Montreal – A new report by the Institute for Research on Public Policy proposes recommendations for creating an independent commission to manage leaders’ debates in federal election campaigns.
“As a core component of election campaigns, debates are important political exercises. The interest of voters must be kept at the centre of this reform, outweighing all other considerations. Any new process must be open and transparent,” says IRPP President and CEO Graham Fox.
In the aftermath of controversies surrounding the way the debates were managed during the 2015 general election, Canada’s Minister of Democratic Institutions was charged by the Prime Minister to bring forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize leaders’ debates during future federal election campaigns.
To help inform the recommendations that will be made to the Prime Minister, the report summarizes the main suggestions that emerged from a series of roundtables held across Canada, organized by the Privy Council Office and facilitated by the IRPP in January 2018, seeking advice and input from experts and stakeholders regarding this critical part of the democratic process.
The recommendations include:
The report concludes that the commission should be built to last, adaptable to changing voter preferences, party configurations, and ever-evolving societal circumstances. Some reforms could be implemented before the approaching federal election. However, given the leaders’ debates fundamental importance to the democratic process, it is crucial to get these changes right rather than get them soon.
Creating an Independent Commission for Federal Leaders’ Debates can be downloaded from the Institute’s website (irpp.org).
The Institute for Research on Public Policy is an independent, national, bilingual, not-for-profit organization based in Montreal. To receive updates from the IRPP, please subscribe to our e‑mail list.
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