NDP leader stifles democracy … again

TORONTO, ONTARIO – October 7, 2008 –Jack Layton, who only four weeks ago tried to deny the people of Canada the opportunity to see and hear Elizabeth May in the televised leaders’ debates, is again attempting to stifle democracy by refusing the attend his own all-candidate’s debate.

“It’s supposed to be the New Democractic Party”, says Toronto-Danforth Green Party candidate Sharon Howarth.  “It’s like Jack thinks that democracy is safe in his hands and need not be exercised by the people he is supposed to represent as Member of Parliament.  I’m appalled.”

“We arranged then rearranged then rearranged again this all-candidates’ debate in order to accommodate Mr. Layton’s schedule”, says Howarth’s campaign manager, Mary Ann Grainger.  “We cancelled a debate he wasn’t able to attend so that there would just be this one that he would attend.  It wasn’t until Anrew Lang’s (Liberal candidate) campaign manager, Keith Cooper, found a notice on the NDP candidate from North Vancouver Island’s web site which announced that Jack would be in BC on the same day as his own debate that we started asking questions.  That was Saturday afternoon.

“Jack Layton’s own constituency office didn’t know what was going on,” says Grainger.   “It wasn’t until the organizer, Suzy Glass, contacted someone higher up in the NDP that they confirmed that he wouldn’t be at his own debate.  That was late Monday (yesterday) afternoon.  How rude is that.  Not just to the other candidates, but to the organizers as well as the people.”

“I believe that the people of Toronto-Danforth have the right to question their MP directly,” says Howarth.  “How dare Jack Layton treat people this way.”

The all-candidates’ debate is proceeding as scheduled TONIGHT [now past], Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 8-10pm at Riverdale Collegiate, corner of Gerrard and Jones in the Toronto-Danforth riding.

For further information, please contact:

Mary Ann Grainger
Campaign Manager
Sharon Howarth, Green Party, Toronto-Danforth

Mr. Keith Cooper of the Andrew Lang campaign is also available for comment at 416-463-8378

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