HALIFAX, Jan. 15, 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.
The first in a series of five roundtables across Canada, today's discussion was held at King's College in Halifax and moderated by the Institute for Research and 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 element of our democracy and should be organized in a way that best serves Canadians. Atlantic Canadians have a lot of expertise and ideas to contribute to this important discussion and I heard a lot of that today. Bringing regional perspectives is important to ensure that these debates reach as many Canadians as possible."
‑ Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions
- Today's roundtable is the first in a series of roundtables Minister Gould and Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore are hosting with stakeholders. Other roundtables are planned for Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg 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: (media only), please contact: Dan Lindenas, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, 613-995-0308; Media Relations, Privy Council Office, 613-957-5420