Dates and venues for two election debates between federal party leaders have been set, but new and stricter regulations mean Bernier will likely miss out.
The leaders’ debates will be set for September 8th and 9th, whereby a group of media outlets will host one English and one French debate.
A French-language debate will be held on September 8th from 8-10pm EDT, and an English-language event will be held the next day from 9-11pm EDT. Both debates will take place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.
The Debate Broadcast Group was selected to produce the debates by the Leaders’ Debates Commission; the independent agency tasked with setting up two debates per election campaign.
— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) August 19, 2021
However, the commission announced criteria for the leaders’ participation in the events, stating that parties must either be represented in the House of Commons by at least one MP, have won at least 4% of the national vote in the 2019 election, or draw at least 4% of the national vote five days after the election is called (as demonstrated by public polling).
The Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and Greens all meet at least two of those requirements, but Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada will need to show it is receiving at least four per cent of public support in current polling if it wants to be represented in the two September events.
At time of writing, the PPC is only polling 2.6%.
Considering the debate is being hosted and produced by mainstream media, including the Liberal friendly CBC, it’s no wonder that rules have been set which effectively bar Bernier from participating.
The same story played out in September 2019 when the Leaders’ Debates Commission tried to prohibit Bernier’s participation because the PPC “didn’t have a legitimate chance to win more than one seat” – a ruling that was eventually overturned.
It will now be up to Bernier to prove to the Commission that the PPC is polling at least 4% with the Canadian public.
Regardless of your views surrounding debate entry requirements, there is certainly a chance that Bernier could retake the Beauce riding seat in this forthcoming election. That alone means the Canadian parliament will have (at least) one representative from the People’s Party of Canada.
If the PPC stand a chance of being elected to the House of Commons this September, it’s only right that the public should hear the views of its leader and decide for themselves whether he speaks for them. Let Bernier debate.
(Photo credit: Global News)