PPC leader Maxime Bernier invited to participate in leaders' debate after all

Sep 16 2019, 11:35 am

Maxime Bernier, the federal leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), has been invited to attend the two official leaders’ debates next month.

On Monday, Debates Commissioner David Johnston issued Bernier an official invitation participate in the debates on October 7 and 10.

To be eligible to participate in the debates, leaders must fulfil two out of three criteria required by the Commission’s mandate.

These include:

  • At the time the general election in question is called, the party is represented in the House of Commons by a Member of Parliament who was elected as a member of that party;
  • The Debates Commissioner considers that the party intends to endorse candidates in at least 90% of electoral districts in the general election in question; and
  • The party’s candidates for the most recent general election received at that election at least 4% of the number of valid votes cast or, based on the recent political context, public opinion polls and previous general election results, the Debates Commissioner considers that candidates endorsed by the party have a legitimate chance to be elected in the general election in question.

Last month, the Commission announced Bernier only satisfied one criterion (“intends to endorse candidates in at least 90% of electoral districts in the general election in question”) and he was not invited to join the debates.

Johnston noted this was a “preliminary assessment” and invited the PPC to make further submissions no later than September 9.

Today, Johnston acknowledged the PPC has fulfilled two of the criteria.

“Based on our further evaluation, I’m satisfied that more than one candidate endorsed by the party has a reasonable chance to be elected,” he said.

“With the benefit of more recent information, I am of the view that the PPC has attracted a significant number of party members, has established a notable presence in the media and on the political landscape and, based on recent polling data, has achieved a reasonable chance of success in more than one riding. All of these factors together enable the PPC to satisfy two of the criteria established in our Order in Council.”

In a video statement posted on Twitter, Bernier said he was “very pleased” with Johnston’s decision.

“That was the right decision. Half of Canadians wanted to hear from us. And Canadians will be able to look at all the options and I can tell you that the People’s Party is a real national party with serious reforms that needs to be done for a freer and a more prosperous country. See you soon. Thank you.”

The official English-language debate is set to take place on October 7, from 7 pm to 9 pm ET., and the official French-language debate is scheduled for October 10, from 8 pm to 10 pm ET.

Both debates will be held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec in front of a live audience.

The 2019 official debates are produced by the Canadian Debate Production Partnership, which includes:

  • CBC News
  • Radio-Canada
  • Global News
  • CTV News
  • Toronto Star and Torstar chain
  • HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Québec
  • La Presse
  • Le Devoir
  • L’Actualité

The debates will be also widely distributed on television, radio, digital and social streaming platforms on the networks apart of the partnership to ensure Canadians are well informed prior to exercising their right to vote.

With files from Rumneek Johal. 

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