Should the name of the party be placed beside the Candidate on the ballot?

Consider the following:

“Since 1972 the candidate’s party has appeared after his or her name on the ballot. A candidate wishing to be endorsed by a registered political party and have the party’s name appear on the ballot must include a letter of endorsement signed by the leader of the party or by a designated party representative.

Otherwise the prospective candidate must include whether he or she wants to be designated as “Independent” on the ballot or to have no designation at all appear on the ballot. In Canadian federal elections most candidates are judged by their affiliation with a political party. It is difficult and rare for an Independent or unaffiliated candidate to be elected.” reading Should the name of the party be placed beside the Candidate on the ballot?


Should candidates make themselves available to the media?

“In Toronto-Danforth, NDP leader Jack Layton’s riding, the Starwas not able to visit Conservative candidate Katarina Von Koenig’s campaign office. A staffer said she does not yet have one.

The staffer declined to let Von Koenig be interviewed in person “on the advice of my national headquarters,” offering instead to submit written questions to the candidate through him.

The Star did not accept. Most other downtown Conservative candidates agreed to be interviewed face to face, some with no advance warning.”

Continue reading Should candidates make themselves available to the media?

Should candidates be required to attend debates?

Debates are a very important part of the democratic process.  That said, it is clear  that debates  are used and manipulated  by parties  and candidates to improve  their  position.  Some candidates simply refuse  to appear. It  is next to impossible to find a  Conservative Party candidate appearing at any debate  in Toronto.  It  is no surprise that the Conservative “Candidate” in  Toronto Danforth has refused  to appear in the April 28 Toronto  Danforth All  Candidates debate. She has nothing to lose  but everything to gain – don’t  know  why she won’t appear.

Once again, the NDP “Candidate”  Jack Layton has refused to appear in any debates  in Toronto Danforth. I  suppose that Mr. Layton feels that he has  nothing to gain and only something to lose. He seems  to have  forgotten that his primary that he has a seat in the House  of Commons only because of the  voters of Toronto  Danforth. (By  the way he was also  offered the opportunity to appear by Skype)  – but  the message from Mr.  Layton’s campaign team is clear:

Jack Layton will  not appear in an all  candidates debate in Toronto Danforth. Once again,  his will be an empty seat.

What are  your thoughts? Express them in the poll above.

Debates, Democracy and Debates About Democracy

Debates As  A Tool For  Election Strategy

The Federal election (or non-election) of 2011 will be remembered for many things. One of the most interesting aspects is the focus on Candidates and Leader debates. What are  they for? Whose interest do they serve? Should all candidates on the ballot be allowed  to participate. Does it matter  whether somebody is a “party candidate?” If so, which party? Should only those  party candidates that have Official  Party status be allowed  to participate?  For that  matter,  should  candidates on the ballot  be required  to participate?

What About Candidates Who Do Not Appear In Debates?

Candidates do not appear for one  of two reasons:

1. They are excluded

2. They refuse to appear

Those  who are excluded from debates, often feel  that  their exclusion hampers their  ability to  run as a candidate.

Those who refuse to attend debates often do so for reasons related  to their campaign. But,  are the debates to serve the interests  of: the parties, the candidates or the voters.

Democracy is not  a spectator  sport.  It requires public participation. This participation requires  that people to vote. But,  it also requires that voters have the opportunity to engage  with their candidates. To put it simply: the debates are  a  part of the democratic process  that belong to the voters. Incredibly, the  parties seem to think that  the debates are part of their  campaign strategy which are to be manipulated  for  their  benefit.

Examples  of manipulation include:

– the failure of candidates to  appear  at debates they have been invited to. It is a rare event to find a Conservative Candidate appearing at a debate in Toronto. For example, on April 15 Toronto Centre Conservative Candidate Kevin Moore failed to appear at an All Candidates Debate. On the other  hand, Independent Candidate Bahman Yazdanfar had  to work hard  in order  to be included. Continue reading Debates, Democracy and Debates About Democracy

Should your MP live in our Toronto Danforth Riding?

It’s interesting that there is no requirement that a candidate for Toronto Danforth actually live in the riding. This was also an issue in the recent municipal election.  There are some who attribute Jane Pitfield’s loss in Toronto Ward 29 to the fact that she did not live in Ward 29. The issue of residency in the ward was discussed in all three All Candidates  Debates.

There are five candidates in Toronto Danforth.  Andrew Lang, Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, and Marie Crawford live in Toronto Danforth.  There is no evidence that either Jack Laytonor Katarina von Koenig appear  live in Toronto Danforth.  Maybe, they do – but the evidence is hard to find.  It’s interesting that the three candidates who have addresses in Toronto Danforth have confirmed that they are attending the All Candidates Debate on April 28.  Katarina von Koenig has indicated that she will not attend. Jack Layton won’t even respond to the invitation. Jack Layton’s failure to attend riding debates was an issue in the 2008 election. Jack’s seat was empty. In fact, to add insult to injury, Jack dispatched his provincial  NDP counterpart Peter Taubuns to replace him.  In a rare display of  “Grass Roots”, Peter Taubuns participation was rejected by the voters.

We can’t even get Ms. Katarina and Mr. Layton to visit Toronto Danoforth during the election. There is a difference between having your name on the ballot and being a candidate!

Thursday April 28/11 – 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Doors Open at 7:30

Please  note time change! – Doors Open at 7:30 p.m. – Have Your Questions  Ready

The Candidates – All Invited To Participate:

Marie Crawford – Resides in Toronto Danforth – Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada*

Andrew Lang – Resides in Toronto Danforth – Liberal Party of Canada*

Jack Layton – Does NOT reside in Toronto Danforth – New Democratic Party of Canada****

Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu – Resides in Toronto Danforth – Green Party of Canada*

Katarina von Koenig – Does NOT reside in Toronto Danforth – Conservative Party of Canada***

* Invited and attendance confirmed

*** Invited – campaign manger replied indicating that the candidate  will not  be  participating in the debate.

**** Invited – campaign manager replied indicating he could not attend. He was then offered the opportunity  to appear by Skype. He still would not attend. On April 26/11 Jack Layton ran his own “Town Hall” meeting in Toronto Centre. Don’t know why this could not have been run in Toronto Danforth!

When: Thursday April 28, 2011 – 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Doors open at  7:30 p.m. – Bring Your Questions!

Where: Don Mills United Church 0f Canada – 126 O’Connor Dr. – Toronto, Ontario M4K 2K7

Everyone is welcome – encouraged  to attend – ask questions to and listen to the Candidates in Toronto Danforth.