Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It Shouldn't Be This Hard!

Today, I got off my duff and decided that I would write a letter to whomever deserved it to present my arguments as to why the Green Party should be included in the Leaders Debates. You might think that this would be the work of a moment, particularly as the Green Party has a petition on their website to collect the names of people such as me, at the end of which you are asked to personalize a letter on the topic and send it off.

However, the Green Party letter is addressed to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and was so indirect and long-winded as to her role/responsibility for the topic, that I decided she obviously wasn’t the best person to contact. Another article on the Green website described the “broadcast consortium” that makes these decisions, and identifies one of the participants, but provided no hint to start me on my search for contact information.

Hence, my search. I worked my way through the Green Party website, the Elections Canada website, and in fact the CBC website without any success in finding information on this topic. Not even the teeniest little bit of information. So, I picked up my phone, and called Elections Canada.

They set me straight – it is the broadcasters who set the rules for the debate, so it is the broadcasters I should be contacting. However, I still think that the Elections Canada website would be a stronger resource if it posted that information, particularly since the dates of the debates have already been chosen, and I’m sure that somebody knows who the participating broadcasters are.

{side note: I would have sent a quick comment to Elections Canada on that topic, but can you believe that they don't have a single email address available for citizens to send comments to? did we slip back to the stone age while I wasn't looking?}

So I went back to the CBC website, and decided to phone them. The first person I spoke to had no idea, beyond knowing that the decision was made by a broadcast consortium, but she helpfully transferred me to Audience Relations. The guy at audience relations didn’t know either, though he was able to identify the one named person, Peter Kent, as the Deputy-Editor of Global Television News. He was busy searching through his email when technical difficulties intervened and I was disconnected.

Rather than going through the hassle of calling back, I've now submitted an electronic comment with my questions. I don't expect it to come to much, but we'll see.

At this point I had the bright idea of typing “Broadcast Consortium leadership debate” into Google, and here I struck gold. Buried a few lines down, was a media release from CBC Radio Canada. Of course, it still didn’t have any useful information about the composition of the broadcast consortium, but it did have contact information for the Director of Public Relations & Operations at CBC/Radio Canada. Since it happened to be a local call, I’ve now left a message on his answering machine. I’ll keep you posted if I get a response.


Blogger JennyDR said...

Hi A, I can only say I share your frustrations! I took our kids out to The Village today. Poverty personified! Now try to find a politician to help. It is easier to search the chicken coop for hen’s teeth! But hang in there and keep at it. My only concern is the “Green Party”! Heart’s in the right place, but not a lot of political savey. Love you. You know who.

4:53 p.m.  

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