Justin Trudeau’s decision to only appear in two out of five debates shouldn’t surprise anybody.
The fact that Trudeau agreed to the two events organized by the Leaders’ Debates Commission (an office invented out of thin air by the Liberals themselves), should indicate to Canadians that the prime minister is only interested in playing with a stacked deck.
While the supposed purpose of the commission is “ensuring that the national debates are as accessible as possible, on a variety of platforms,” the real reason behind the office is to make things as comfortable as possible for a prime minister with an abysmal national approval.
Even the government’s declaration goes on to say that the commission’s role is to make the debates more “predictable, reliable, and stable.”
Ask yourself this: is a “predictable” debate even a debate at all?
People who tune in to national debates expect moderators who ask tough questions and challenge participants on key election issues, but instead, Canadians will likely tune into what will amount to a carefully staged charade.
Perhaps we should be asking whether the occasions will be so predictable, that the prime minister will have prepared answers to all the questions beforehand?
Sources within the Liberal party have basically admitted to the fact that they’re only interested in engaging with the other party leaders when they have the upper hand.
According to La Presse, the Liberals claim that “there is not much benefit for us to participate in all these debates.”
There is no “benefit” in taking part in the Maclean’s, Munk and TVA debates for the Liberals because presumably, the moderators will be independent of government influence and will not receive government dollars.
A Munk debate won’t be moderated by the likes of CBC’s Rosemary Barton who enjoys spouting Liberal talking points and taking selfies with the prime minister.
This strategy is just another prime example of the Liberals changing the rules to be in their favour.
It’s the same partisan politicking that was behind sliding deferred prosecution agreements into an omnibus bill so they could be the “saviours” of SNC-Lavalin.
It’s also no different than their decisions to change election laws to limit party spending while Liberal MPs and ministers fly around the company campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime.
When Canadians tune in to watch party leaders duke it out this October they shouldn’t expect a debate, they should expect a puppet show.