With Question Period well on its way to being saved now, attention can turn to what Taylor Owen and Rudyard Griffiths are going to do to fix our election debates.
How would we design an election debate process that put the interests of the electorate ahead of the parties’ preferences? One way to accomplish this would be the establishment of an independent election debate commission.
Having reviewed relevant international comparisons, we believe the guiding principles of such a commission must be independence and transparency. This means, first and foremost, that it must operate as an independent charitable civic institution, rather than either a part of Elections Canada or a new government bureaucracy. This would look much like the League of Women’s Voters, which independently ran the U.S. presidential debates until they were co-opted by the political parties.
Planning of the debates would occur between elections, with the commission transparently negotiating the rules using the goal of a substantive policy debate as the primary interest. Models would draw on international best practices, and would likely include a range of debates, held throughout the campaign, on various policy issues.
More from the team of Owen and Griffiths here.