OTTAWA—The Star’s Susan Delacourt is among five journalists who will moderate the official English-language debate during the upcoming federal election campaign.
The Ottawa bureau chief, author and columnist will join CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Global’s Dawna Friesen, CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme and Huffington Post reporter Althia Raj to guide different sections of the debate, according to the group of media companies comprising the Canadian Debate Production Partnership.
The debate will take place Oct. 7 at the Canadian Museum of History, across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill. Three days later, on Oct. 10, the same group of media companies will host the official French debate in the same venue.
All five leaders invited to the debates—Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet—have confirmed they will attend both events, the partnership announced this week.
The nine media organizations that comprise the debate production partnership—including Torstar, the owner of the Toronto Star—were tasked with organizing the events after the Liberal government created a new agency called the Leaders’ Debates Commission.
The commission, headed by former governor general David Johnston, was tapped to organize two debates during the election and to determine which party leaders are eligible to participate.
On Aug. 12, the commission revealed that it would not invite People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to the debates because his party doesn’t meet the criteria for participation. In a letter to Bernier, Johnston wrote that the commission doesn’t believe the party has a “legitimate chance of electing more than one candidate.”
To qualify for an invitation, parties need to meet at least two of the following three criteria: have more than one MP in the House of Commons that was elected under the party’s banner; intend to endorse candidates in at least 90 per cent of ridings in the federal election; either have received at least four per cent of the popular vote in the last election or be deemed to have a solid shot of electing candidates this time around.
Bernier is protesting the decision to exclude him from the debates, and has written to Johnston asking the commission to reconsider.
The federal election is set for Oct. 21 under Canada’s fixed-date election law.
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