Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has agreed to appear at three out of the six debates planned ahead of the federal vote in October.
Originally, Liberal insiders suggested that the prime minister was only going to appear for the two debates organized by the government-created Leaders’ Debates Commission.
According to La Presse, one party insider suggested that the reasoning was because “there is not much benefit for us to participate in all these debates.”
The commission was created in 2018 with the intended goal of making the federal election debates more “predictable” and “accessible”.
The commission is headed by former Governor General David Johnston and former CBC Executive Director Michel Cormier, who is the head of operations for the group.
Five moderators have since been announced, including CBC’s Rosemary Barton. Althia Raj (Huffington Post), Dawna Friesen (Global News), Lisa LaFlamme (CTV News), and Susan Delacourt (Toronto Star) will also be moderating the debates.
Several critics have pointed out the Liberal bias of the moderators chosen by the government commission, including former vice president of the Global Television Network, Ray Heard.
“Given this reality, if I were Scheer, Singh or May… I would question these appointments,” said Heard on the decision.
A few days later it was announced that the prime minister will also appear for a french-language debate hosted by TVA Nouvelles.
Curiously the debate only invited the party leaders from the NDP, Conservative Party, Bloc Quebecois, and the Liberal Party. Both Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and PPC leader Maxime Bernier, who represents the Quebec-riding of Beauce, have been excluded from the debate.
The prime minister has yet to confirm whether or not he will be appearing at the debates hosted by Maclean’s/CityTV or Munk.