44th General Election
So-Called Leaders’ Debates in Full Swing
The first televised so-called leaders’ debate will be held tonight on the Quebec-based TVA station. The two-hour program airs at 8:00 pm ET. It will include the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Bloc Québécois. The Green Party is excluded from the TVA debate because criteria for participation is exclusionary. Besides other things, it requires that a party have at least one Quebec seat in the House of Commons.
The two national “Leaders’ Debates” organized by the government-funded Leaders’ Debate Commission are scheduled for next week, to be staged from the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. The French debate is set for September 8 between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET. The English debate is scheduled for September 9, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET.
The cartel parties approved a $4.6 million budget for the Commission to organize the two shows. An additional $800,000 was allocated for the Commission to do “the necessary preparatory work” in the pre-election period, bringing the total to $5.4 million. Preparatory work included a phony consultation process on inclusion criteria to create the impression that the criteria is not exclusionary and to hide who decides and in whose interests the debates are held. What is certain is that they do not help to deliver on the right of Canadians to an informed vote.
Radio-Canada’s Patrice Roy is expected to moderate the French debate, with the assistance of Hélène Buzzetti of Les coops de l’information, Guillaume Bourgault-Côté of L’actualité, La Presse‘s Paul Journet and Marie Vastel of Le Devoir. Noovo Info’s Noémi Mercier is also expected to moderate segments that include questions asked by Canadian citizens.
Angus Reid Institute President Shachi Kurl is expected to moderate the English debate, alongside Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson, CBC News’ Rosemary Barton, Evan Solomon of CTV News and APTN News’ Melissa Ridgen.
According to the press release issued by an entity called the Debate Broadcast Group, “debate topics will be unveiled three days before each event takes place. It will be simultaneously translated into American Sign Language, Lange des signes québécoise, and six Indigenous languages.” OMNI Television will live translate in Arabic, Cantonese, Italian, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Tagalog.
As to who is “invited” to participate, Leaders’ Debates Commissioner David Johnston announced in June that “by the date of the election, each candidate’s party must be represented in the House of Commons by an elected MP, have won at least four per cent of the national vote during the last federal election, or can show that it would garner four per cent of the national vote within five days after the federal election date is set, which can be measured through public opinion polling.”
The election was announced on August 15. Five days after the election was called was August 20, ten days before the close of nominations. Polling companies must have carried reports that day which told Canadians who would get more than four per cent of the vote and deserved a seat at the table. There is a suggestion that what polling companies say represents public opinion. This is hogwash. It certainly does not translate into providing Canadians with their right to cast an informed vote.