I can’t immediately find an online source for this, but the bank of TVs behind me reports that Angus Reid has the NDP polling at 21% nationally, which has us in a statistical tie for second with the Liberals at 24%. Official Opposition status, here we come!
So the fallout from the Green party being shut out of the debate is still going on. The response has been more negative than expected, in both opinion polls and in the blogoverse. Still, I suspect the move will gain the NDP more votes than it loses them. Now that the Bloc has changed and/or clarified its position and said they have nothing against May joining the debate, the pressure on Layton could increase. Still, with three of the four parties opposed or strongly opposed, and clear legal precedents establishing that the TV networks have no obligation to include a given political party in the debates, May’s got to be thinking that it isn’t easy being Green.
I will point out, though, that this is proof the Greens are not a left-wing party, in case anyone might still think that. Ignore for the moment that half their supporters are casting protest votes and would never vote for anyone actually likely to win. As they themselves say, the Greens take political ideas from all over the spectrum. Layton obviously doesn’t want to lose supporters to the Greens, which is really no surprise, as disappointing as that is to many people. The Bloc didn’t veto their inclusion in the debates because they know they’re not a player in Quebec, and Dion wants them in because May’s endorsement of him as Prime Minister is worth it – I strongly suspect that Green supporters in Liberal battleground ridings will be voting for Dion. But it’s very telling that the Conservatives don’t want her there either. In politics as in life, people’s actions say far more than their words. Clearly, they’re afraid of losing votes to May as well. Meanwhile, the real left-wing vote isn’t going anywhere near the Greens. To pick just one issue, there’s no way in hell I’d vote for anyone advocating income splitting, among the most effective ways to increase the gender wage gap.
Oh, and by the way? This isn’t about sexism. Contrary to May’s claim, the panel of broadcasters who excluded her included two women, and the NDP, the first party to have elected a woman as a provincial or national leader, clearly isn’t opposed to including women on principal. In both 2004 and 2006 the NDP ran more women candidates than other other party, the Greens included (NDP: 96 in 2004, 108 in 2006; Greens: 77 in 2004, 72 in 2006). The Liberals have been complaining that Layton’s opposition to May’s inclusion is sexist, but if they as a party want a woman in the debates they should bloody well elect one as their leader. The media preoccupation with Julie Couillard’s cup size smacks of sexism, but not this.
On a lighter note, the universe didn’t end today. The doomsday machine is still being warmed up, though, so there’s always next week.