May 21, 2015

The debate over debates: Liberals eager to help "Consortium" cling to power

Brian LilleyArchive

The NDP and Conservatives are open to all kinds of debates for the upcoming election but "The Consortium" that has run the TV debates for years is desperate to hang onto power.

And you'll see in my report, the Liberals are desperate to help them.

What do you think? What kinds of debates should we have during the federal election?

Discuss it in the comments!


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commented 2015-05-23 15:58:54 -0400
Ta, Peter. (-:
commented 2015-05-23 13:37:22 -0400
I have no doubt that Mulcair is an excellent debater. The real debate, in the true sense of the word, will be between Harper and Mulcair. Justin is simply way, way out of his league. Even if he is in a setting when the consortium can control the video, they may not be able to dress it up enough to compensate for Justin’s ineptness. But like someone said earlier, we should not underestimate Justin. He might surprise us.

Good comment, Joan.
commented 2015-05-23 13:28:20 -0400
“The sky is falling! Peter Netterville agreed with me. "

Oh no! I am the one responsible for the sky falling? Damn, I just can’t do anything right! :)
commented 2015-05-23 13:09:22 -0400
The sky is falling! Peter Netterville agreed with me.

As Liza Rosie points out, Harper and Mulcair have already agreed to four debates hosted by media that are neither cbc or ctv but that are also not Harper or Mulcair patsies.

Because of that, it is Trudeau who appears to be resisting exposure.

Both cbc and ctv will be able to livestream in real time all the debates Mulcair and Harper have agreed to. They just won’t be able to control the format, the questions, the moderation, the props.

What this is really about is media monopoly versus fair opportunity for all. I think Trudeau will blink first and agree to the debates already scheduled by Harper and Mulcair. And I think cbc and ctv will livestream them so they can try to control the narrative with damage control.

Then and only then Harper may agree to a cbc and/or ctv debate provided they livestream the others first. Because Mulcair will debate either leader anywhere, if Harper does not blink once Trudeau has, it could create the appearance he is a poor sport and let cbc and ctv spin the narrative that Trudeau and Mulcair are the only viable options for voters. And that could usher in an NDP government because one-to-one, Mulcair can clean Trudeau’s clock any day.

Appearances notwithstanding, Mulcair could do quite well provided he remembers to breathe and to address Canadians as he would a class of pre-schoolers – slowly, calmly, literally. Tom’s Achilles heel is his penchant for obscure and pedantic sarcasm that simply flies over the heads of most who misinterpret it as evidence of unbalanced anger.
commented 2015-05-23 09:32:23 -0400
Peter, absolutely right. (No pun intended)
commented 2015-05-23 08:46:33 -0400
Terry, I think the PM doesn’t like the CBC much either. That could be a factor.
commented 2015-05-23 08:31:11 -0400
Ron hits the nail on the head. Refusing to participate in what will be the most widely publicized and accessible debate, live, is a poor strategic decision. I’m not sure whether or not it reflects Harper’s unease in that setting or Kory Teneyke’s loathing for the CBC.
commented 2015-05-23 02:32:05 -0400
“Additionally, Harper has already agreed to four proposed debates – a Maclean’s debate, a Globe and Mail/Google/YouTube debate, a Munk Centre debate and a French debate hosted by the TVA network.”
It is the internet Ron, we can always watch live.
commented 2015-05-23 00:42:20 -0400
Rick as you said it won’t be a fair playing field so the PM is in a most difficult position. How will people be reached avoiding the MSM debates? To have non MSM debates means fewer LIVE viewers so people will then have to read about what took place or watch edited versions and the MSM can then put their spin on what was really said.
commented 2015-05-22 21:44:30 -0400
More debates at different outlets are the answer to various questions of competence. Not restricting to two debates hosted by the same media “consortium”. The bias of the Socialist Media has been evident for some time now. More perspective is needed.
commented 2015-05-22 21:40:46 -0400
Ron said: “He has to change that mind set and the best place to do that is on a national debate relayed by the MSM.” Except we already know from previous experience the Socialist Media would never provide that opportunity and simply bash him according to their leftist idealogies. It would not be a fair playing field.
commented 2015-05-22 19:11:15 -0400
It seems as if people do watch the debates as evidenced by what happened in Alberta. Also in the US one of the debates went in Obama’s favour and Romney could not recover even though history now indicates that Romney was correct in his analysis of Middle East problems. I think Harper will have to participate even if the result is not what his followers want. To abstain would send a message that he is a terrible PM who has lots to hide which is the main reason he probably will lose unless he can identify with the young voters. Look at some of the Facebook postings. Youngsters are saying he has treated the veterans horribly therefore he must go. He has to change that mind set and the best place to do that is on a national debate relayed by the MSM.
commented 2015-05-22 14:40:11 -0400
Peter, in my lexicon, to “spin” means to formulate a response to an event or issue that promotes a specific interpretation in the reader/viewer/listener favorable to the communicator.
commented 2015-05-22 14:27:40 -0400
Terry said, "Yes, I am aware of how Harper’s PR folks are spinning his refusal to participate. "

My understanding of “spin” is twisting a lie to sound believable. This is not the case when it comes to how the mainstream media treats Harper. The MSM is clearly bias against Harper. If you don’t believe that, then you are far less perceptive than I currently believe you are. They do their best to twist and contort whatever he says. Under these circumstances it should be obvious to even you, who is clearly anti-Harper, that refusing to debate in a situation where you know your words will be twisted and you will not be given an equal opportunity in the debate is a smart move.

As to Harper’s debating abilities, we will have to see when the time comes, but I agree with Joan (stranger things have been known to happen) that Harper seems a lot more comfortable with debating.

What is comes down to for me, is that these debates will be quite interesting to watch, but there is no way that I would ever vote for Justin or Mulcair, so Harper is really the only choice at this time in this election.
commented 2015-05-22 13:47:30 -0400
Joan, Harper has two or three rhetorical strategies that he’s come to rely on that serve him well in the House, with rigorous protocols in place and the potential for curve balls minimized. I remain dubious about his efficacy in a less structured, less controlled format, and his apparent desire to avoid that setting suggests that his advisers share that view. I agree, I think a sit down discussion between Harper and Mulcair would be VERY interesting.
commented 2015-05-22 12:58:05 -0400
Terry Rudden, I think PM Harper would object to your claim that is his mouthpiece. is far to the hard-right of where the electable votes are.

Also, Harper has got much more comfortable with debate. I think you may see him do quite well.

To be fair, though, so has Trudeau improved. I think it is folly to underestimate not so much his debating skills or knowledge of issues and ability to analyse on his feet, but his team’s ability to teach him how to control messaging in debates.

Remember Rob Ford’s tactic? No matter the issue, stick to one or two talking points and sound sincere. It worked. Not that his economic talking points had no appeal. They did.

But if Trudeau can find similar talking points with wide appeal to Canadians, he could use his drama skills to play the audience. You know. Like a politician.

I’m such a cynic.

I’d like to see Harper and Mulcair in an extended moderated sit-down conversation on the issues, an interview rather than a debate, a civilized discussion. Both are bright, articulate ideologues. It could give Canada a good idea of the real position of the government and the official opposition on all the relevant issues.

Trudeau would flounder in that setting but in theatre, like debate can be, he does have some ability. Underestimate him at our peril.
commented 2015-05-22 12:42:50 -0400
I don’t care how many French debates there are but I would like them broadcast across Canada. I find the official translators competent and like to watch debates in French. It is Trudeau’s first and preferred language and I want to gauge for myself if that makes any difference.

No, the Bloc and Green don’t need including in every debate. In Quebec, yes, the Bloc needs to be there and in BC, the Green, and in all local debates where they run candidates, along with representatives of the Marijuana, Libertarian and other fringe parties. But the federal debates? No.

If Trudeau doesn’t want to participate in debates, I see no reason to try to convince him to change his mind. Schedule debates between the PM and leader of the official opposition. Debates between Mulcair and Harper will be the most interesting anyway.

As to who runs the debates, let cbc do one but let other interests do others. That’s fair. As for audience questions, unless they are from the floor, I see no point as they reflect the bias of the producer and are often of a partisan fluff nature that I find both boring and annoying.
commented 2015-05-22 12:35:15 -0400
Typical of the Libs to want to control the discussion, as their empty shell needs to be handled with kiddie gloves, and given yet another advantage in the MSM. Stay the course PM Harper, as so many of us are praying that you win a majority. We need mandatory coverage of all debates, on all stations, so the media can’t try to spin their smoke and mirror crap. And we don’t want a moderator, as we don’t need them running interference for the socialist clowns.
commented 2015-05-22 12:11:13 -0400
Glenn: Nope. Not any party’s troll.
commented 2015-05-22 12:10:41 -0400
Bill: shrug. Harper’s not great at debate, so he’s avoiding it. It may be a wise choice, or it may not. I guess we’ll see. My sense is that Trudeau not going to be very good either.
commented 2015-05-22 12:08:41 -0400
@peter: “certainly you must know that your accusation that Harper controls the messaging is a big lie.”
Let me make my point clearer. Government (or product) messaging begins with a sender, who formulates a message, transmitted through a medium, to a receiver. In this case, Harper (sender) has a message (e.g., Trudeau sucks, Oil Good, whatever) he formulates and issues through various media (Gov’t website, newspapers, broadcast, the Rebel, carrier pigeons, public meetings) targeted at specific audiences.
No-one “controls” their messaging perfectly. But every politician seeks to control as many elements of that process as they can.
Harper’s strategy (which is legit) is to minimize the number of media he exposes himself to, and to control the issuance and carriage of his messaging to the maximum extent he can. That includes the avoidance of scrums and informal interviews, and avoidance of media situations in which he does not appear at his best. He’s not great in debates.
commented 2015-05-22 11:59:46 -0400
Morning, Peter. Yes, I am aware of how Harper’s PR folks are spinning his refusal to participate.
commented 2015-05-22 11:18:04 -0400
The so-called Consortium, if it was really comprised of honest persons, could find the answers to their dilemma by simply looking in the mirror!

The Conservatives along with conservatives in general do not believe in or trust the members of the Consortium because they see that organization as being tremendously biased toward left-wing politics. And, in the past debates, the moderators, from the point of view of conservatives (large and small “c”), have clearly demonstrated their extreme bias toward the left in their aiding and abetting the same by cutting-off or allowing the shouting down of the Conservative arguments.

Further, the so-called “debates” put on by the left-wing communist/socialist Consortium have been nothing but a demonstration of rudeness whereby the loudest or screechiest voice shouts down anyone saying what that voice does not like. It seems that the Consortium is incapable of producing a truly unbiased professional environment in which a proper debate can be held. It is absolutely impossible for a serious minded voter to listen carefully to well presented arguments in an environment of rational professionalism. Such must be found in other media. Thus, the Consortium debates are irrelevant anyway!
commented 2015-05-22 11:12:17 -0400
Oh, and BTW
islam is the curse of the Earth!
commented 2015-05-22 11:11:06 -0400
Phuck the “Consortium” MSM
setting up the BIASED and RIGGED DEBATES
Gimme a frickin break!
Not that I have a lot of faith in them but
the only “entity” that should be allowed to run ANY federal election debate are
Elections Canada.

commented 2015-05-22 09:37:46 -0400
No doubt Trudeau’s childish demands were scripted by the CBC. Without the media party there to run cover for their poster boy, the Wannabe is once again going to make a fool of himself. Grab the beer & popcorn and enjoy the implosion.
commented 2015-05-22 09:37:00 -0400
I commend Mr. Harper for the decisive stance he has taken re the “Debates”. Mainstream media have controlled the airwaves for far too long. The “Consortium” badly needs this “wake-up” call that they cannot always control the message (which they do big time)! Stand firm on this, Mr. Harper!
commented 2015-05-22 08:34:53 -0400
Terry, I guess you are our ‘official’ liberal troll.
commented 2015-05-22 07:59:32 -0400
Rudden – so that will make 2 of the leaders who are incapable of debate (by you astute criteria) so I guess we just brace for a Green or Dip win at the polls – pffffft what color is the sky on your planet?
commented 2015-05-22 07:57:49 -0400
Terry, certainly you must know that your accusation that Harper controls the messaging is a big lie. Harper has never controlled any media at all. The media is dead set against him. Any claim of yours to the opposite is such an obvious attempt at bs.