Had enough of provincial politics yet? We are a month away from choosing our next provincial government and Peel residents have yet to hear the party leaders go head to head in a meaningful way to debate the serious challenges facing our region.
In Peel Region, 12 of the Province’s 124 seats are at stake. Ridings have been redrawn to match the federal riding boundaries with the result of no riding boundaries crossing Mississauga and Brampton. Many of the ridings currently have new, recently filled, or even unfilled party candidates. As late as this past Saturday, Doug Ford ousted controversial candidate Tanya Granic Allen in Mississauga Centre for Natalia Kusendova, a nurse who lives in the riding.
Our team at Brampton Focus has been working diligently over the past five weeks to entice all of the provincial party leaders to attend the ‘Peel Leaders Debate‘ on May 14th to address issues specific to our region’s 1.4 million residents. We committed to simulcasting the debate to all of the major social media platforms, opening the live stream to all of the media organizations in the region, and incorporating questions from the Mayors of Caledon, Mississauga and Brampton. The campaigns with the exception of the Green Party of Ontario eventually declined.
The campaigns have agreed to debate Toronto specific issues on Toronto media, again with the exception of the Green Party of Ontario which wasn’t invited.
Are we, a non-profit start-up media group disappointed? Sure we are. It would have been an opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of a dynamic live stream through multiple local media groups with content from Caledon, Mississauga and Brampton.
As a region, we are served by very few media organizations, no mainstream television channel and no mainstream radio programming. We are unaware of any other efforts to attract the party leaders to a regional debate. Perhaps the people that run the campaigns know a better way to garner votes than to get their leaders in front of voters. However, the rule of thumb that says 97% of votes are based on the party leader, and only 3% are based on the local candidate likely still holds true, especially when local candidates only have door to door knocking to rely on.
The May 14th Peel Leaders Debate live stream will continue as planned. The Green Party of Ontario’s leader, Mike Schreiner will be attending and discussing regional issues. Our invitation remains open to the other party leaders should their schedules free up and allow them to address Peel’s 1.4 million residents.
In the meantime, expect to see more fake news social media videos, attack ads, and media avoidance from the campaigns. In the unlikely scenario that a candidate actually shows up to your door, make sure to ask them the hard questions including who will pay for their promises or cuts.