OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, Debates Commissioner David Johnston issued an invitation to Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada (PPC), to join five other party leaders at the Commission's two debates on October 7 and 10.
"Based on our further evaluation, I'm satisfied that more than one candidate endorsed by the party has a reasonable chance to be elected," says the Commissioner.
The Commissioner considered a range of factors including:
- Party membership, fundraising and organizational capacity;
- Riding level polls (conducted by the Commission), publicly available riding polls and expert analysis that show support in designated ridings; and
- Prominent media presence on a range of national issues.
"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," says Johnston. "All of these factors together enable the PPC to satisfy two of the criteria established in our Order in Council."
The Commission's mandate stipulates that parties must fulfill two of three criteria in order for their leader to be invited to participate in the debates. The criteria, as outlined in section 2 (b) of Order in Council P.C. 2018-1322 are:
Criterion (i): 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;
Criterion (ii): 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
Criterion (iii): 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.
On August 12 the Commission invited five party leaders, representing the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada and New Democratic Party of Canada to participate in the debates. At that time, the Commission concluded that the PPC satisfied one criterion ("intends to endorse candidates in at least 90% of electoral districts in the general election in question"), but at that time in the electoral cycle and with the evidence then available, the Commissioner did not consider that the PPC had a legitimate chance to elect more than one candidate. The Commission indicated this was a preliminary assessment and that it would seek further information. It invited the party to make further submissions no later than September 9.
ABOUT THE LEADERS' DEBATES COMMISSION
The core of the Leaders' Debates Commission mandate is twofold. First, to organize two leaders' debates for the 2019 Federal General Election—one in each official language. Second, to prepare a report to Parliament, following the 2019 debates, outlining findings, lessons learned and recommendations for the future of the Leaders' Debates Commission.
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For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Clark, Senior Communications Advisor, Leaders' Debates Commission, (613) 943-5766, [email protected]