The consortium of TV networks that is setting up the leaders’ debates in advance of the May 2 federal election has decided that Green Party leader Elizabeth May (pictured) will not be allowed to participate. In the run up to the 2008 election, that was their initial stance too, but they later changed their minds and allowed her to participate. Will that happen again this time?
While it’s true that the Green Party does not have any sitting MPs, it’s also true that in the last election they garnered close to one million votes which was approximately seven per cent of the total turnout. Over the last few years, I’ve done several interviews with people who advocate that we should switch to a form of proportional representation to better reflect the democratic will. It’s hard not to agree, because under the current first-past-the-post system seat distribution can be skewed pretty badly.
In Saskatchewan in 2008, for instance, the Conservatives received 53.7 per cent of the popular vote; the NDP 25.6 per cent; the Liberals 14.9 per cent; and the Green Party 5.6 per cent. Under PR, that would have resulted in a seat distribution in the neighbourhood of seven Conservative, four NDP, two Liberal and one Green. Instead, the province elected 13 Conservatives and one Liberal. Great system, isn’t it, where you can win over 90 per cent of the seats with a little over half the popular vote?
Here’s a link to a CBC story on May’s exclusion.