With the federal election set for Oct. 21, at some point in September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will advice the governor general to dissolve the 42nd Parliament.
The prime minister will then present an order in council to the Chief Electoral Officer requesting the writ of an election.
At this point, the writ is considered “dropped” and the formal “writ period” will get underway.
Part of what will occur during the writ period are debates among party leaders as well as local candidates.
One change on the national level is the Trudeau government’s creation of a “Leaders’ Debates Commission.”
In the past the major televised debates between party leaders were organized by a consortium of media broadcasters.
In the last campaign, leader’s debates were hosted by organizations such as Maclean’s magazine and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
The Leaders’ Debates Commission is still largely organized by a consortium of media broadcasters, however this process is done independently working with an appointed debates commissioner.
The purpose of the debates commission is to organize two televised debates, one in English and the other in French as was done previously.
Because the process has been finalized in a formal structure, there are also rules on what leaders can and cannot participate in the debate.
One of the rules states “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.”
This means new political parties, such as the People’s Party of Canada, do not meet this guideline.
There are other debates, such as the Munk debate on foreign policy (as one example), that other major party leaders have agreed to attend. It has been reported Trudeau has declined all other debate invitations and will only appear in the debates organized by the debates commission.
Do you believe the prime minister only attending one English debate and one French debate is enough or would you like to see the prime minister participating in more debates?
Dan Albas is the Conservative member of Parliament for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola. To contact the writer, email: Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call 1-800-665-8711. His column will go on hiatus once the election is called.