Next on the To Do list -

Next on the To Do list


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.


Next on the To Do list

  1. Could we consider scrapping them for the next election just to see what happens? I suspect the sky wouldn't fall.

  2. I would favour almost anyone making the rules for the debates other than a consortium of broadcasters who have led the decline in political discourse in our country.

    Over time I have watched as broadcasters initially pretended to be dumb to talk down to our level, and then actually become that dumb. Hairdos, celebrity focus group status, sales, and office politics have replaced journalistic credibility as the standard for advancement in Canada's broadcasting organizations. It shows in the over-formatted pablum they package as "news" and even at the CBC the real brain trust is now marginalized in radio or independent production.

    Why would we want a bunch of beer and Viagra salesman making decisions about the parameters of political discussions?

  3. Or we could have independent org randomly pick 20 Canadians and let them ask a question with two follow-up questions allowed so leaders can't get away with the bs they do now.

    Remove the bien-pensants that dominate debates and let ordinary Canadians participate instead.

    • Nothing says we should only have one debate. One debate could be in this format, but I don't think our only debate should consist of average joes asking likely mediocre questions.

  4. Yes, because less opportunity to talk policy is a great thing.

  5. I think ringside cheerleaders with pom-poms would be good. Rahim and Helena can do the scouting work for that.

  6. We can have all the commissions make all the rules for debates. In the end, it's up to the leaders if they wish to attend or not. At the local riding and municipal levels, private groups usually decide who gets to debate and come to agreements with the candidates on the formats of the debates.

    Harper can look at a debate commission, and then decide that it may be more worthwhile to avoid the debates altogether.

    • Indeed. Seems like CPC policy for candidates not to attend debates.