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Fellow Canadians: Stephen Harper Refuses to Participate in National Debate


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I really had to control myself not to start this thread in General Discussions. Mainly because I wanted all the Canadian posters here to see it, and I know a lot of them don't go on the "Chit Chat" forum at all.

But I also knew it would probably offend some people, mainly because let's face it, it's nothing to do with movies.

 

 

Ok, I heard on national television that Stephen Harper has said he will not participate in the CBC's national debate(s), which will likely be scheduled after the election is officially called, probably late in September.

 

What's up with that? This is the frigging PRIME MINISTER, for frig's sake. And he's NOT GOING TO TAKE PART IN THE ELECTION DEBATES??!!

The debate is one of the best ways to get a sense of where the parties and their leaders stand, what their ideas and platforms are, and how they interact with others under pressure.

 

It's undemocratic to refuse to participate. I knew Harper was one arrogant SOB, but this takes the cake.

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I'm a little confused about this debate business. I could be wrong but it's my understanding that Harper is refusing to participate in any of the debates put on by the usual national broadcasters such as CBC or CTV. He is, instead, talking about appearing in debates hosted by other, smaller groups, with rules that will allow more counter thrust opportunities among the participants than seen on the big nationals.

 

The problem with this is viewership, of course, as fewer Canadians will have the opportunity to see them. But since when did Harper care about fairness or democracy or anything other than getting re-elected anyway? The feeling among Conservatives is that, based upon his performance in the House of Commons, Justin Trudeau is not a very effective debater. Harper  will have a greater opportunity to skewer him this way. Theoretically, at least.

 

This could prove to be his undoing, though, since Thomas Mulcair of the NDP is an excellent debater.

 

I fully understand your annoyance, MissW. Hopefully Canadians, instead of doing their usual sleepwalking (which is what Harper wants them to do at election time) will also get angry over this man's high handed arrogance and he will pay a price at the polls.

 

The thing is, though, that as long as there is a split opposition in the voting, even with 60 per cent of Canadians not voting for Harper, he gets elected anyway. The Tories worst nightmare is for a collapse of either the NDP or Liberals with most of the opposition to them coalescing behind just one party. It's to Harper's advantage these days, just as years ago the Liberals (under Chretien) kept getting re-elected when their opposition was spilt between the PCs and Western Alliance.

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Harper is a Republican. The Conservative Party is Republican.

 

Canada is in far worse shape - in every way - than it was 10 years ago (when it was under the excellent stewardship of the Liberal Party).

 

I've always voted NDP - what with being a democratic socialist. But since the rise of fascism under Harper, I've grown a greater appreciation for the Liberal Party. The first Trudeau was the greatest prime minister this country has had since MacDonald himself.

 

I'm voting for another Trudeau this time around. And praying that enough other Canadians do the same. As long as the Conservatives continue in power, Canada will remain headed in the wrong direction, which it inexplicably chose to head after Chretien retired.

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Harper is a Republican. The Conservative Party is Republican.

 

Canada is in far worse shape - in every way - than it was 10 years ago (when it was under the excellent stewardship of the Liberal Party).

 

I've always voted NDP - what with being a democratic socialist. But since the rise of fascism under Harper, I've grown a greater appreciation for the Liberal Party. The first Trudeau was the greatest prime minister this country has had since MacDonald himself.

 

I'm voting for another Trudeau this time around. And praying that enough other Canadians do the same. As long as the Conservatives continue in power, Canada will remain headed in the wrong direction, which it inexplicably chose to head after Chretien retired.

 

Looks like Canada is like the USA since we may have an election that includes a Bush and a Clinton.

 

When I saw the name Trudeau I assumed it was the former PM's son,  but I had to look it up.    I didn't know that the father had dated Streisand. 

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I really had to control myself not to start this thread in General Discussions. Mainly because I wanted all the Canadian posters here to see it, and I know a lot of them don't go on the "Chit Chat" forum at all.

But I also knew it would probably offend some people, mainly because let's face it, it's nothing to do with movies.

 

 

Ok, I heard on national television that Stephen Harper has said he will not participate in the CBC's national debate(s), which will likely be scheduled after the election is officially called, probably late in September.

 

What's up with that? This is the frigging PRIME MINISTER, for frig's sake. And he's NOT GOING TO TAKE PART IN THE ELECTION DEBATES??!!

The debate is one of the best ways to get a sense of where the parties and their leaders stand, what their ideas and platforms are, and how they interact with others under pressure.

 

It's undemocratic to refuse to participate. I knew Harper was one arrogant SOB, but this takes the cake.

I guess Canadians are not much for "chit-chat".

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All politicians are manipulative to a degree but Stephen Harper has cynically proven himself to be a particular master at it during his years in power. This is a man who, among other things, hides new laws that will be controversial in the middle of gigantic omnibus bills, making it almost impossible for them to be detected before they are passed by his majority government and the law of the land. 

 

This confusing business of the debates is pure Harper.

 

Here's an editiorial from The Toronto Star, a newspaper which, admittedly, has never been a fan of the most right wing Prime Minister Canada has ever had.

 

Conservatives are out to manipulate debate rules: Editorial

 

Published on Sun May 24 2015

 
 

The longer and more convoluted the so-called debate over debates gets in advance of this fall’s federal election, the clearer it becomes that the Conservative party’s goal is simply to manipulate the rules in its favour.

 

In some senses there’s nothing surprising about this: it’s what political parties always try to do, the Harper Conservatives more than most.

But surprising or not, if the Tories succeed it will be a profound disservice to our electoral process and a setback for anyone who believes in encouraging more Canadians to engage with the national political discussion.

 

To recap an increasingly tangled story: last week the Conservatives unilaterally announced they would no longer take part in leaders’ debates organized by the four national broadcast organizations (known as the consortium).

 

Instead, they said, they want to encourage “diversity and innovation” by having different sponsors and formats for campaign debates. They even wanted some of the events to be scheduled before the campaign is underway.

 

Now, after a week and a half of manoeuvring among the parties, it looks like the Tories have agreed to have Prime Minister Stephen Harper take part in four debates – three in English and one in French – organized by various organizations with a variety of rules and formats. None of them involve the biggest English networks – CBC/Radio-Canada and CTV.

 

To add to the confusion, the broadcasters’ consortium plans to stage two national debates. But Harper won’t take part, raising the possibility that Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair may end up debating each other – and an empty chair.

 

Some might ask: who cares? Why not have all kinds of debates? Wasn’t the dominance of the old-line broadcasters just a relic of traditional thinking?

 

In fact, no. Having at least a handful of nationally broadcast, independently organized debates is still key to exposing the largest possible number of voters to the leaders and the campaign issues.

In 2011, the English and French debates drew an impressive 14 million viewers. For the very reason that they were broadcast simultaneously on CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA they practically forced anyone with a passing interest in politics to at least take note. They were the centre-pieces of the campaign and crucial tests for the leaders. They also put the head of the governing party and his challengers on an equal footing for at least the duration of the debate.

 

Now, entirely because of the Conservatives’ determination to have things their way, we are heading toward a situation where there are more debates – but none is likely to have the mass audience, and therefore the political weight, of past face-offs. And it’s far from certain that we will be able to see all three major party leaders actually confront one another in the same forum.

 

Obviously, political junkies will find the debates – whether they are on broadcast TV or live-streamed by the Globe and Mail (which is sponsoring one encounter on the economy) or the Munk Debates (which are organizing a session on foreign policy). But these may well turn out to be niche events with rules crafted to the liking of the governing party. They are much less likely to be the central events of the campaign.

 

The old consortium system wasn’t perfect. As the Star recommended in the run-up to the 2011 campaign, it would be preferable for debates to be organized by a “non-partisan, independent and accountable commission committed to clear standards on participation.”

 

But debates organized and broadcast simultaneously by the national networks were far more useful than the patchwork that is emerging thanks to the Conservatives’ insistence on cherry-picking events. They obviously think it will work for them. Voters should pass their own judgment on this cynical manoeuvre.

 

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