroys their credibility and harms the entire movement for fair voting).

    Miroslav: I don’t understand your point, and I wonder if perhaps you are confused. No one has suggested that all 14 parties should be included in the Leadership Debates (at least, I haven’t). For the municipal debate, I also never suggested that all candidates should be included, although I was proud to have organised the most inclusive debate of the election.

    Of course their has to be some sort of criteria, and I have blogged about this in the past: https://meslin.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/frontrunners/

    In the case of the federal election, it should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with whether a party already has a seat or not. This isn’t a debate about the LAST parliament, it’s a debate about the NEXT parliament!! We need to create some criteria that try to measure:

    1) The legitimacy of the party (ie: candidates in all ridings)
    2) Gauging public support. (ie: above a certain level. 2%, 4%, 5, %, etc).

    Using these kinds of criteria, the Greens would – and should – be included.

    I can’t believe that you suggest the mainstream media has no obligation to be fair in their coverage, and in providing information to voters. Shame on you, for having such low expectations of our national media.

  13. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Dave,

    Runoff voting destroys the entire idea of proportional representation. At this point you will argue that there are no parties in municipal politics, and I’ll offer to sell you an oceanfront condo in Regina.

    Wayne

  14. You think there are municipal parties in Toronto? Official parties, that we could put on an MMP ballot?

    Please explain.

    (oh, and please send me the details about the condo. thanks.)

  15. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Dave,

    I didn’t say there are ‘official’ parties. I just said that there are parties. Look at the sign colors.

    Wayne

  16. Wayne’s right, you know. Here we see that Rob Ford is both a Conservative AND a Liberal, so it’s no wonder he won the mayor’s seat so handily: http://www.canadafreepress.com/images/uploads/robford_sign_thumb.jpg

  17. George Smitherman lost because he’s a member of the practically-unknown Purple Party. http://www.torontoelectionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/george-smitherman-walking.jpg

  18. Just saw your TED Talk, congrats.

    RE: voting GPC. I understand where you’re coming from, and I wholeheartedly agree that May should debate with the other national parties (or, at the very least, we should implement a consistent metric by which parties do or don’t qualify for the debates). You’re making a point, taking a stand, and sending a message.

    But what you’re also doing is cheapening your vote. Shouldn’t you vote for the party that best appeals to you? Maybe you’re trying to say that your vote doesn’t really matter – in which case, your point of voting Green as support for their exclusion in the debates is moot – which is a valid concern with our electoral system. What you’re doing, though, is tying your vote to a single issue that is rather minor compared to our country’s other problems. You’re saying it’s okay to vote in a shallow, vindictive way.

    I’m not trying to tell you which party to vote for, how to vote, or why you should vote at all. I’m just saying that voting on a single issue is shortsighted, and encourages the kind of petty political proselytizing we see plaguing our neighbours to the south (alliteration coincidental). We shouldn’t vote only for the cause du jour because it affirms sensationalism. I’d rather have our parties work hard for my vote with careful thought and execution. Frankly, I’d love to vote Green someday. But I don’t think they’ve earned it yet, and voting on that one issue would make the trip home feel like a walk of shame.

  19. To all the citizen Kane’s who think media has a ‘democratic’ right to do what they want and exclude who they wish. You remind me how I am thankful that due to the power of mass collaboration; and an open source of information and idea exchange: The short comings of media giants, whom have amassed great wealth by controlling what people read and see, are leading to their own self-righteous downfall. You know why? You can not maintain ANY journalistic integrity when you take on an attitude of “It’s My Company and I AM THE NEWS” guess what dinosaur? your not the the News, the only reason you have amassed the influence and power that has made you rich is because the people that read and listen to you have empowered you with that influence. But people are smart, and they are seeing that your business does not have our best interests among your bottom line.

    Media institutions are circling the drain, and they pulled the plug themselves, by taking such arrogant positions as to believe they can act as our filters for the truth.

    Well I say the Trust is ours to discover, not yours to keep covered!

  20. What a moment in wonderland if, against all odds, May won! Could she do any worse than the incumbent? Haiti has gone out on a limb for an unknown – but an unknown with passion. USA went for passion last election too – though the passion seems to have become mired in established ways of doing.

    Here’s for passion, directness and saying what we think and working for change. Go May!

  21. I find it so frustrating when people simply dismiss the idea of the Green party or even the NDPs winning the federal election. This is not a two party riding, but the incredible conceit of the Liberals would have you think so. We’re truly in need a of fresh leadership, which shouldn’t include the red or the blue, because as a nation we seen where these paths take us.

  22. Ted –

    Just finished watching your video on voter apathy and have read the current thread.

    To me Canadians appear desparate for a bold vision of where this country is heading over the next twenty years or so. I don’t see it in this election from any party. We have the smarts…the political energy…the curiosity of our youth…but there is no one currently on the national political scene that has the ability to ignite the passion and convince those who choose not to vote that together they can shape the future.

    I am not a Green…although I respect many of their policy proposals. It saddened me a great deal during the debates (French and English) to hear virtually no talk whatsoever about the environment…and virtually no talk whatsoever about the older generation’s incredible capacity to borrow billions upon billions of dollars to fund current (perceived) needs which is outright theft from young people down the road and their future ability to build the kind of Canada that they want. It is truly a selfish legacy to leave our young people.

    As for May’s exclusion from the debates…what need does she have for a formal television debate of this kind? Clearly the ground is shifting under our feet. Television is rapidly becoming antiquated technology appealing only to the boomer generation. I watched both debates and in my opinion they didn’t change a thing. Standard stuff all around. Changed no one’s mind.

    The real “juice” and debate lies online. We have seen this expressed throughout the middle east over the past several months. Those young people had no control over their television media, yet the uprisings congealed and moved forward. The challenge is to find a way to focus the online activities of Canadians. Television and standard newspaer media are fast becoming irrelevant.

    The above being said…the “gate keeping” of the media consortium hosting the debates is outrageous and clearly undemocratic unless they have a posted and “rational” set of criteria as to who will be included. Should the criteria be having a seat in the House of Commons….if this were so then why not included the two independent members currently sitting in the House. Should the criteria be running candiates in all 308 ridings…if this were so then the Bloc would not be included. Whatever the broadcast media decide going forward…they need to post these criteria ahead of time after they have first sought input from voters and politicians. The “backroom boys” within the Canadian national broadcast media must realize that their right to broadcast on Canadian airways is a privilege…and not a right…That is why we have licensing by the CRTC. The national broadcast media have an obligation to Canadians to come up with some sort of rational criteria for such things.

  23. Glad to hear that you are voting green. Like you, I decided to vote green out of protest 3 elections ago however when you take the time to read their platform you quickly realize their ideas and party are solid. The truth of the matter is the more parties we have in parliament, the closer we get to becoming a true democratic nation. Whether you lean right or left, vote for the smaller parties that truly represent what you believe in otherwise we will eventually be left with two choices, which is really no choice at all.

  24. Dave I just saw your Ted video and I found it encouraging. Just one quibble: you said advocacy is not permitted for charities. But CRA does permit advocacy of issues and election time is the best time to raise them. See CRA web site CPS-022 “permitted political activity”

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