The organization put in charge of running Canada’s official leadership debates have sent out their invitations for the French and English debates, and Maxime Bernier has not been invited.
According to the CBC, David Johnston, the former Governor-General and the commissioner of the debate organizing group invited NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, and Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau.
Bernier was left off the list as he won his own seat under the Conservative banner, while his party continues to poll too low to ensure more than one seat is won in the coming race.
“The commission has consulted available opinion polls, riding projection sites and independent pollsters. None of these sources project, at this time, that the People’s Party of Canada has a legitimate chance to elect more than one candidate,” Johnston said.
Bernier’s PPC is currently in a position to only win his own riding, and even there he is in a dead heat with the Conservatives, according to a Mainstreet Research poll.
While the results are worrying for PPC supporters, the commissioner has not closed the door yet. If the party submits three to five ridings which it believes it can elect a candidate, and independent polling confirms the same, the decision can be changed.
There is a rather tight timeline though, the commission’s list becomes final by September 16th, 2019.
With the debate being broadcasted by a consortium, Bernier’s team is sure to attempt to change this decision before the deadline. Interestingly though, this will not be the only debate the PPC leader is potentially excluded from.
The University of Toronto’s Munk School has also excluded Bernier from their scheduled debate as of this time.
Update: Bernier has released an official statement in response to the Debate Commission noting that he disagreed with their interpretation.
You can read his full response here.