It’s Saskatchewan’s Election Day

I basically stopped writing about the Saskatchewan election on my blog following the hair pulling, anti-democratic decision by CBC and its consortium of TV broadcasters to block most party leaders from debating with Wall and Broten. So we’ll go another 4 years not knowing how those two shouty leaders behave when there are adults in the room with different political views and preferred methods of governing.

The campaign will not be memorable, as the media’s skewing of coverage can be summed up this way:

You could say the conservative media got what they set out to preserve. I hope they enjoy the next 4 years of more scandals and little positive change.

#PCloadLetter The Ontario PCs Send Misdirecting Mail #VoteOn

(PC Load Letter is from printer displays of the past, and the comedy Office Space. It indicates the paper tray is empty. It was the best pun I could come up with on short notice.)

Looks like a blatant vote misdirection scheme, akin to RoboCon used by the federal Conservatives in the last general election. One of the Conservative campaigns, in Guelph, is under scrutiny in court right now.

More Debates – Press Release

I sent this to various Saskatchewan media yesterday. It appeared in part in the Star Phoenix and Leader Post.

This province has had its laws constructed and maintained over the last 20 years by the NDP (coalition w/Liberals), and Sask Party. To exclude other parties from the debate on TV is to only give the status quo a voice. This is inherently unfair, and undemocratic. The professor quoted in the newspaper story is referring to numbers of past elections. This election campaign is about the future. You can’t base debate criteria on the past, when an election is to determine the leaders and opposition of tomorrow.

Protest for More Debates on TV

Regina, Saskatchewan – October 13, 2011 – CBC and other broadcasters colluding to hold one televised election debate, are being anti-democratic, according to Regina citizen John Klein. Klein is a blogger, a Green Party of Saskatchewan member, and IT professional who has again organized a small, short, and sweet protest to be held in front of CBC Regina on Broad St. on Friday October 14, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“I want there to be more debates, not fewer debaters,” repeats Klein, “because that’s how democracies thrive, by informing their citizens so intelligent choices can be made on good information.” The CBC Ombudsman agreed earlier this year that CBC is not aligning its debate airings with its role as the public broadcaster, in a similar erroneous debate decision made nation-wide. Despite the Broadcast Consortium’s attempts to keep Elizabeth May off the air, she was subsequently elected, contradicting those who said Canadians didn’t want to hear from a party with no seats at the formation of the previous government.

Earlier this year, NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter wrote in the Leader-Post that he’s in favour of “inclusive debates”. Lingenfelter, and Klein both want more debates to be held, not exclusion of debaters for the broadcasters’ convenience. Ryan Bater, Victor Lau, Rick Swenson, and even Dana Arnason deserve equal opportunity to defend their parties’ ideas for voters to decide upon. “An invited politician should not have to threaten to boycott an unfairly scripted debate, for the people of Saskatchewan to get the hours of TV exposure they need with the party leaders, to make an informed choice on election day,” says Klein

– 30 –

Last time I had to do this, it was April, and it was a beautiful Spring evening. I hope you’ll be able to join me for a short, repetitive, but fun walk in front of CBC on Friday evening. Dress warmly, and we’ll walk/cycle/car pool over to a pub afterward.

More Debates – PROTEST!

October 14, 2011 Friday 5:30 p.m. in front of CBC Saskatchewan, Broad St., Regina, SK
More Debates, Not Fewer Debaters

Help me take back control of our political system from media executives who pre-package our political choices. Democracy belongs to the people, not to CBC, CTV, or Global big-wigs. If Link or Yens and other NDP candidates show up to the More Debates protest, they’ll be wresting control out of the hands of media conglomerates by pressuring the media to bow to public demand. Lingenfelter has a trump card (boycott), but is he willing to stand by his earlier words in favour of fair and open debates, and use it?

Mr. Lloyd suggests:

The problem is that if Link boycotts the debate, the media vultures will spin the narrative that he is “afraid” of Wall – which is clearly not the case. I sincerely hope your efforts to make this an issue are successful, so that the media themselves start asking Link if he will boycott so that he can do it without looking scared of Wall.

The absurd irony is that I, one man, am expected to convince the huge media organizations that created this injustice, to put questions to a public figure, so that he can keep up appearances with the injustice-makers, and back out of their phoney baloney staged debate.

Aren’t I supposed to be eaten by a lion next? A little help would be nice.
Give me a little help, please. It’s not for me, it’s for democracy.

The Leader-Post has since removed this article written by NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter:

Let’s Have Inclusive Debates
By Dwain Lingenfelter, The Leader-Post April 6, 2011

I would like to correct some misimpressions about my position on provincial political debates that may have been left by Murray Mandryk’s April 1 column. First, I’m not sure how I can sound like someone backing away from a one-on-one debate since in Saskatchewan there’s been no such challenge, just tweeting from the premier about possible formats.

Second, I believe Mandryk confuses public policy with political strategy by criticizing my rejection of Brad Wall’s idea of limiting the leaders’ exchange to segregated, two-tier debates. Asked by reporters, I said there were two ways to approach provincial election debates: what’s in the political parties’ interest, and what’s in the public’s interest.

Taking the latter approach, I prefer an open, inclusive series of debates to Wall’s segregated, two-tier scheme. I can’t see how that’s bad policy.

I don’t believe in pre-judging the next election or in segregating some parties into a single “Tier-2” debate that fewer people watch because the premier told them its participants’ views are less important than his.

I’ve suggested multiple debates in various regions, with the public submitting questions to all the major parties. I’ve also said the process for deciding who participates should be as open as possible. And, as I’ve made clear to other members of the media, I would be fine with the concept of a one-on-one debate (between Wall and myself) so long as there had been a series of debates involving all the party leaders prior to it.

I made these suggestions because I believe they reflect good public policy, and, as far as I’m concerned, good public policy is always good political strategy for the NDP.

The real question for the premier is why he thinks it’s in his strategic interest to avoid facing some leaders in debate.


Lingenfelter is leader of the NDP Opposition in Saskatchewan.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post


It’s no coincidence that October 15th, the day after our protest outside of CBC, is Occupy Regina. The Occupy Wall Street protests are for the restoration of the Rule of Law, and seeing that the 1% wealthiest who own and control so much of our political and media systems do not go unpunished when they step over clear lines of greed, fraud, and corruption of our great countries.

Debate Injustice

It’s going to be a busy week for protesting injustice. On Saturday the Occupy Regina protest is underway, and now on Friday evening I’m again organizing a protest in front of CBC. Last time was for the federal election’s anti-democratic debate format that excluded (subsequently elected) Green Party leader Elizabeth May from the Broadcast Consortium’s TV debates. This time it’s happened in Saskatchewan to the roughly 1/9 voters who according to last election results wanted to hear voices other than just the NDP and Sask Party leaders talk about their plans for the province.

Write the CBC Ombudsman.

The media consortium of CBC, Global, and CTV, who for some inexplicable reason collude to hold only one televised debate on their networks, have decided that Saskatchewan needs a two party debate. Despite there being only 6 registered parties, and three parties always having been included previously, the Sask Liberals were dropped and the Sask Greens (who are running a full slate of candidates this time) were not asked to the debate.

Many excuses will be thrown around for why it’s better to silence so many peoples’ voices. All you have to know is that unelected, anti-democratic forces are choosing who you’re allowed to hear from on the TV you trust to be unbiased and open to the political leaders of the future. Do not let this injustice stand any longer. Join me on Friday evening 5:15 p.m. in front of CBC Regina on Broad St. Dress warmly, bring a sign, and we’ll wave at the passing cars as they go home to watch news provided by media that needs to re-evaluate if they are working for us, or for the 1% that are the subject of Occupy Wall Street protests around North America.

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