Once again, the Green Party leader is being barred from the televised leaders debate. News broke yesterday that the media consortium in charge of arranging the provincial leaders debate including CTV, CBC, Global and TVO, have decided that said debate will be one between Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath. Mike Schreiner, Green Party of Ontario leader, will not be joining the debate in spite of the fact that the Greens are once again running candidates in every riding.
In a media statement called "What's So Scary About Mike?" the Schreiner campaign took a tongue and cheek approach to the news. “I have to wonder what they’re afraid of,” said GPO provincial campaign manager, Kathy Acheson. “I guess it’s honesty, integrity, and good public policy. Scary indeed!”
Scary? Perhaps, but certainly not surprising. While Green Party leaders have been allowed to participate in provincial debates in several Canadian provinces, and during the national general election in 2008, it's still a difficult platform for the party to get upon with any consistency; note that Federal Green leader Elizabeth May was left out of the debate in both debates during the 2011 election.
“The people of Ontario have welcomed me and the Green Party’s ideas with open minds and hearts since this campaign started,” said Schreiner. “I want everyone to be able to make up their minds honestly.”
The Green Party had assumed this would be an issue even before the election. A statement was sent to several TV stations back in April as a preemptive measure to get producers to think about including the Greens in the eventual debate. "Even without formal representation, our members and supporters have affected public policy and social change through the means available to them, such as petitions, letters, and earned media," wrote Acheson. "Their voices and views should be heard by Ontarians before voters make the important decision of where to put their confidence in the next election."
I guess the esteemed members of the Mainstream Media disagree. The leaders debate will go live to air on June 3.