With election reform on the ballot, should smaller parties be included in the political debates?
September 12, 2007 | 12:50 PM
The Green Party of Ontario has launched an online petition to pressure broadcasters to include party leader Frank de Jong in the televised leaders' debate on Sept. 20. The Greens won 2.8 per cent of the popular vote in the 2003 provincial election.
If voters choose electoral reform in the Oct. 10 referendum, that 2.8 per cent could translate into as many as 13 MPPs in the future, according to de Jong. As a result, he says the Green Party should be placed on "equal footing" with the other major parties and included in the public debates now.
Green Party leaders have been invited to participate in televised debates in other provinces, notably B.C. in 2005 and P.E.I. in 2007.
The Ontario debate currently includes Liberal Dalton McGuinty, Progressive Conservative John Tory and NDP Howard Hampton, the leaders of the parties with legislative representation.
But, with electoral reform also on the ballot this time, should smaller parties have a stronger role in the campaign and its important debates? How would you draw the line?