The Role of the “Leaders’ Debates” in Confounding What Is at Stake in this Election
– Hilary LeBlanc –
Before the holding of the so-called leaders’ debates on October 7 and 10, Canadians are nonplussed about what distinguishes the parties vying to form the next government. Will the “leaders’ debates” enlighten them? Not at all. Canadians are sure to be even more nonplussed after the debates than they are now. This is because they are exclusionary, present no alternative and have nothing to do with what matters to the people.
The “leaders’ debates” are said to be the epitome of our democracy — the expression of its substance. This is because people allegedly become informed about what each party stands for so they can exercise an “informed vote” on October 21 and during advance polling, which begins the day after the final debate. In this way, the electoral system is said to have fulfilled its democratic mission of ensuring people can exercise their right to chose the next government.
The people are reduced to a role of spectators to an exclusionary debate in which a media consortium chooses the questions it declares are the concerns of the “man on the street.” The farce is such it is no wonder that confidence in what are called the democratic institutions is at an all time low. Nobody really believes the present electoral process confers a mandate on whatever party or coalition of parties forms the next government. Despite this, the parties forming the cartel party system together with the monopoly-controlled media persist in suggesting what they say during their campaigns is meaningful and sincere and not a cynical ploy designed to confound the issues and permit a winner to be declared that has a mandate to do whatever it wants.
Whereas a democracy is generally understood to be an inclusive sort of thing that constitutes the rule of the majority, the debates are exclusionary of anything that could possibly represent the majority, starting with the definition of what are called leaders and what the media consortium determines are the “issues.” This all flows seamlessly from the same neo-liberal and anti-social agenda of the nation-wrecking and warmongering ruling elite and their cartel parties and media.
The cartel parties are steered by a cabal of election agencies and marketing firms and other private interests of like kind whose aim is very narrow — to make money for themselves, come out on top of their rival and ensure the status quo of a system that pays the rich stays in place. They determine the “questions” for the debates, the answers, the format and the invited participants. The cabal determines who is “legitimate” and allowed in, and who is “illegitimate” and excluded. So much for democracy of the majority.
The desperation of the ruling class to form a party government that will carry on implementing its neo-liberal agenda is no less in this election than any other occasion. Faced with slim pickings, they are gearing up to pull out all the stops so that one of its champions pulls ahead and this is what the so-called leaders’ debates are all about. It is happening at a time the people are disgusted with the performance of all the parties which form governments to pay the rich.
Exclusionary debates and incessant media coverage of the cartel parties are coupled with pernicious and vicious attempts to divide the people on every conceivable basis. This includes Quebec bashing, bashing of Albertans, manipulation of matters related to identity based on every conceivable consideration including religion, nationality, gender, beliefs, aspirations, lifestyle and so on. Nothing is beyond their reach so long as discussion is taboo on the actual conditions of life itself and the social and natural environment, on the need for democratic renewal and to establish an anti-war government by getting Canada out of NATO and NORAD and ending big power interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations that has the intention to bring people to their knees and achieve regime change.
Everything is done to make sure the people have no voice. The people persist in rejecting the anti-social offensive with strikes and other actions. They oppose the destruction of manufacturing jobs, the pillage of the natural resources and the undermining of social programs and the public services on which so many Canadians depend. The people despise schemes to destroy social programs and the social fabric so as to pay the rich. But a deafening silence is imposed on this striving of the workers and people for empowerment and the election and “leaders’ debates” play a big role in covering up the silence.
Any suggestion that the “leaders’ debates” bring clarity to the people so that they can cast an informed vote or the electoral process brings to power representatives of the people is seen as a bad joke. The “leaders’ debates” to be held on October 7 and 10 will once again present fictional accounts of what the people want and how they can achieve it by voting for this or that cartel party. The MLPC calls on workers, women and youth to speak with their own minds and in their own name to express their concerns and what they want at this time for this country and the world. Speaking with your own voice is the necessary starting point.