June 17, 2024
Trudeau is gaming the election debate system, just like Harper before him
Justin Trudeau has been accused of being too afraid to attend all the debates in the upcoming federal election.
Justin Trudeau has been accused of being too afraid to attend all the debates in the upcoming federal election.

Explaining why the prime minister would not participate in the full schedule of leaders’ debates this election campaign, as he had in 2015, Liberal director of communications Daniel Lauzon said his leader would only show up for debates organized by the federal Leaders’ Debates Commission — the one designed and implemented by the Liberals.

“The commission,” he elaborated, “was established after the last election where the governing party tried to game the system.” That much is true. For tactical reasons, Stephen Harper refused to take part in what was then the “official” English-language debate, the one overseen by a cabal of broadcasters known as “the Consortium,” in favour of a hodge-podge of different debates with different sponsors, different platforms — and much smaller audiences.

But it’s scarcely better for his successor to game the system in the opposition direction, using the official debates as an excuse to ditch the others. Even the pretext proved disposable: hardly had the party issued its commission-debates-only rationalization for stiffing the Maclean’s and Munk debates (full disclosure: I am a member of the Munk Debates advisory board), when it was announced Justin Trudeau would participate in a French-language debate organized by Quebec’s TVA network.

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See Also:

(1) Liberal candidate loves Castro, just like Trudeau

(2) Thursday’s debate is Jagmeet Singh’s chance to turn it around

(3) Perhaps the MMIW inquiry came to its conclusions before it even started

(4) The latest 338Canada projection: The Liberals’ uncomfortable lead

(5) Trudeau’s future hinges on known unknowns

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