The chair of the Munk Debates, an event in which party leaders would discuss foreign policy, has been cancelled due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refusal to participate, reports the Globe and Mail.
Rudyard Griffiths confirmed to the Globe that it was Trudeau’s “refusal to debate” which has lead to the cancellation.
Trudeau has already been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism over his reluctance to participate in three of the five scheduled debates.
The prime minister refused to participate in the Maclean’s/CityTV debate earlier in September, and will only appear in two debates both organized by an independent commission established by the Liberal government.
“It’s really unfortunate that Canadians are not going to have a standalone debate on foreign policy this election,” said Griffiths. “With everything that’s going on in the world, if there ever was a moment, if there ever was a time, to really focus on the competing foreign-policy platforms of the various parties contending for government, now is that moment.”
Besides the two previously mentioned official debates that Trudeau will appear in, he’s also slated to appear in a second French-language debate on TVA, which “is not part of the media consortium affiliated with the two commissioned debates,” according to the Globe and Mail.
Griffiths went on to say that the debate was cancelled as Trudeau’s absence “fundamentally undermine(d) the value of the exercise,” as Munk “never had the courtesy of a formal response from the Liberal Party.”
As news spread that Trudeau would be missing the Munk debates, many took to Twitter with their opinion about the Prime Minister’s playing hookey.
“Trudeau’s decision not to attend the Munk Debate on foreign policy with the other leaders was inconsequential,” wrote Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein. “Now, given the cancellation of the debate and Trudeau’s refusal to answer any more questions on blackface it looks like cowardice.”
The Conservative Party’s official Twitter released a video heavily criticizing Trudeau for refusing to show up to the debate.
Some wondered why the debates had to be cancelled only because of Trudeau’s absence. “The other candidates and potentially our new PM would attend and have the right to debate. Trudeau’s cowardice should not affect the other leaders.”
With less than a month until the October election, opposition party leaders are surely eager to get on stage with Trudeau. Canadians will have to wait until October 2nd for that moment, the TVA French-language debate, an event which both People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier, nor Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will attend.