Elections Canada wants no part in organizing leaders debates

Agency must stay above the political fray, chief electoral officer says

Canada’s independent elections watchdog wants no part in organizing leaders’ debates during federal elections.

Stephane Perrault, the acting chief electoral officer, says Elections Canada must stay above the political fray and should not be perceived as being involved in anything that could influence the outcome of a campaign.

Perreault says leaders’ debates can be pivotal moments in a campaign, often helping to define the ballot-box issues.

A House of Commons committee is examining the idea of appointing an independent commission or commissioner to organize leadership debates, as promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2015 campaign.

Perrault says such a commission should be given broad latitude to shape the format of debates, but it should have little or no discretion to decide which party leaders are allowed to participate.

He says court challenges by smaller parties over their exclusion from debates in the past have failed because they were considered private, media-sponsored events not subject to scrutiny under the charter of rights; that would no longer be the case if a government-created commission was involved in organizing the debates.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Collision in Surrey breaks axle off SUV

Two people were reportedly sent to hospital

Students spend night in White Rock shelter

Students hear powerful stories about homelessness on the Semiahmoo Peninsula

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

A look at White Rock’s next council agenda

Following a public hearing, council will hear annual reports from a number of its committees

‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbour’ event bridges gap on Semiahmoo Peninsula, association says

Event serves as an educational space for residents in South Surrey-White Rock

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Security camera records hatchet attack on Langley store owner

Target escaped uninjured, but was ‘upset’ by incident

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Cougars 4-0

Goaltender David Tendeck turned aside all 38 Prince George shots for his WHL-leading third shutout

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Most Read