CRTC wants Green explanation from broadcasters


OTTAWA and TORONTO - It's not easy being Green, especially when being shunned by Canada's major broadcasters.

The environment-focused Green Party, which never makes much of a dent in election results, wants into the televised debates happening during the ongoing Ontario provincial election campaign, but their fringe status has led organizers of the upcoming televised debates to leave Green's leader off the air.

The party complained to the Commission which, in turn, has given the television consortium hosting the televised leaders debates a deadline of tomorrow at 5 p.m. to respond to complaints.

"The CRTC has asked that the seven broadcasters (CBC, CanWest Global, CTV, CHUM Television, TV Ontario, CPAC and OMNI-TV) explain why they are refusing to allow the Green Party to participate in the leaders debates that will be televised Sept. 23," says the Green Party press release.

"Over 60 per cent of Ontario voters want to see Green Party Leader Frank de Jong included in the televised leaders debate, including 62 per cent of Liberal, 61 per cent of New Democrat and 55 per cent of PC voters, according to a recent survey by Oraclepoll Research," says the statement.

"Only one third of voters (33 per cent) agreed that the PC's, Liberals and NDP are focusing in on the issues important to them as voters. And a staggering 46 per cent don't like their choice of Tory, Liberal or NDP."

The Green Party of Ontario is running in all 103 ridings in the provincial elections, but the party's issues are not being heard, despite the fact that for the first time ever, every voter in Ontario will have the opportunity to vote Green.

"This is a clear indication of just how serious the CRTC is taking the refusal of this consortium of television stations to allow the Green Party to take part in this very important democratic exercise," said deputy party leader Peter Elgie, in that release.

"It illustrates the concern all voters should have about not having access to the kind of information needed to make informed decisions about this election."

The CRTC has also asked that the stations provide details of what television coverage they have given the Green Party. The stations have been asked by the CRTC to respond by 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18. The Green Party will have until Friday at 1 p.m. to reply to the broadcasters' responses at which time the CRTC will give its decision in respect to the complaint.

In its letter to the broadcasters dated Sept. 17, 2003, the CRTC said: "Please provide a full response to this complaint and inform us as to what programming has been provided to the Green Party of Ontario on your station.

"Due to the fact that the debate will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2003, please file your response with the commission, serving a copy to the complainant, By 5:00 pm, Thursday, September 18, 2003."

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