NEWS RELEASE · 5th April 2011
Green Party of Canada
The Federal Court of Appeal today rejected the Green Party’s application to have its case heard prior to the national leaders’ debates. The Greens argue that excluding leader Elizabeth May from the televised leaders debates in the election is contrary to the Charter.
“It is deeply disturbing for democracy that the consortium argued that the other leaders might not participate in a debate if I am included, and raised the spectre that there would be no debate at all if the Green Party was there,” said leader Elizabeth May. “The arguments from the consortium hinged on their convenience, the difficulty of changing a format, and failed to address questions of fundamental importance to democracy.
“The reasons for this ruling will not even be released until Monday and the debates begin Tuesday night. But it seems the judge was unwilling to accept that the timing of the Green Party’s application was not within our control. Up until March 29, we believed we would be included.
“When the Green Party learned the consortium would exclude us, we made every effort to get before the courts in a timely fashion, given that there was no case to be heard prior to the consortium’s decision on March 29 and their choice to hold the debate April 12, essentially depriving the Green Party of access to the courts.
“We continue to plead with the consortium to reverse its wrongheaded decision and we thank Canadians for their overwhelming support and urge them to continue to express their disapproval to the consortium,” said Ms. May.
“Now that the consortium’s lawyer has alleged that the leaders of the other parties may not be prepared to participate if the Green Party is included, we are contacting the leaders of the parties included in the debates to seek the truth,” said Lois Corbett, Campaign Manager for the Green Party. “And for any leader that does believe the wishes of a majority of Canadians should be respected in this matter, they should not participate in the debates if Elizabeth May is not included.”