WINNIPEG, Jan. 22, 2018 /CNW/ - Recognizing that a well-informed, engaged electorate is fundamental to the health and well-being of our democracy, Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore, on behalf of the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, today met with regional leaders from media, academia and public interest groups to hear their ideas for the creation of an independent commission or commissioner to organize federal political party leaders' debates in advance of the 2019 election.
As part of a series of roundtables across Canada, today's discussion was held at the University of Winnipeg and moderated by the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Some of the themes explored were:
- who should organize leaders' debates;
- how the debates can reach the largest number of Canadians;
- how to ensure that debates are accessible to all Canadians; and
- how the education mandate of the independent commissioner could be structured.
Minister Gould's mandate letter from the Prime Minister directs her to "bring forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize political party leaders' debates during future federal election campaigns, with a mandate to improve Canadians' knowledge of the parties, their leaders, and their policy positions." Members of the public are invited to submit their feedback online until February 9, 2018.
The information gathered during this roundtable and other related consultations on leaders' debates will be used to help inform policy decisions, with the goal of having an independent commission or commissioner in place in advance of the next federal election campaign.
"Leaders' debates are an important exercise in our democracy. The Government of Canada wants to hear from experts and Canadians on how to ensure they are organized and disseminated in a way that best serves Canadians. Today's discussion in Winnipeg brought forward many good ideas and we look forward to continuing this dialogue."
‑ Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions
- Today's roundtable is one in a series of roundtables Minister Gould and Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore are hosting with stakeholders. Roundtables already took place in Halifax and Toronto, with others planned for Montreal and Vancouver.
- The first televised federal party leaders' debate took place in 1968.
- The 1979 leaders' debates attracted an audience of 7.5 million, nearly half of the English-speaking population.
- Total viewership for both English and French debates in the 2015 election campaign were significantly lower than the debates held in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
SOURCE Minister for Democratic Institutions
For further information: For more information (media only), please contact: Jordan Owens, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, [email protected]; Media Relations, Privy Council Office, 613-957-5420