Federal Election Debate Announcement - First Ever Federal Election Debate on Foreign Policy Proposed

Rt. Hon Stephen J. Harper and Hon. Thomas J. Mulcair confirm participation in standalone election debate on Canada's foreign policy

TORONTO, May 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Rudyard Griffiths, Chair of the Munk Debates, made the following statement today:

"We are pleased that Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair have confirmed their participation in a Munk Debate focusing exclusively on Canada's foreign policy. Too often foreign policy issues have been afterthoughts in past federal election campaigns. By holding this debate during the election, we aim to bring greater public scrutiny to bear on the foreign policy prescriptions of the three federal party leaders recognized in Parliament.

While the participants have agreed in principle to hold this foreign policy debate, a variety of details will need to be finalized before this debate can be formally confirmed. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with representatives of the party leaders in the coming weeks on the debate format, topics, timing and a variety of other logistic issues.

Finally, a word about how the Munk Debates arrived at its decision to invite the three federal party leaders recognized in Parliament to a standalone debate on foreign policy.

There are two ways in which someone is a leader of a party in Canada. The first is by Elections Canada which formally registers political parties under the Elections Canada Act. The second is by the Parliament of Canada Act where a party is recognized if 12 or more MPs identify as such in the House of Commons.

Munk Debate staff chose the second of these two officially established criteria to identify the party leaders who would be invited to participate in the debate, that being three individuals who lead parties recognized by the Parliament of Canada Act in the House of Commons. These individuals are Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau. It was our determination that inviting all the leaders of the federally registered parties recognized by Elections Canada, parties who also have MPs in Parliament, numbering six in total, to our standalone event would unduly limit our ability to hold a substantive debate."

Since 2008, the Munk Debates have provided a civil, substantive forum for leading thinkers to discuss the pressing issues of our time. Two debates are held each year in Toronto, one in the spring and one in the fall. Previous Munk Debate participants include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Krugman, Fareed Zakaria, Samantha Power, Mia Farrow, and Glenn Greenwald.

The Munk Debates are financially underwritten by the charitable Aurea Foundation, founded in 2006 by Peter and Melanie Munk to support eligible Canadian institutions involved in the study and development of public policy.

"Our philanthropy is aimed primarily at improving the quality and vitality of public debate in Canada," said Peter Munk, speaking about the rationale for the Munk Debates. "Whether it is the support we provide to the Munk School at the University of Toronto or the creation of the Munk Debates through our Aurea Foundation, Melanie and I are committed to broadening public knowledge, education, and informed discourse."

For more information on the Munk Debates please visit www.munkdebates.com.

SOURCE Munk Debates

For further information: Media inquiries and interview requests should be directed to: Sherry Naylor, sherry@munkdebates.com, 416-368-8253

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