Open Letter to Ontario Broadcasters Group regarding Green Party exclusion from May 27 debate

Share:

To: Ontario Broadcasters Group
℅ Mackay Taggart
News Director
Global News Toronto
mackay.taggart@globalnews.ca

Dear Mr. Taggart:

With the final televised provincial leaders debate approaching, I respectfully urge the Ontario Broadcasters Group to reconsider its decision to exclude the Green Party of Ontario.

To date more than 25,000 Ontarians have signed petitions calling for fair debates that include all four major parties. You can see these petitions at www.fairdebates.ca and www.MikeAtTheMic.ca. We have the support of Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, as well as multiple journalists who believe our voice should be at the table. It is with this significant backing that I write this letter.

Televised leaders debates are an important part of our democracy and have far-reaching implications for the outcome of elections. I believe decisions about participation in these debates should be fair, transparent and made by people accountable to voters in Ontario.

That said, I recognize that the Ontario Broadcasters Group has the decision-making authority in this case. Therefore, you have a significant responsibility to the voters to present fair debates that accurately represent the political landscape and the options on June 7th. By excluding the Green Party, you are failing in that responsibility to the people of Ontario.

First, your insistence that a party must have a seat in the provincial legislature ignores the broad support the Green Party has across Ontario and Canada. Greens have been elected to provincial legislatures of BC, PEI and New Brunswick. In all of these cases, the election of Greens was preceded by their inclusion in televised debates. And in the last Ontario election, our party received over 233,000 votes and nearly 5% of the popular vote. By limiting our visibility, you are ignoring a growing movement – whose reach is global, with Greens elected in countries from Iceland to Germany.

Second, the decision ignores our credibility as one of the four major parties in Ontario. We have run a full slate of candidates in every election since 2003, and this year our full slate includes 52% women candidates. We have released a costed platform that touches on all major issues in the province. And most importantly, we are one of four parties to receive enough votes to qualify for public funding under Elections Ontario rules.

In our view it is simple: if a party qualifies for public subsidies, then it should be held accountable in the televised leaders debates. By silencing our voice, you are denying Ontarians the right to hear a viable vision for Ontario that their tax dollars are supporting. This is a disservice to democracy.

Third, as I have toured the province and spoken out on this issue, I have been told by countless media personalities and Ontarians of all political stripes that it is unacceptable that I am being shut out. In an online poll by the Toronto Star, 69% of people responded unequivocally that Greens should be included, while another 15% responded that Greens should be included if the other parties agree to it.

With this broad support from politicians, media and the people of Ontario, I ask whether you can stand behind your original decision?

There is still time to do the right thing. There are four major parties in this province – not three. I ask that you provide the voters of Ontario with the true picture of this election and allow them access to the views and policies of all four major parties.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

cc:
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP
Doug Ford, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario