Green Leader Elizabeth May slams Thomas Mulcair's flip-flop on women’s issues debate

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      NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is getting a lot of heat for backing out of a proposed leaders' debate on women's issues just because Conservative Leader Stephen Harper won't attend.

      Up for Debate, an alliance of more than 175 women’s and other organizations, has now cancelled the event.

      Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Green Leader Elizabeth May, and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe had agreed to participate.

      In a news release today (August 25), May let everyone know what she thinks of Mulcair's move:

      As the only woman leader of a federal political party, I know women have deep concerns about all areas of public policy. Excluding women's voices from debates is profoundly anti-democratic, yet the Conservatives and the NDP have now signalled repeatedly that the leaders’ debates they prefer are those with no woman leader present.

      Now the debate on women's issues that had been in the works for months, a debate that had been agreed upon with an accepted date negotiated with the NDP, Liberals, Greens, and Bloc, has been cancelled.

      Is it possible Thomas Mulcair has not considered the message this sends to young women and girls?  I find it incomprehensible that someone leading a ‘progressive party’ would renege on a commitment to a broad coalition of social justice and feminist organizations.  In the spirit of cooperation, I ask him to reconsider.

      Meanwhile, Up for Debate announced today that the NDP, Liberals, Greens, and Bloc have agreed to "explore an alternative debate format" in place of a live debate.

      The four party leaders will participate in one-on-one interviews on women's issues, which will be released on September 21 at Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre.

      “It may not be the debate we first imagined – but an alternative can get all party leaders speaking on the record to issues that matter to women. And it will still be the first time that happens in 30 years,” Up for Debate spokesperson Ann Decter said in a news release.



      ursa minor

      Aug 25, 2015 at 11:03am

      Stephen Hui - It's not a "flip-flop", Tom Mulcair made it clear from the outset of the campaign that he would not participate in any debate unless Stephen Harper was there. An election debate on women's issues cannot simply ignore the overriding issue of any election campaign: Should the current governing party be given another term? If no one represents the governing party, that's not a debate, it's an 'in absentia' bitch session.

      Elizabeth May needs to get over her self-righteous sense of entitlement, and her howling band of slacktivist supporters need to grasp that it's actual votes and Parliamentary seats, not Facebook 'likes' that determine that determines the gravitas of the national parties and their leaders. Pitching one-liners at those leaders in a televised debate you were only invited to as the result of collective guilt-tripping and false equivalence doesn't count either.

      The NDP is not going to change their position on a National Child Care program because Stephen Harper refused to debate his government's positions and plans on those issues. Of course that doesn't serve the narrative of Hui or the other Green supporters who would lose status as the holier-than-thou, Deep Ecology Lebensreformist vanguard if an NDP government made life better for women in Canada.

      Let the shrieking about "sexist" Tom Mulcair, a man who grew up with eight sisters and has repeatedly stood up in the House of Commons to defend Pay Equity, a Woman's Right to Choose, and demand a Full Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women, begin...

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      Aug 25, 2015 at 11:13am

      Is it possible that Mulcair is focussed on taking out Harper, rather than selfishly competing for votes with other center-left parties?

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      William Denis Guest

      Aug 25, 2015 at 11:34am

      Canada’s appalling treatment of its Indigenous Peoples from the north to south will not change without international pressure, as we have never been willing to. Canadian First Nations too often live in third world conditions while we spend tax dollars bombing those who act as we do. We are not exempt on issues of Crimes Against Humanity.

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      bill jones

      Aug 25, 2015 at 11:42am

      The debates should go on with Harper and Mulcair replaced by full size cartoon caricatures, or better yet any one of the large numbers of party members that would be happy to take their place whether der Leader likes it or not.

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      Aug 25, 2015 at 11:51am

      Mulcair has shown poor judgment on the debate file. Most people want anything but Harper, so just leave an empty chair for Harper and let us hear our options. The added bonus would be that the debate wouldn't be interrupted by the other leaders (quite correctly) calling Harper a liar every time he repeats a Con set piece.

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      Aug 26, 2015 at 8:05am

      It's politics that's behind May's 'outrage'.

      Mulcair by participating just gives May and Trudeau an opportunity to score some points while Harper, his main rival, does not have to account for and be challenged on his govt's record of cutbacks to women's services and his refusal to call an inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

      And btw, as May is so concerned on 'the message to young women and girls', the NDP has the most women candidates of all the parties.
      That's a pretty strong message.

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