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LEFT COAST NEWS - Election Special (part II) - May, 2004 PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Thursday, 03 June 2004 00:42
8. As if the Green Party doesn't really exist 9. Whose public airwaves? 10. Media obligations according to the Broadcasting Act 11. A corporate takeover? 8. AREN'T WE ENTITLED TO HEAR ALL VOICES?

Earlier today Green Party of Canada leader Jim Harris sent a letter to
Joanne MacDonald of the five-member Broadcasters Consortium, an
organization which has taken upon itself the task of deciding who should
appear in the TV Leaders Debate on June 14 and 15. Before making a
judgment, neither the Consortium nor the CRTC informed the Green Party of
the rules and processes by which the Consortium's determination was to be
made. Our representative was simply asked to participate in a
teleconference with three members of the Consortium and informed that a
journalistic decision had been made to exclude the Green Party.

Our representative specifically requested a list of all the reasons for
exclusion and was promised that a letter would be forthcoming. That letter
has arrived and I append it below Jim Harris's response to the
Consortium. What kind of a democracy is it, one has to ask, when a party
at 5% in the polls across the country and at 14% in British Columbia is
excluded from the TV debates?

In 1993 the NDP achieved 6.9% of the vote and 9 seats. In 2000 they
achieved 8.5% and 13 seats, but in British Columbia, with only 11.3%, they
achieved two seats. Since late October the Green Party of Canada has been
consistently polling above 11% in British Columbia. So the question I ask,
and I urge all of you to ask Ms. MacDonald, is: what gives you the right to
decide to exclude the preference of 14% of British Columbians from the tv
leaders debate:

Tel: (416) 332-5000

Respectfully Submitted
Andy Shadrack
BC Federal Election Co-Chair,
Green Party of Canada
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

PS: Further information will be forthcoming from the Green Party in the
days to come, but for now you are urged to disseminate this email widely
throughout BC and Canada.

******************************

27 May 2004

Ms. Joanne MacDonald
Vice-President, CTV News
CTV Television
Scarborough (ON)
M1S 4B5
Tel: 416.332.5000

Ms. MacDonald:

As you are aware on 6 May 2004, the Green Party of Canada first contacted
you to initiate the process of participating in the upcoming leaders'
debate on June 14th and 15th. Despite not having the opportunity to meet
with the consortium to discuss the merits of our participation, you have
arbitrarily chosen to exclude us from this important democratic event. It's
unfortunate that you would make such a critical decision without even
taking an opportunity to discuss this decision with us. We believe it is
now appropriate to detail the reasons why Canadians will be better served
by the Green Party's participation in this debate, upon receipt of your
letter of 26 May.

For the first time in its history, the Green Party of Canada intends to
field candidates in all 308 ridings in this federal election. How
significant is this? Consider that in the 2000 federal election, only the
Liberal Party of Canada ran candidates in every riding. Neither the
Canadian Alliance, nor the Progressive Conservatives, nor the NDP - and
certainly not the Bloc Qu?b?cois - were fully represented across the
country.

In addition to the Green Party's arrival as a truly national party, this
election will also mark another milestone in Canadian politics the
election of Green Party candidates to the House of Commons.

In the 2000 federal election, the Green Party garnered only 0.9 per cent of
the popular vote, a result consistent with polling numbers prior to that
campaign. Heading into this campaign, the latest polls by Ipsos-Reid and
Leger (which only began prompting for the Green Party in recent months)
show that voter support for the Green Party is currently running at 5 per
cent nationally, and 14 per cent in BC, home to 36 ridings.

Green Party support is particularly strong in Canada's three most populous
provinces - Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia and hopes are
particularly high in the latter. Andrew Lewis, candidate in the
Saanich-Gulf Islands riding, won 25.4 per cent of the vote in the 2001
provincial election. Several Green Party candidates with similarly strong
profiles in their regions are also running in this election.

There are several reasons for the Green Party's emergence as "the new kid
on the block" in Canadian politics. One is the deep dissatisfaction
Canadians feel towards this country's old, traditional political parties. A
Reader's Digest/Ipsos-Reid poll released in January 2003 on the
trustworthiness of professionals in Canada placed federal politicians at
the bottom rung with only 9 per cent - and that was before parliamentary
hearings began into the sponsorship scandal! By comparison, pharmacists
(91 per cent), doctors (85 per cent), and airline pilots (81 per cent)
topped the trust list.

Canadians are also angry at the ruling Liberals. An Oracle poll on March
26 found that 47 per cent of voters were so incensed with the federal
government they wouldn't vote for the Liberal Party "under any
circumstances." And voter dissatisfaction doesn't end with the Liberals.
According to polls conducted by the Green Party of Ontario during the
provincial election campaign last October, 38 per cent of Ontario voters
didn't like any of the traditional parties - neither the Liberals, the
Conservative, nor the NDP.

Canadian pollsters and political pundits suggest to resounding
agreement that this disenchantment among voters explains the historic lows
in voter turnout in recent elections. A whopping 8.2 million eligible
Canadian voters (39.2 per cent) did not cast ballots in the 2000 federal
election. That means that the number of people who decided to stay at home
on Election Day outnumbered those who voted for the winning Liberals!
Across Canada, voter turnout hit shocking lows. Ridings like WestmountVille
Marie in Qu?bec, where only 51.1 per cent of voters chose to participate,
and down to a nation-wide low of 47.6 per cent in BramptonWest Mississauga,
Ontario. In some ridings, the voter turnout was lower than the
participation rate in the 2000 U.S. presidential elections.

Even more troubling is the political disengagement of young voters. There
are nearly 7 million Canadians (Statistics Canada -2003 Census) between the
ages of eighteen and thirty, and seventy-five per cent of these young
Canadians do not vote. Even the established parties agree this spells
trouble for the future of democracy in Canada. Bucking this trend is the
widespread and enthusiastic support the Green Party enjoys among young
Canadians. In the 2001 B.C. election, for example, Green Party support
among 18-34 year-old voters was 28 per cent - a summit among all parties.

A big reason for the Green Party's appeal to young Canadians is its fresh,
honest, and common sense approach to the most important issues today,
issues that directly affect the lives of every Canadian.

Politically, the Green Party champions the system of proportional
representation, a system in which every vote counts, and in which political
parties tend to consult and cooperate rather than confront and divide. At
the same time, there must be electoral financing reforms that ban
corporation and union funding of political parties a change that would
greatly improve the way in which public policy decisions in Canada are made
and implemented.

Last year's bill on campaign finance reform has helped to level the playing
field for the Green Party. Thanks to C-24, all political parties will be
funded based on how many votes they receive. And at $1.75 a vote, people
are more empowered than ever. As it is more than likely that the Green
Party will attain the necessary two per cent of the vote to qualify for
this federal funding after June 28, it is therefore the taxpayers right to
see the party of their choice debating its opponents.

Green Parties are organized in more than 100 countries, hold elected seats
in 30 parliaments, and form or are part of governments in seven countries.
Notably, the Green Party is part of the federal government in Germany. Now,
it's Canada's turn to join the list of parliaments with Green Party members.

It is for these and other reasons that the Green Party and Canadians are
calling upon the consortium to reverse its decision. There are both moral
and legal arguments that support the Green Party's request - and
expectation - to participate in the leaders' debate.

The importance of this debate cannot be overstated. Indeed, there is
widespread agreement among political scientists and mass communication
experts that televised leaders' debates have become the defining moments in
federal election campaigns in Canada.

The Green Party experienced the impact of these debates first-hand. After
polling only 2.0 per cent in B.C. in 1996, for example, the Green Party
captured 12.4 per cent of the vote in the 2001 provincial election. That
jump is largely credited to the appearance (and performance) of B.C. Green
Party leader Adriane Carr in the televised leaders' debate, which exposed
tens of thousands of British Columbians to the Green Party's message for
the first time. Since then, the B.C. Green party has climbed to a high of
20 per cent in province-wide polls. In some areas, including on Vancouver
Island, support has surpassed 30 per cent.

It is estimated that support among Canadians for the Green Party would
increase notably if the consortium reversed its decision on the leaders'
debate, while also assisting the democratic process. By not allowing the
Green Party to take part, the consortium would deny Canadians their right
to a lively, vigorous debate.

Years ago, the consortium turned down a similar request from the Green
Party for allegedly failing to meet certain criteria for inclusion in the
leaders' debate. The consortium has failed and continues to fail to make
known to the Green Party the criteria by which they would or would not be
included. The CRTC has conceded that in the case of debates, "?all parties
and candidates should be accommodated, even if doing so requires that more
than one program be broadcast." In a 1991 ruling on the judgment to exclude
the Green Party of B.C. from the televised debate, Justice Collber stated
in his decision that:

"because of past complaints of inequitable treatment of broadcasters, the
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, following
national consultation initiated in 1987, now issues specific guidelines for
each federal or provincial election?"

These guidelines include matters of public affairs, specifically: debates.
The Green Party thereby requests a set of clear criteria upon which it is
being excluded despite having consistently demonstrated its impact on the
Canadian public.

There are numerous precedents of parties participating in the leaders'
debate without meeting all the consortium's criteria. Under section 12 of
the CRTC Broadcasting Act (1991), the Green Party is entitled to have the
issue adjudicated by an inquiry panel established under subsection 20(1).
Furthermore, 12.(3) of the Act states "?the Commission may rescind or vary
any order or decision made by the panel or may rehear any matter before
deciding it." Failing this, the Green Party is prepared to bring the matter
before the courts.

Further precedence was set in 2001, when B.C. broadcasters decided to
include the provincial Green Party in the televised debate. The broadcast
also included the Unity Party. So what criteria did the broadcasters use?
The Unity Party only had 53 candidates, so it could not have been a matter
of having a full slate. The only other possibility is having five per cent
support or more in the polls, which the Green Party achieves consistently.

In the 1993 election campaign, for example, the Reform Party had a single
MP. The Bloc Qu?becois, which at the time was not officially recognized by
the speaker of the House of Commons, participated without sitting members
(in fact, Gilles Duceppe was first elected as an independent). Both parties
were also regional entities that had no chance of forming either a national
government or winning votes outside of their respective sides of Canada's
two major linguistic communities. Still, both party leaders were invited to
the televised debate and in both official languages.

It is also worth noting that another party that was invited to the 1993
election debate - the NDP and garnered only 6.9 per cent of the vote
across Canada, winning 9 seats. Similarly in 2000, the NDP won 8.5 per
cent of the vote and captured 13 seats.

In comparison, the Green Party is currently polling comparable pre-election
numbers. And the prospects of winning a seat in this election look good to
say the least.

The consortium also cited the "large number of political parties contesting
the federal election" as a reason to exclude the Greens from participating
in the 2000 election debate. Since 1993, however, when five leaders were
involved in the televised debates, their numbers have dwindled to four
following the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive
Conservatives. A sense of fair play - not to mention democratic equity and
precedence - suggests that a spot is now open for a new national leader to
join the debate.

Many studies have shown that the leaders' debate is the central and
defining moment in an election campaigns. In fact, it determines the
outcome of an election more than any other event. Excluding a party from
the debate sends a message to voters that it is not worthy of serious
consideration whereas inclusion in the debate sends the opposite message.
The consortium therefore has a tremendous social responsibility to bring
together the leaders of all national parties to debate the issues facing
this country.

The small handful of network executives who decided to exclude the Green
Party of Ontario from the televised leaders' debate during last fall's
provincial election failed that litmus test. Over 70 per cent of Ontario
voters polled by the province's Green Party said they wanted to see the
party's leader participate in the debate. At the same time, many prominent
Ontarians - most of who supported other parties - signed a petition calling
for the Green Party's inclusion in the debate. "We, the undersigned," the
petition read, "believe voters have a right to make an informed choice and
that the consortium of network executives have a responsibility to act
fairly." Some of those supporters include:

Keith C. Norton (Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission),
Peter Desbarats (former Dean of Journalism, University of Western Ontario,
author and former CBC journalist), John Meisel (former Chairman, CRTC),
Michael Ignatieff (Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Harvard
University and former CBC Broadcaster) John Tory (President & CEO Rogers
Cable and Toronto Mayoralty candidate), John Laschinger (Progressive
Conservative strategist & organizer), Judy Rebick (Gindin Chair in Social
Justice & Democracy, Ryerson University), and John Sewell (former Mayor of
Toronto),

Democracy is, after all, based on citizens making informed choices and
it's the media's role to keep citizens informed. As Thomas Jefferson once
wrote, "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with
their own government."

It is for that reason the consortium must refrain from prejudging election
results - a danger highlighted by the Congress Party's stunning upset in
the Indian general election in May, an outcome that not a single pollster
or pundit predicted. Doing so underlines the value of political parties in
the democratic process. Worse, it puts the consortium in the undemocratic
role of self-appointed political censor.

In a landmark ruling last June that struck down three sections of the
Canada Elections Act that stifled the growth of emerging political parties
in Canada, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada argued that
political debate ensures an open society benefiting from diverse opinions
and a social policy sensitive to the needs and interests of a broad range
of citizens, and that participation in the electoral process has an
intrinsic value independent of the outcome of elections. The justices also
said that, large or small, all political parties are capable of introducing
unique interests and concerns into the political discourse.

The CRTC evidently shares this view. In a CRTC Broadcasting Circular from
2003, regulators outline the consortium's responsibility to "ensure that
their audiences are informed on the main issues and of the positions of all
candidates and registered parties on those issues through their public
affairs programs generally." Considering all the information contained in
this letter, the consortium would be ignoring that responsibility if they
refuse to invite Jim Harris to participate in a televised debate with his
fellow party leaders in this campaign.

This is a time in Canadian history when voters are desperate for
alternatives. Disillusioned with the old, established political parties,
they are looking for new approaches to the chronic problems facing Canadian
society. A growing number of them have decided that the Green Party offers
the best and most exciting solutions to these problems. We hope and are
confident that the consortium will extend an invitation to the Green Party
to participate in the leaders' debate in this election. Not doing so would
deprive Canadians of an opportunity to hear the invigorating ideas of this
country's newest national party. Your current decision only discredits the
consortium in the eyes of Canadian voters.

Jim Harris
Leader
Green Party of Canada

CTV Television Inc.
9 Channel Nine Court
Scarborough, Ontario
Canada M1S 4B5

Tel 416.332.5000

http://www.ctv.ca

******************************

May 26, 2004

Mr. Rob Newman
Executive Assistant to Jim Harris
Green Party of Canada
PO Box 997 Station B
Ottawa, ON
K1P 5R1

Dear Mr. Newman:

Following our telephone conversation, I am writing on behalf of the
Consortium of Broadcasters, to respond to your letter concerning the
participation of Jim Harris, the leader of the Green Party, in the
televised Leaders' Debates to take place during this federal election.

The Consortium consists of CTV, CBC, CanWest Global, Radio-Canada, and
TVA. The debate programs will be a joint production of the news and public
affairs departments of these networks. The decision about who is invited
to participate is made on editorial grounds.

The Consortium has invited the leaders of the four major political parties
to take part in the debates--the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, the
New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois. As we explained in our phone
call, the Consortium has decided to decline your request to have the leader
of the Green Party take part.

The question of whether or not the Green Party leader must be included in a
leaders' debate program has been litigated numerous times. Each time, the
courts have denied the Green Party's demand for inclusion. Forced
inclusion of a particular leader has also been litigated on behalf of
leaders of other parties (the National Party and the Natural Law Party, for
example) with the same result.

We thank you for your interest in this process.

Yours truly,
Joanne MacDonald
Vice President, CTV News

Authorized by the registered agent for the Green Party of Canada

From: ariel lade < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

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WHOSE PUBLIC AIRWAVES

Our Public Airwaves
A new vision for Canadian broadcasting
www.PublicAirwaves.ca

MEMO

TO: Supporters of the CBC and Canadian Programming
FROM: ?Arthur Lewis
SUBJECT: Federal Election Campaign

Dear friends and supporters,

I want to give you advance notice of a campaign that Our Public Airwaves is about to launch to make greater support for the CBC an election issue. While we know the CBC won't be the most important issue in this election, we can't allow its continuing destruction to be ignored.

But our campaign won't succeed without YOUR help. We need volunteers to help spread the word about our campaign and we need your financial support.

This is the first time we've written to ask you for money. And it's not something we plan to do very often. But it costs a great deal to wage an effective campaign and we want to put public broadcasting on the agenda in as many ridings as possible across the country. Any contribution you can make will help us reach that goal. To make a donation to our campaign fund click here.

Even if you can't afford to make a donation, you can play a vital role in the campaign. We need volunteers from coast to coast to help us spread the word by distributing flyers to friends and neighbours and asking questions at election meetings. To volunteer click here.

In a few days we'll be sending you the latest OPA newsletter with full details about our election campaign and links to the campaign website. Please consider volunteering your time or making a donation now to help make this campaign as effective as possible

Our Public Airwaves is the only organization in Canada devoted exclusively to support for the CBC and other public broadcasters. We all know how seriously the CBC has been wounded by government budget cuts in recent years. It's important that we seize this opportunity to tell our national leaders that we want the government to increase funding to the CBC so that it can better serve as a source of quality programming for all Canadians.

Please help us to make this campaign a success!

Arthur Lewis
Executive Director
Our Public Airwaves
P.O. Box 4400, Station E
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B4
Tel.: 613 237-3555
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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10. MEDIA OBLIGATIONS AT ELECTION TIME

Subsection 3(d) of the Broadcasting Act declares that "the programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should be varied and comprehensive and should provide reasonable balanced opportunity for the expression of differing views on matters of public concern."

The Radio Regulations, 1986, and Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 (Sections 6 and 8 respectively) read as follows:

"During an election period, a licensee shall allocate time for the broadcasting of programs, advertisements or announcements of a partisan political character on an equitable basis to all accredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election or referendum."

"'Election period' means

(a) in the case of a federal or provincial election or of a federal, provincial or municipal referendum, the period beginning on the date of the announcement of the election or referendum and ending on the date the election or referendum is held, or

(b) in the case of a municipal election, the period beginning two months before the date of the election and ending on the date the election is held; (p?riode ?lectorale)"

The Canada Elections Act

Section 99.13 of the Canada Elections Act requires that, during all federal general elections, all broadcasting stations make available for use by registered political parties 6.5 hours of time, in prime time, during the 28-day permitted advertising period, and sets out a formula by which this time is divided.

It also requires networks to provide an unspecified amount of free time to political parties.

For the full text:
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Notices/1988/PB88-142.HTM

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11. A CORPORATE TAKEOVER?

Does anyone get the feeling that Corporate Canada is?moving right now to replace the Liberals (as bad as they may be) with a much worse extreme right wing corporate run Steven Harper government?

We have seen?the removal of the Progressive Conservative party from the federal scene, destroyed by the liar Peter McKay, who signed an agreement not to dissolve the party and then did so - and is NEVER questioned about that deed by 'our' media.

An attempt by David Orchard, Joe Clark and others to save the party - a great story - was ignored and ridiculed by the corporate media, and the new Conservative party is now firmly in the hands of a man who is to the right of Gordon Campbell, Mike Harris and Ralph Klein on economic , trade, tax and other issues.

But not to worry, 2 months ago the Liberals (as bad as they are) were at 55% in the polls.??THEN, suddenly, the "sponsorship scandal", this huge, major, transcendent MEDIA?event which cost us somewhere between 10 and 100 million dollars over ten years...(A column is the Globe said the cost was really?$13 million - and after that column no definitive figures?have?really been?mentioned...)

This kind of money is NOT a big deal ...(and yes! fire the wrong doers and send them to jail.)

BUT the Liberals dropped from 55% to 38% - and are now at about 35 with Steven Harper right behind.??I think the CORPORATE MEDIA??is leading a deliberate attack on the Liberals to bring in a Steven Harper government.??This man is the former head of the National Citizens Coalition. He is a Canadian George Bush...?

The attack on the Liberals is never ending, ranging from ugly pictures of Paul Martin in the papers?to Rex Murphy and his completely censored (all calls are screened and THEY choose who will go on?) Cross Country Checkup where the first caller last Sunday?said Harper reminded him of Churchill and it was downhill after that as far as the Liberals, NDP, and Greens?were concerned.

And the attacks on Jack Layton and the NDP are even worse, with never ending media criticism of his 'unworkable ridiculous nonsensical pie-in-the-sky taxing us after we're dead plans that will destroy this country' ... They never say WHY it won't work - and they don't have to since they own the media ... they can just repeat the lie over and over and it will have the desired effect on enough Canadians to swing the vote to where they want it to be.

On radio it just doesn't stop and the papers are almost as bad. And of course it is effective - if people see, read and hear that Layton's plans will ruin us - and they are angry at Paul Martin because ....?? then they will vote Conservative or maybe they just won't vote.

They are now talking about a Conservative minority or even majority government.??And I think Corporate Canada can do it if they want to.??

BUT I think it is important that?the rest of us?realize that this is NOT happening by accident but??is a carefully worked out strategy to move this country VERY significantly to the right at a time when we are already in grave danger on many fronts - environmental, economic, and especially political with our loony friends in the USA (who Mr Harper wants to join on their visit to Iraq )...

I for one am very nervous. Can we respond in any way to stop this corporate tide??? (OR maybe I am completely wrong, and it is just by accident that all of this is happening.)

The only thing I can think of to do is to go after the media full blast - accuse them of being corporate liars to their faces as often and as loudly as we can...

And WHY, when?the Green Party is polling about 1/5th the strength of the Conservatives...do they get 1/500th of?the amount of coverage? And the Nazi Party gets more?mention than the Canadian Action Party...

From: "jack etkin" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

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corporate privatization doesn't guarantee personal privacy

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"In 1973 the top 10% of Canadian families with children under 18 took 21 times the market income of the poorest 10% of families. By 1996, the top 10% made 314 times the market income of the poorest 10%"

The Growing Gap

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Coast Salish Territory
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Last Updated on Thursday, 03 June 2004 00:42
 

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