People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier Denied Participation in the Leaders’ Election Debates

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew is a reporter based in Toronto.
August 23, 2021 Updated: September 10, 2021

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier will not join five other political party leaders in the upcoming federal election debate, Leader’s Debates Commissioner David Johnson announced on Aug. 21.

Bernier said in a statement he is “disappointed, but not surprised” to learn that he is not invited to the leaders’ debates.

“I do not blame the commission, whose criteria were clear and objective. Rather, I blame the political establishment cartel, which refuses to debate the crucial issues we raise and has done everything to marginalize us since the founding of the PPC.”

The party leaders taking part in the debate include the leaders of the Liberal Party, Conservative Party, Bloc Québécois, NDP, and the Green Party.

The Leaders’ Debates Commission was created by an Order in Council on Oct. 29, 2018 as an independent public body responsible for organizing federal leaders’ debates.

For a leader of a party to be eligible to take part in the debate, the party must meet one of the three criteria set out by the Leader’s Debates Commission. One is that on the date the general election is called, the party must be represented in the House of Commons with at least one MP. Another is that the party’s candidates must have received at least 4 percent of the total number of valid votes cast in the previous general election. The third criterion is that five days after the date the election is called, the party must have an average level of at least 4 percent of national support.

The commission measures the level of national support by averaging the result of most recent polls from a number of national public polling organizations. The commission found the figure to be 3.27 percent for the PPC. The stats used by the commission include figures from Abacus (3.5 percent), Angus Reid Institute (3.5 percent), EKOS Research Associates (5.2 percent), Forum Research (5.2 percent), Innovative Research Group (3.0 percent), Ipsos (0.7 percent), Leger (2.4 percent), Mainstreet Research (4.0 percent), and Nanos Research (1.9 percent).

Bernier said the polls that show the PPC receiving a low percentage of national support have a “flawed methodology and do not reflect reality at all” as “several polls unveiled in recent days” show up to 6 percent voting intention.

“I can make this promise to Canadians today: debate or no debate, you will keep hearing from us!” he said.

The French-language leaders’ debate will be held on Sept. 8, from 8 to 10 p.m. EST, and the English debate on Sept. 9, from 9 to 11 p.m. EST. Both debates will take place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew is a reporter based in Toronto.