“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.”
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.
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.
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!