April 20, 2011: Dennis Lewycky (NDP), Ilona Niemczyk (Liberal) and Jacqueline Romanow (Green) at a Federal Election Forum on the Environment at the First Universalist Unitarian Church in Winnipeg. Photo: Paul S. Graham

If the state of our environment is a defining issue for you in this Canadian federal election, you must be disappointed at the scant, superficial mainstream media coverage to date. Despair no more.

I attended an “all-candidates” forum on the environment in Winnipeg last night (April 20, 2011), and posted a two hour video on YouTube to redress this portion of our democratic deficit. (For other insightful creations, go to http://youtube.com/redriverpete – but I digress.)

The phrase “all candidates” sits between inverted commas because the Conservative Party, true to form, chose not to participate. The Bloc Quebecois was not invited, understandably, because it is not running in Winnipeg (or elsewhere outside of Quebec). Other parties were excluded because they are not running candidates in all ridings.

Nonetheless, representatives of the Greens, the NDP and the Liberals were there. All gave good accounts of their respective parties’ positions. The questions put by the organizers were challenging in substance and comprehensive in scope. Panelists and audience members addressed each other intelligently, thoughtfully and respectfully. In short, it was an informative, educational evening, refreshingly free of the rhetorical bombast that passes for political discourse in this era of spin doctors and attack ads.

The candidates were:

The forum was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church and moderated by CJOB Radio’s morning talk show host Richard Cloutier. It was sponsored by:

Grab some non-GM popcorn if you can find some, kick back and enjoy. And don’t forget to share this with friends and family, because it may be one of the few opportunities they will have to compare the environmental positions of three of the four main parties running across Canada. As for the Tories, the silent empty chair on the stage pretty much illustrates their environmental platform.

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