Feds want feedback on changing leaders' debates
The debates are currently organized through discussions between the federal parties and a consortium of major broadcasters.
Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:33PM EST
OTTAWA – The federal government wants feedback from Canadians on creating an independent commission or commissioner to organize federal leaders' debates ahead of the 2019 election.
Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould has put out a call for the public to participate through an online form, between now and Feb. 9.
The form is an open-ended box that simply asks for "your input" and is contingent on the submitters approving their information to be included in the Privy Council Office’s summary of findings.
Gould is also holding roundtables across Canada to hear from various media, academic, and democracy stakeholders.
In a statement, Gould said the consultations will "inform policy decisions, with the goal of having an independent commission or commissioner in place in advance of the next federal election campaign."
She was mandated to propose options to create an independent commissioner to organize the debates during federal elections, "with a mandate to improve Canadians' knowledge of the parties, their leaders, and their policy positions."
In recent elections the federal leaders of political parties have faced off on live television, debating major policy issues and the finer points of their campaign pledges. The debates are currently organized through discussions between the federal parties and a consortium of major broadcasters. The formats of the debates often varied on the topics, setting, and sometimes, which parties participated.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been vocal about solidifying a spot in the federal debates. During the 2015 election May was left out of two of the formal leaders' debates.
The Procedure and House Affairs Committee has been studying creating an independent commissioner for political leaders’ debates since November. They’ve heard from nearly 30 witnesses so far.