I don’t know about other districts, but the democratic process in the riding of Toronto-Centre has been high jacked by some of the organizations who organize debates for the candidates. Ironically they still call it an "All Candidates Debate."
I am running as an independent candidate in Toronto Centre. I don’t receive invitations to debates. When I attempt to contact the organizers and request that I be included, they often don’t respond to my first call, message, or e-mail. When I am finally able to connect with them, they reject my attendance – offering whatever excuses they can muster.
When I complain about their unfair process, they treat me like a charity. They suggest that I be permitted to distribute my campaign pamphlets before or after their session. These organizers:
- deprive the candidates; and
- do injustice to the electorate by limiting their choices to the candidates from the mainstream Parties.
In the last two days my request to participate in an all candidates debate has been refused by Mr. Jim Purdie of the Fair Vote Toronto Chapter, and Doug Fisher of the Cabbagetown BIA. I have left messages for TV and radio stations, and received no answer.
An Independent Candidate has enough challenges from: finding an official agent and auditor, and collecting signatures. This is all done with extremely limited resources for promotion.
In my opinion any organizer of all candidates debate who fails to send an invitation to all of the official candidates in their riding, is in violation of the spirit of the democratic voting process, under the Election Act. A gathering of the friends of the mainstream Parties, should be treated as a private meeting, and not as an "All Candidates Meeting" in a Federal Election.