TORONTO — All party leaders invited to participate in two official election debates have confirmed their attendance in the events, which will be moderated by some of Canada’s top journalists.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet have agreed to debate each other in English and French, the Canadian Debate Production Partnership (CDPP) announced Tuesday.
The English debate on Oct. 7 will be led by:
Each moderator will guide a distinct section of the debate.
The French event on Oct. 10, will be moderated by Patrice Roy from Radio-Canada, and feature journalists from Le Devoir, Le Soleil, La Presse and L’Actualité.
This year’s debates, held more than a week before the election on Oct. 21, will be located at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., which overlooks the Ottawa River across from Parliament Hill.
It is a “meaningful and beautiful space” to hold the debates, said Jennifer McGuire of the CDPP, because the museum’s purpose is to “enhance Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of the events, experiences, people and objects that shape Canada’s identity.”
But the debate lineup is not fully final as the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) has started an online petition calling for its leader Maxime Bernier to participate in the debates.
Former governor general David Johnston and current commissioner of the Leaders’ Debates Commission told Bernier he wouldn’t be invited because the party does not have an MP who was elected under the People’s Party banner.
“It won’t be a real debate if I’m not there,” Bernier told supporters Sunday. “It will be a phoney discussion where they attack each other on their superficial differences.”
Johnston’s ruling is not set in stone as he has asked the PPC to identify three to five ridings where it thinks it can win. Bernier told reporters that his party doesn’t poll and he has no intention of providing Johnston with such a list before week’s end.
The CDPP is comprised of HuffPost Canada, HuffPost Québec, CTV News, CBC News, Radio-Canada, Global News, the Toronto Star and Torstar, La Presse, Le Devoir and L’Actualité.
The participation of HuffPost Canada means that, for the first time, a digital-only news organization is part of the production group for the leaders’ debates.
Michel Cormier, executive director of the debates commission, has said that the debates’ goal is to present information in an “unmediated and undistorted fashion” to ensure Canadians are able to make an informed decision at the polls.
“Come election day, that will be better for democracy,” Cormier said.
The debates will be broadcast in additional languages, including Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Italian, plus a number of Indigenous languages. American sign language, Québec sign language, closed captioning and described video will also be available.
“This, for us, is very important,” Cormier said.
With files from The Canadian Press
Earlier on HuffPost: