Canada: Voters deserve better on leaders’ debates - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaVoters deserve better on leaders’ debates

10:15  11 september  2019
10:15  11 september  2019 Source:   thestar.com

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier invited to two broadcast debates

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier invited to two broadcast debates OTTAWA — People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has secured an invitation Monday to two official leaders' debates in October. Bernier had previously been denied a chance to attend because the independent commission responsible for organizing the debates found his party did not have multiple candidates with a "legitimate chance" of being elected. But former governor general and current debates commissioner David Johnston gave the party more time to make its case for inclusion. And on Monday, Johnston said that given new evidence, the People's Party of Canada does in fact have a "reasonable chance" at winning multiple seats.

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Voters and taxpayers deserve to hold all four of these political parties accountable. Yet the televised leaders ’ debates , which serve as the main opportunity for voters to hear, compare, and contrast what these political parties have to offer, tend to only include three parties. This decision is made by media

Voters deserve better on leaders’ debates© Nathan Denette Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair before a debate in 2015.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When it comes to campaign debates, more is generally better than less. Let the leaders have it out. Let the chips fly and let the voters sort it out.

With that in mind, as both citizens and journalists we’d ideally like to see the federal party leaders take part in more than the three debates that are now scheduled for the election campaign that will officially kick off on Wednesday.

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier invited to two broadcast debates

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier invited to two broadcast debates OTTAWA — People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has secured an invitation Monday to two official leaders' debates in October. Bernier had previously been denied a chance to attend because the independent commission responsible for organizing the debates found his party did not have multiple candidates with a "legitimate chance" of being elected. 

Canadian leaders ' debates are leaders ' debates televised during federal elections in Canada, made up of two debates , one in French and one in English, usually held on back-to-back nights.

A leaders ' debate or presidential debate is a public debate held during a general election campaign, where the candidates expose their political opinions and public policy proposals, and criticism of them, to potential voters . They are normally broadcast live on radio, television and Internet.

But does Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau deserve all the criticism he’s getting for agreeing to those three and no more?

Not really.

Of course, as their opponents keep on pointing out, the Liberals are no doubt calculating that it’s to their political advantage to take part only in the debates they have agreed to — one in English and two in French.

Quelle surprise! A political party on the eve of a national campaign acting in its partisan interest. We’re shocked, shocked!

In fact, and inevitably, it has always been thus. Typically, whichever party sees itself as the frontrunner is reluctant to expose its leader to multiple debates. The challengers, meanwhile, are eager to debate anywhere, anytime. And all involved solemnly swear that they have only the public interest in mind. Only their nefarious opponents, they insist, are playing political games.

Don’t be afraid of including Maxime Bernier in debates

Don’t be afraid of including Maxime Bernier in debates Don’t be afraid of including Maxime Bernier in debates

Broadcaster calls for Leaders ’ Debate Commission, mirroring US body. Conservative leader ’s decision not to appear in Wednesday night’s BBC debate prompted attacks from all sides. Published: 10:13 AM.

Other leaders confirmed for the debate are Andrew Scheer of the Conservative Party, the NDP’s Jagmeet That was good for fifth place behind the NDP, which was polling at 15 per cent. 6, 2019): NDP leader Jagmeet Singh tries to woo Quebec voters . An NDP spokesman pointed out that Singh

The last time out, in 2015, it was the Harper Conservatives who sabotaged the long-established tradition of nationally televised debates in both official languages.

They refused to take part in debates organized by the “consortium” of broadcasters and opted instead to take part in a series of five events organized by various media outfits and other organizations. They calculated they could maximize their advantage by picking and choosing their spots.

Was that experience a triumph for democracy? Actually, no. Most of those debates weren’t broadcast nationally and the audience dropped by 60 per cent from the previous election in 2011, when the traditional format was followed. There were more events, in other words, but far fewer viewers.

What’s needed, at the very minimum, is a big national stage for the leaders to duke it out in front of a significant part of the electorate. So last year the Trudeau government set up a “Leaders’ Debates Commission,” chaired by former governor general David Johnston, with a mandate to organize two national debates, one in English and one in French.

Here’s what strategists say federal leaders need to convey to voters in Election 2019

Here’s what strategists say federal leaders need to convey to voters in Election 2019 All three strategists are connected to the federal war rooms of the parties in question. They'll be back next week to weigh in again on how the parties are doing.

But neither did it better inform voters ahead of the November election. Trump’s real challenge during the debate was to show that he had the level-headed temperament to be president. He’d need it with world leaders and in touchy commander-in-chief military moments.

Sky's petition for leaders ' debates has passed 100,000 signatures and will now be considered for debate in Parliament.

This it did, in partnership with nine media organizations (including Torstar, owner of the Star). Those debates will held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on Oct. 7 (in English) and Oct. 10 (in French).

All the national leaders will take part, although People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier won’t be included because he didn’t meet the requirements set out by the commission.

This at least ensures there will be full-scale national debates in both official languages. It undoes the damage done four years ago when the Conservatives unilaterally ended that tradition.

But, political parties being what they are, it certainly hasn’t ended another long-established tradition — using leaders’ debates to jockey for advantage in an election campaign.

All the parties, for example, had an understanding with the Johnston’s debates commission that they would not go off on their own and take part in other events. The idea was that would simply revive the partisan squabbling over who was willing to debate who, when and where.

But as we can see, that understanding didn’t hold. All the parties are doing whatever they think will give them an edge.

Greens’ leader urges other parties to boycott French debate that excludes her

Greens’ leader urges other parties to boycott French debate that excludes her The Greens are calling it a violation of the"democratic principle of full and fair debate on election issues" and demanding that TVA "respect the inclusion criteria established by the Leaders' Debates Commission." The Green Party currently holds two seats in the House of Commons. One seat was won in the 2015 general election. The other was won in a byelection in May. Both Green MPs are from B.C. This is not the first time May has not been invited to an election debate. In 2015, she was excluded from at least three major election debates.

Editorial: The presidential election has seen more mudslinging than serious debate . But vote -rigging and violence are the immediate concerns.

The people deserve a better quality debate . Please give our Entrepreneurs a genuine outlook and facts on the economy; prosperity; jobs; trade; and the British people, including many Small & Medium Business owners & Entrepreneurs will reward you by taking time out of their precious, busy working

The Conservatives, NDP and Greens have agreed to have their leaders take part in two other debates, one organized by Maclean’s and Citytv and the other on foreign policy put on by the Munk Debates.

Trudeau won’t take part in those events, prompting his rivals to accuse the Liberals of ducking their democratic responsibility. But he has agreed to a second French-language debate sponsored by the private TVA network, presumably because he sees that as a way to strengthen Liberal support in Quebec.

Everyone, in other words, is acting just as you’d expect: in their own interests.

There is a way to find a better solution, one where the interests of voters, not politicians, are put first. If not for this election, then for the next.

Johnston’s debates commission was asked specifically to organize just two leaders’ debates, but he was also asked to submit a report suggesting how the process could be improved. And there’s nothing to stop him from recommending more debates — say, two in each official language.

Canada’s federal campaigns are relatively short, but five to seven weeks is certainly long enough for four nationally televised, full-scale leaders’ debates. If that became the minimum requirement set by the official debate commission it would be a lot harder for any leader to avoid showing up without paying a big political price.

Johnston would do everyone a service by raising the bar on debates. Voters deserve no less.

The case for (some) Max Bernier in the commission debates.
Stephen Maher: By meeting the organizer's threshold, the PPC leader earned his ticket—but it shouldn't extend to equal air time on our TVs as the frontrunners

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