Screw job? New Blue Party excluded from Ontario leaders' debate

While the leaders of the PCs, Liberals, New Democrats and the Green Party were getting ready to debate inside a TV Ontario studio last Monday, outside the broadcast facility, Jim Karahalios, the leader of the New Blue Party of Ontario, was mightily miffed.

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Indeed, Karahalios, who is running in the riding of Kitchener-Conestoga, took to his own makeshift podium upon a section of Yonge Street sidewalk to deliver a press conference for all who cared to listen. The subject du jour: how he and his party had been screwed by the “media consortium” due to being excluded from the leaders' debate.

As Karahalios noted, the criteria for being invited to the debate was that the party had to have a candidate running in every provincial riding and have at least one elected MPP. At first blush it would seem that the New Blue Party qualified given that this party has a full slate of candidates and that Jim’s wife, Belinda Karahalios, is running for re-election in the riding of Cambridge.

But as always, the devil is in the details. Karahalios was subsequently informed by the organizers that the elected MPP had to have won his or her seat under the current political banner they are running under (Belinda Karahalios won her seat in 2018 as a Progressive Conservative.) Why this matters so much is truly baffling.

As well, Karahalios pointed out that the Liberal Party of Ontario does not have a candidate in every riding. Therefore, going by the nitty-gritty rules, why wasn’t Liberal leader Steven Del Duca also disqualified? Karahalios answered his own query by noting that the media consortium makes up the rules as they go along (and truly, that’s what it does seem like to outside observers.)

In any event, it looks to us that Karahalios should’ve had a place at the debate – especially since TV Ontario is not a private facility, but rather, completely funded by Ontario taxpayer dollars. So, the question arises: why were the organizers so downright terrified to allow Jim Karahalios take part? Perhaps due to his propensity to raise points that the political and media elites find impolite and uncomfortable.


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