International News Desk – At Home: Green Party demands place in TV debates – In Foreign News: Pakistan’s Prime Minister escapes possible assassination attempt

International News Desk – At Home: Green Party demands place in TV debates – In Foreign News: Pakistan’s Prime Minister escapes possible assassination attempt

At Home: Green Party demands place in TV debates

With an October federal election expected, there’s at least one topic already heating up in advance of the televised debates between party leaders.

The Green Party recently secured its first seat in Parliament, and they are ready to go to court to ensure they are included in the nationally broadcast debates.

Traditionally, participants in the debates are selected by the consortium of Canada’s largest English and French television networks: CBC/Radio-Canada, CTV, Global Television and TVA.

As former party leader Jim Harris told reporters, the Greens are giving the consortium ?the chance to do the right thing? and include party leader Elizabeth May in the debates.

?For the sake of democracy, she has to be included,? he said. ?Electors have a right to know where the Green party stands.?

Currently, the federal Conservatives are attempting to keep May from participating. As the CBC reports, Conservatives claim that May and Liberal leader Stéphane Dion struck a deal ?where they agreed not to run candidates against each other in their respective ridings,? effectively preventing May from taking part in the televised debates.

It’s been an accepted practice in the past for political parties to choose not to run a candidate against the leaders of a rival party.

That doesn’t necessarily mean May should be barred from the debates, however. In a 2006 report, the CBC ombudsman said that House of Commons representation is an ?indisputable? criterion for inclusion in the event. On August 30, Green Party leader Elizabeth May welcomed MP Blair Wilson to the party as the first Green Member of Parliament in Canada.

Other factors to be considered are the party’s performance at the polls, as well as its ability to have candidates in all 308 Canadian ridings. In the 2006 federal election, the Green Party won 4.5 per cent of the vote, and a recently released national poll shows them at nine per cent, while the Bloc Québécois (which is represented in the debates) is polling at eight per cent.

The Green Party is prepared to lodge a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) if they are not allowed to participate alongside the other parties.

In Foreign News: Pakistan’s Prime Minister escapes possible assassination attempt

Just days before key elections are to take place, Pakistan’s prime minister has escaped a possible attempt on his life. The Telegraph reports that the apparent assassination attempt against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani highlights ?the country’s instability ahead of presidential elections.?

There are conflicting reports, however, on whether Gilani was part of the motorcade that came under sniper fire while travelling the main highway between Islamabad and the nearby city of Rawalpindi, the garrison headquarters of the army.

Differing reports have also been offered by Zahid Bashir, the prime minister’s spokesman. In one account, he said the prime minister was not in the convoy when it was attacked, and that ?The prime minister is safe, by the grace of God.? However, Bashir had earlier said the prime minister was in the vehicle at the time.

Shortly before snipers attacked the motorcade, US soldiers had launched an ?unprecedented? commando raid in Pakistan’s border tribal areas. The helicopter-led raid targeted militants in those areas.

Whether the prime minister was in the convoy or not, Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the attack. In the past, they have ?repeatedly threatened to kill Pakistani politicians for supporting the US-led war on terror.?

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