Views: Pre-Election Debate Underscores Fraud that Election Is “Free and Fair” —

On Monday, May 7, City TV televised an Ontario leaders’ debate featuring the leaders of the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP and the ruling Liberal Party. The debate was aired before the election was officially called on Wednesday, May 9. It was aired before any of the leaders were officially registered as candidates and to the exclusion of the other political parties that are running in the June 7 general election.

The decision of City TV to air a leaders’ debate before the official launch of the election campaign and its announcement that in tandem with Pollara Strategic Insights and Maclean’s magazine it will track the popularity of these three parties, illustrates contempt for a reasonable understanding of what constitutes “free and fair” elections.

All candidates and political parties must present themselves for election within a strictly controlled regulatory system. This gives rise to a notion that they are equal. Amongst other things, candidates are not supposed to incur any expenses, nor accept any contributions, until the day they are officially registered. They can face prosecution if they put out lawn signs before they are officially registered or if they accept even a $100 contribution too early. Third parties, comprised of individuals and organizations other than registered political parties and registered candidates, are also strictly regulated.

However, media corporations and polling companies are not considered “third parties” and, in the name of freedom of the press, they are allowed to do whatever election-related activities they want. They provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in free promotion for the cartel parties and set the agenda of what they call election issues. They deprive the people of peace of mind to think for themselves or consider what the society needs.

The holding of the City TV debate on the eve of the launch of the June 7 general election is an indication of the extent to which the fundamental and universally recognized democratic principles are trampled in the mud under the corrupt cartel-party dominated electoral system.

Anna Di Carlo, Ontario Political Forum