Everything you need to know about the 2019 federal leaders' debates
Social media posts. News conferences and statements. Door to door. Rallies. Text messages. Lawn signs.
Canadian voters may be inundated with information these days, but hearing directly from federal party leaders remains a vital way to make an informed election choice. As the Leaders' Debates Commission states, debates "give you a chance to see the character, temperament, and unscripted approaches of leaders seeking to be Canada's prime minister."
Here's how you can watch, listen, and engage with the two official leaders' debates in the 2019 election campaign. This page will be updated regularly with new information and links to debate streams.
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English debate - Monday Oct. 7, 2019, 7-9 p.m. EDT.
French debate - Thursday Oct. 10, 2019, 8-10 p.m. EDT.
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. in front of a live audience.
How you can experience the debates
The 2019 official debates are produced by the Canadian Debate Production Partnership, which is made up of:
● CTV News
● CBC News
● Toronto Star and the Torstar chain
You'll be able to access the debate on TV, radio, digital and social platforms run by the partnership, as well as through our distribution partners:
To reach the broadest cross-section of Canadians, the debates will also be simultaneously translated and available in key Indigenous languages, ASL, SQL, closed captioning, described video, and additional languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Arabic and Punjabi.
The party leaders invited to the debates have all confirmed their participation:
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet
- Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
The leaders' parties had to meet two out of three requirements set by the federal Leaders' Debates Commission:
1) Representation in the current House of Commons by a member who was elected under that party's banner
2) A determination that the party intends to run candidates in at least 90 per cent of electoral districts
3) The party's candidates received at least four per cent of valid votes in the last election, or have a "legitimate chance" of winning seats, based on polling data and at the discretion of the debates commissioner.
All participation order in the debates will be decided by draw to ensure fairness.
The moderators come from each of the media organizations in the Canadian Debate Production Partnership, and have deep experience in news or politics coverage.
In the English debate, distinct sections of the two-hour event will each be guided by the moderators:
● Susan Delacourt, Ottawa bureau chief, Toronto Star
● Dawna Friesen, national anchor, Global News
● Althia Raj, Ottawa bureau chief, HuffPost Canada
● Lisa LaFlamme, chief news anchor, CTV News
● Rosemary Barton, chief correspondent of political coverage and live specials, CBC News.
The French debate will be moderated by Patrice Roy from Radio-Canada with the participation of:
● Alec Castonguay, head of politics bureau, L’actualité
● Patricia Cloutier, National Assembly reporter, Le Soleil
● Hélène Buzzetti, parliamentary correspondent, Le Devoir
● François Cardinal, editor-in-chief, La Presse.
How the debate producer was chosen
In 2018, the government announced plans to set up an independent commission to standardize a transparent process of organizing the leaders' debates.
The mandate of the resulting Leaders' Debate Commission, led by former governor general David Johnston, is to make the debates a more reliable and stable element of federal election campaigns, and to ensure the debates are as accessible as possible on a variety of platforms.
In May, the commission issued a request for proposal, seeking bidders to produce the English and French debates. Nine media outlets came together to form the Canadian Debate Production Partnership and won the contract to produce the two events.