I have been a loyal member of the New Democratic Party for several years and very supportive of the hard work of our leader, Jack Layton. However, these past few days my loyalty has been severely tested, due to Layton’s alignment with Stephen Harper on excluding the Green Party’s leader Elizabeth May from the televised leaders’ debates.
Whatever possessed Jack Layton to side with Harper on this? Excluding Elizabeth May from these debates speaks volumes about the Old Boys Club in Ottawa. When did Layton become a member? Are these men afraid to let a strong, outspoken woman debate our country’s issues with them?
Since I am very active in the community, I hear the same views expressed by many people, including those ‘fence-sitters’ who are seriously considering casting their vote for the NDP. This latest action by Layton has just lost those voters and may prove to be a very costly mistake.
I am appalled by these actions of my party’s leader and have written letters urging Jack Layton to admit his error in judgment, apologise to Ms. May and speak out to allow her to be included in the debates. Our country faces uncertain times and important issues that transcend divisive partisan politics. In order to restore his credibility; the confidence of large segments of his own party; and for democracy to be served, I hope that Layton listens to the grass roots of his party and publicly reverses his misogynist stance.
**UPDATE: Canada Votes – Election 2008
It seems that Jack Layton paid attention to the grass roots of his own party and backed down on excluding Elizabeth May in the televised leaders’ debates. So that leaves Stephen Harper as the ‘lone ranger’ stubbornly sticking to his stance. I don’t think the Progressives in his party are impressed.
And I still think that Jack Layton should publicly apologise to Ms. May.
Read this article in the Edmonton Sun: Layton backs down on blocking May from debates
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jack Layton has backed down in his opposition to having Green party Leader Elizabeth May participate in the federal leaders debates.
Layton says the issue has “become a distraction” and he does not want to continue “debating about the debate.”
“As long as Stephen Harper takes part, I don’t care who else is on the stage,” he said Wednesday on his campaign bus in the Toronto area.
Layton came under fire from his own supporters after saying May, who is closely linked with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, had no place at the table.
The five-network consortium that runs the debates — CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA — has said some leaders threatened to boycott the events if May was included.
It was later revealed that Layton and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had threatened the boycott.
May said now that just one leader opposes her participation, there’s no reason to exclude her.