An Open Letter and Warning to Misters McGuinty and Hampton
The Green Party correctly points to the fact that when a party's leader is allowed to participate in a leaders' debate, the party gets significant votes: in the case of the BC Greens, their vote count went from next to nothing to approximately 12% as a result of being permitted to participate in the leaders' debate. As you know, the participating parties in a leaders' debate have great influence in preventing such appearances (whether by the Greens, or by Freedom Party): you need only say that you will not participate if we do. However, there is some manipulation afoot that may make it more difficult for you simply to threaten to take your marbles and go home.
As you know, the polls have the Liberals and PCs in a dead heat. Moreover, the PCs have little hope of winning-over blue-Liberal voters: why vote for a pretend Liberal (Eves' red-Tories) when you can vote for the real thing?
What's left? Splitting the Liberal and NDP vote further.
How? By temporarily lending the Greens undeserved legitimacy through PC-friendly media: the Greens will draw votes almost entirely from the Liberals and NDP. I'm not talking about media reporting the Greens' threat of legal action: that has less to do with wacky, fringy, Green policy and more to do with the interesting story of how the media, to avoid upsetting their advertising customers, must avoid talk of parties that propose real and meaningful change. No, I'm talking about reporting - while trying not to giggle or crack a smile - the views of the Greens on actual issues. For example, one PC-friendly radio station today reported Ernie Eves' announcement that he would extend Ontario's highways. Oddly, this was actually followed up with a report about what Green Party leader Frank de Jong thinks about the issue: that highway expansion should ever occur. Brilliant PC editorial work, of course: reporting Frank's view had the effect of lumping the Liberals in with the Greens because Mr. Eves (in the report) had argued that the Liberals (like the Greens) have no solid plans for highway expansion.
If enough of this sort of Green legitimizing goes on, the media handling the leaders' debate will be in a bit of a pickle. There will be a sudden popular support for Frank de Jong's participation in the leaders' debate. Not including him could, under those circumstances, undermine the public's perception of the popular media as an unbiased, pro-democracy establishment. Faced with a possible loss of credibility, a threat by you not to participate in the leaders' debate might fail. Instead, your fear of having to compete with the Greens will be exposed, and will become the media's next hot story.
My self-serving recommendation: make similar use of the Freedom Party of Ontario. In passing, compare the PCs with Freedom Party (feel free to call us "capitalists", in favour of "for profit" this and that, if that buys you some mileage on the left). If Mr. de Jong is to be included in the Leaders' debates, demand that Freedom Party's Paul McKeever also be included. Let Mr. Eves' flip-floppy abandonment of common sense be made apparent to those common sense blue-Tories who are actually thinking about holding their noses and voting PC. Divorce from the now red-Tory led PCs the votes of those who want a reliable voice for tax cuts, choice in schools (including curriculum), hydro privatization, and private sector competition in health care. Speed to the provincial sphere the inevitable rippling of the federal political re-alignment: Peter could use Ernie's company as the sun sets on the PC party. Both the left and the true-blue right have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
In short: let there be no Greens without the common sense of Freedom.
The Freedom Party of Ontario's common sense election platform, The Right Direction, can be found at:
https://freedomparty.on.ca/platform.pdf (Adobe .pdf format)
https://freedomparty.on.ca/platform/html/cover.htm (HTML format)
Paul McKeever (who will be running in the riding of Oshawa, against Sid Ryan and Jerry Ouellette) is available to discuss this matter. You can contact him directly at:
Freedom Party is expected to run candidates in approximately half of Ontario's ridings in the coming election.
further information: Paul McKeever, Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario.