VP of News & Information,
Rogers Media Television
545 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON
33 Dundas St. East, Toronto, ON
Dear Mr. Budge and Ms. Khan:
We thank you and CityNews for taking the initiative to host the first televised leaders debate of the provincial election. These forums are critical to our democracy and essential for equipping citizens with the information they need to make a decision on Election Day.
However, we are deeply disappointed that the Green Party of Ontario did not receive an invitation to the debate scheduled for May 7.
The current political landscape in Ontario includes a vibrant Green Party. We will run a full slate of candidates for the fourth consecutive election. We have a comprehensive Vision for Ontario. And shortly we will release a costed platform outlining our priorities on the key issues affecting our province.
Our party received 233,000 votes in the last election and we are one of only four parties to qualify for provincial per-vote funding, based on our popular vote, of nearly 5% in the last election.
Nearly 11,000 people have signed a non-partisan petition at www.fairdebates.ca asking for a well-earned place at the televised debates for all four leaders whose parties receive per-vote public funding. And in only four days the Green Party itself has gathered over 3,000 more signatures. (www.MikeAtTheMic.ca)
While we understand that media organizations and the status-quo parties in Ontario might have a preference for a three-party debate model for a variety of reasons, we urge you to put people and democracy first. Voters deserve more – not less – choice in this election.
Nurturing democracy is an active process, and I’m sure you would agree that media has an important role to play in this. Limiting your debate to the big three parties in Ontario is a disservice to democracy, continuing a myth that there are no other options to the status quo.
In my mind it is simple. The formula for leaders debates should be the same as the formula set out by Elections Ontario. Four parties receive per-vote funding and four parties should be permitted to share their ideas and be held accountable to the people of Ontario.
Thousands of Ontarians are supporting our call, as well as Premier Wynne and a growing list of media personalities who are on the record as being in complete support.
I urge you to rethink your initial invitation that left out a party that hundreds of thousands of people support. I urge you to create a space at the table for the Green Party of Ontario.
Leader, Green Party of Ontario