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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Green Party Election Debate | Canada News Report

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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Green Party election debate | canada news report


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May isnt a NHL hockey player, a gray-haired male politician or a television news executive so that ended discussion about her participation in the federal election debates.

On the eve of the national forum, where presumably the direction of the country is at the heart of things, media coverage focused primarily on change of timing for the French-language debate given its inauspicious conflict with the Boston-Habs playoff game. It seems the debate, and not just the French-language version, was about money and selling beer.

This is about democracy, said May about her continuing fight, even at the 11th hour, to get a podium at the debate. With one million votes cast for the Greens in the 2008 election and no clear rules from the broadcast consortium as to what makes a participant eligible, she is right to characterize her cause as a call for the affirmation of democratic process.

May is a politician trying to carve out a path for other voices to be heard. It doesnt matter whether you agree with her general political platform, shutting her out of the debates was wrong. The party fields candidates across the country and garnered 7 percent of the vote in the last election.

Its time hockey, beer, money and men making decisions in backrooms about who gets to speak at the national forums stops. Though its not in Mays strategic interest to invoke the old-boys shutout of women, this blog space is not so hamstrung. So here goes.

While Canadians as a whole should be offended at the turn of events, women in particular should register their outrage at the fraternity-style exclusion of May. Its a symptom of a much larger problem in Canadian politics.

We all know that if the system facilitated more female participation, at the party and elected representative level, we would be looking at a televised debate where universal childcare, for example, would be one of the major planks for discussion. Its there among the party platforms, but more of a splinter than a plank in the scheme of things.

The last federal Parliament saw women represented at 22 percent. The international community has benchmarked a minimum of 30 percent as an indicator that a critical mass of women parliamentarians represent the population.

Weve all heard the reasons for the lag in gaining Commons seats. These range from balancing work and family responsibilities to dismay at the thrust and cut culture of Parliament and not having sufficient networks of connections to business, academic and strategic thinkers required by traditional politicians.

In its 2005 Portraits of Canada poll the Centre for Research in Canada, noted 53 percent of Canadians feel political parties should be required to nominate a specific percentage of women candidates. Further, 46 percent feel parties should be given financial incentives to increase the number of women candidates they put forward. That would be about money, but not about beer.

At this juncture in our history, it is so dismaying to see the Green Leader struggle, albeit valiantly, against an old boys club system. Brewskies or democracy? Take your choice, Canada.

Original article published on PubArticles.com

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