Who should run the debates between the party leaders?
In a free country, the answer is: anyone. In fact, pretty much the only wrong answer is: the government.
Think about your local community — voting for an alderman, or a local politician. If the debate is held at the local Rotary Club, or a local church, or school — what’s the difference? The last people who ought to control election debates ought to be the government — since it’s the government that turns in the balance.
You don’t want a mayor choosing who gets to challenge him as mayor.
Well, surely that applies at the national level too, only more so. And we’re talked about this before — how the Liberal government just decided, one day, to take over debates, and appointed their hand-picked people to run them. They nationalized these debates. And the bail-out media, just rolled over.
The Liberals are deciding which of their opponents they want there. They can’t avoid Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. But what about the smaller parties? What about Elizabeth May — really just a me-too for the Liberals? What about the Bloc Quebecois — can they participate? The party almost disappeared, and obviously it’s irrelevant in English Canada.
What about Maxime Bernier’ and his People’s Party?
A few elections back, Elizabeth May — who was in the single digits in polls, didn’t have a full slate of candidate, and was really just a one-person pundit — the media really campaigned to get her in the debates, and the ruling Conservatives broke down and agreed.
Maybe that was a good thing; but in the end, it wasn’t up to the Conservatives.
But not now. Now, the Liberals can make the strategic decisions about who they want. They just order it.
Last year, here’s what Trudeau’s spokesman, Karina Gould, said:
Maxime Bernier would be eligible to appear in the 2019 leaders’ debates if his upstart People’s Party successfully nominates candidates in at least 90 per cent of ridings, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said Thursday.
By the way, Bernier has a lot more candidates nominated than the Liberals. The Liberals have dozens of unfilled seats, no candidates. Trudeau will eventually hand-pick them. (So much for local democracy.)
Bernier surely exceeds the Liberals in nominations. But he’s being excluded.
I know a lot of my viewers are Andrew Scheer supporters. Not fans — I have yet to meet someone who truly loves Andrew Scheer. It’s more of a loyalty thing, a passive thing. Fine. Many say Bernier is going to split the vote. And there’s some truth in that.
But that’s a completely different thing than having Justin Trudeau, through the power of the government, banning a candidate who has just as much right to be there as, at least, Elizabeth May. And, insanely, — the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.
I want Andrew Scheer to beat Justin Trudeau in the upcoming election. I’m not a member of any party. But I want to have a choice — I want Canadians to have a choice — and to even hear that there is a choice out there.
Maxime Bernier probably doesn’t have a statistical chance at becoming the prime minister. But he is certain to put forward ideas that many Canadians share — especially ideas that are considered politically incorrect. Ideas that the establishment club doesn’t even want to talk about.
Whether or not you like Bernier isn’t the point. It’s whether or not you think governments ought to be able to ban their challengers. And surely any conservative can be against that.
If your goal is to tamp down populist anger in the country, I’m pretty sure banning dissenters from a debate is about the worst way to do it...
NEXT: Our reporter Keean Bexte went to the notorious Roxham Road, where countless fake "refugees" have illegal crossed the U.S. border into Canada ever since Trudeau tweeted out his invitation to the world.
Tonight he joins me to talk about the shocking things he saw and heard.