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Mighty Middle
Liberals establish commission for independent leaders’ debates

The Liberal government has nominated former governor-general David Johnston as the first debates commissioner, tasked with organizing two leaders' debates to be held during the 2019 federal election.

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould announced Tuesday the government's plan to set up an independent, non-partisan debates commission as well as the criteria for deciding which parties get to participate.

In order for a party's leader to participate in the debates, that party must meet at least two of three criteria:

  • It must have at least one MP elected under that party's banner.
  • It must intend to run candidates in at least 90 per cent of Canada's 338 ridings
  • It must have obtained at least four per cent of the vote in the previous election or have a "legitimate chance" of winning seats, based on polling data and at the discretion of the commissioner

Meanwhile Elizabeth May has not gotten over what Stephen Harper & Thomas Mulcair did in the last debates (refusing to participate in the National Televised Debate). She is suggesting that a penalty be placed in any leader refuses to appear in National Televised Debate. Watch below

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1356818499651

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
She is suggesting that a penalty be placed in any leader refuses to appear in National Televised Debate.

The penalty should be "your party wasn't represented and so electors couldn't hear from you" and nothing more.

It's always a bit creepy when someone is compelled to speak.? Even accused murderers can't be compelled to take the stand.

I like the idea of the commission, though.? It's what people seemed to be suggesting the last time the consortium of broadcasters was discussed (i.e.:? "it shouldn't be up to the media to decide who participates"), though I fear the "at the discretion of the commissioner" part could become a football for any party that got 3.8% last time, or polled well somewhere on one day or whatever.

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I like the idea of the commission, though.? It's what people seemed to be suggesting the last time the consortium of broadcasters was discussed (i.e.:? "it shouldn't be up to the media to decide who participates"), though I fear the "at the discretion of the commissioner" part could become a football for any party that got 3.8% last time, or polled well somewhere on one day or whatever.

It's philosophically tricky, for sure, because (especially if the government's running the debate) the only truly fair way to do it would be to include all 21 party leaders, which would be completely useless as a debate. Someone has to decide which parties are "major enough", and every party's going to want that line drawn in a way that includes it and excludes whichever opponents they think are likely to take away votes from them.

I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the media, but I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the PM either. Does Bernier get in? Does the Bloc get excluded for only running in Québec? Are we just ensuring that preexisting parties get an advantage?

Whatever the commission decides, a lot of people will be unhappy. There's no avoiding it.

Sean in Ottawa

Nobody is compelled to run for office.

I agree with May's proposal. I think that if you stand for office you should be open to response and questions from those competing with you.

If not a?front-runner can hold their own news and destroy the chance of a real discussion on the issues with the others. Much of the campaigns are negative: there is a principle that you get to confront and respond to the person lobbing accusations against you. A person can run a negative campaign, refuse to debate, hold rallies with supporters and malign opponents. This is not okay. They can use their greater financial ability to change the public perception even about the truth. If you want to run, then we want you to be accountable. Nobody is compelling anyone to speak -- just saying if you want to run and expect any kind of public benefit for doing so, then you will engage in this kind of examination by the public and your opponents.

May is spot on.

It is disgusting what Mulcair and Harper did.

May is also spot on that the debates matter. Increasingly politicians choose their own media and refuse to take questions. Voters should have an opportunity to be informed not just about the policies a party represents but also how they respond to each other and what others are saying.

gadar

Post 4 by Sean is spot on

bekayne

cco wrote:

I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the media, but I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the PM either. Does Bernier get in? Does the Bloc get excluded for only running in Québec? Are we just ensuring that preexisting parties get an advantage?

Whatever the commission decides, a lot of people will be unhappy. There's no avoiding it.

Bernier's party should qualify under #2?and #3, BQ will qualify under #1 and #3.

Sean in Ottawa

I also like that the Liberals are taking this out of a small club deciding on their own political benefit?-- an independent rulses-based commission is the right thing to do.

As many know here, I have always considered the Greens to be legitimate as an option and deserving of inclusion. I feel the same way about the BQ and Bernier's party.?

It is not just an issue ofseeing them as an option to choose. You do not need them in your riding to get a benefit form them being there. They should be able to question the others, and respond to the others ideas and proposals. The BQ has been valuable in the questions and responses it has provided that give voters across the country to consider with the local options they have. I would never support Bernier's party, but if he can qualify under these reasonable rules, then his responses are legitimate for voters to evaluate their choice as would be the responses to him.
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Debates oten spend more time on the personalities than the issues -- however, they spend more time on the issues and accountability than any other election process. We should have the opportunity to hear those we may want to support as well as responses to them from those we would not even consider. Our knowledge in elections is aided by this. I also respect journalism enough to value the ability of their quesitons for each. Of course journalism should not just include mainstream media but some of the more fringe media as well on all sides. Some public options ought to be there as well.

It is a challenge to make this work practically in a debate but often what is worthwhile has a challenge. Formats that work have to be considered.

To have this removed from insider partisans to something more accountaible is a plus.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the media, but I don't like the idea of leaving it up to the PM either.

Do you disbelieve the government when they say the commission will be independent and non-partisan?

If the commission comes up with some reasonable rules then I look forward to when it's not up to the media and not up to the PM, but up to the rules.

Pondering

I agree with Sean. If the leader doesn't want to debate they can send a substitute but the party must be represented.?

NorthReport
iyraste1313

¨In order for a party's leader to participate in the debates, that party must meet at least two of three criteria:¨

How does this concur with the clear decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that all political persuasions must be fairly treated in electoral campaigns (Harper v. The Queen, Figueroa v. The Queen).

But of course in Canada neither such Supreme Court decisions, nor the Charter of Rights are respected nor known.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Fairly is a pretty flexible term.

bekayne

iyraste1313 wrote:

¨In order for a party's leader to participate in the debates, that party must meet at least two of three criteria:¨

How does this concur with the clear decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that all political persuasions must be fairly treated in electoral campaigns (Harper v. The Queen, Figueroa v. The Queen).

But of course in Canada neither such Supreme Court decisions, nor the Charter of Rights are respected nor known.

There were 23 parties in the last election, several with only 1 candidate. Where do you draw the line? Or do you?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_Canadian_federal_election,_...

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:

¨In order for a party's leader to participate in the debates, that party must meet at least two of three criteria:¨

How does this concur with the clear decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that all political persuasions must be fairly treated in electoral campaigns (Harper v. The Queen, Figueroa v. The Queen).

Figueroa v. Canada (Attorney General) is a later case than the Harper case. The SCC made it very clear that Figueroa was not any kind of absolute ban on differences.

91?????????????????????????????? However, before I dispose of this appeal I think it important to stress that this decision does not stand for the proposition that the differential treatment of political parties will always constitute a violation of s. 3?.? Nor does it stand for the proposition that an infringement of s. 3? arising from the differential treatment of political parties could never be justified.? Consequently, although the disposition of this case will have an impact on sections of the Elections Act that provide access to free broadcast time, the right to purchase reserved broadcast time, and the right to partial reimbursement of election expenses upon receiving a certain percentage of the vote, I express no opinion as to the constitutionality of legislation that restricts access to those benefits.? It is possible that it would be necessary to consider factors that have not been addressed in this appeal in order to determine the constitutionality of restricting access to those benefits.

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2069/index.do

WWWTT

Western democracy is an imperialist invention to guarantee imperialism is never interrupted. This is written in stone and signed in blood with the Canadian charter.?

Justin and his liberals are trying to shift media attention. It’s all about the debates now. What the fuck? Who cares?This is a load of bs!

If Justin and his liberal imperialists were really interested in ensuring Canadians have fair representation, then they would be pushing pr.?

So what happened to pr?

I guess it’s all about the debates now hey?

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There were 23 parties in the last election, several with only 1 candidate. Where do you draw the line? Or do you?

I think the "90% of ridings" cutoff is entirely reasonable.? The whole idea of federal televised debates is so that voters can know what the parties that will be competing in their riding stand for.? That kind of becomes unimportant if a party only has one candidate in one riding.? Why should the electors in the other 337 ridings care to hear "Bob" of "The Bob Party" speak for five minutes about foreign policy?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WWWTT

The Hudson's Bay Company founded Canada for profit and the heads of companies have been writing the rules for settlers and natives every since.

iyraste1313

In Figueroa.....

.? The right to run for office provides an opportunity to present ideas and opinions to the electorate and the right to vote provides an opportunity for citizens to express support for ideas and opinions.

Participation in the electoral process has an intrinsic value independent of the outcome of elections.

the right to vote in accordance with preferences requires each citizen to have information to assess party platforms

...a leadership debate which e.g. denies access to political parties with a radical and non capitalist perspective is a clear violation of Section 3...

The CBC limiting debates to mainstream parties likewise is a violation of Section 3

Where I presently work in Guatemala, when some 14 or more Parties run...the media cover the political perspective of all 14 parties, equally!

What must also be challenged in Federal Court is the right of the mainstream media to offer bias of only mainstream opinion on a consistent basis, before electoral campaigns, preparing the electorate for totally biases options.

The Court is clear that the broad spectrum of political opinion must be represented in the media.

Any radical political party to run, must challenge the result of the election based on the everpresent violations of? Section 3!

bekayne

iyraste1313 wrote:

...a leadership debate which e.g. denies access to political parties with a radical and non capitalist perspective is a clear violation of Section 3...

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Does that apply to parties with a radical racist perspective?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
a leadership debate which e.g. denies access to political parties with a radical and non capitalist perspective is a clear violation of Section 3

Not hiring someone because they're black is a violation of their Charter rights.

Not hiring someone because they have a grade 11 education and the position requires a Bachelor's degree is not a violation of their Charter rights, even if they're also black.

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WWWTT

kropotkin1951 wrote:

WWWTT

The Hudson's Bay Company founded Canada for profit and the heads of companies have been writing the rules for settlers and natives every since.

Oh it goes even further back!

There was a king of Portugal (forget his name) who pretty much told all the Portugues explorers to sail out and discover new lands to exploit and in return, you can make whatever claim to those lands and I'll give you the crowns blessing. A couple navigating brothers from the island of Tercera Azores took him up on this offer and claimed Newfoundland and Labrador for Portugal (Labrador is actually derived from the Portuguese word for small land owner Lavrador) And possibly New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. But because of other profitable exploits in Africa, India, China, south America etc etc and the colder northern climate, these very early Portuguese claims were abandoned leaving the door open for the English and French.

However, the huge cod reserves in the Grand Banks always remained on the Portuguese exploitation list. Declining species on the verge of extinction be fucking damned if that ever got in the way of easy profits!

You and other babblers here are probably fully aware of this! Just a reminder

voice of the damned

bekayne wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

...a leadership debate which e.g. denies access to political parties with a radical and non capitalist perspective is a clear violation of Section 3...

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Does that apply to parties with a radical racist perspective?

My own view is that the criterion should be whether your party?has?seats in parliament, and if enough people have voted for your party to get you seats in parliament, you should be in the debates. Whether you're anti-capitalist, racist, centrist,?whatever.

If someone wants to say that it's awful to have racist parties in the debates, I agree, it probably is, but then, that horse would have left the barn much earlier, when the racist parties got elected to parliament.

bekayne

voice of the damned wrote:

bekayne wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

...a leadership debate which e.g. denies access to political parties with a radical and non capitalist perspective is a clear violation of Section 3...

?

Does that apply to parties with a radical racist perspective?

My own view is that the criterion should be whether your party?has?seats in parliament, and if enough people have voted for your party to get you seats in parliament, you should be in the debates. Whether you're anti-capitalist, racist, centrist,?whatever.

If someone wants to say that it's awful to have racist parties in the debates, I agree, it probably is, but then, that horse would have left the barn much earlier, when the racist parties got elected to parliament.

I agree with you, I was just responding to the post.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I think that it should include any leader whose party has a seat in parliament or whose party polled at least 5% in the previous election.? In FPTP it is hard to win a single seat so it is a very limiting factor.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I know this is a municipal election, not a federal election, but recently in Toronto the incumbent Mayor, John Tory, and his presumed strongest challenger, former City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, got nearly 100% of the media interest and coverage between them, while the third-place candidate, Faith Goldy, got next to none.? I don't think she was invited to any debates, either.

Does this constitute an egregious violation of Faith Goldy's Charter rights?? Did the Star and the Globe and the Sun owe her an equal microphone to tell Toronto her ideas?

WWWTT

Where does it say in the charter about anything in regards to the media??? The charter only says that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote and the right to run for politics.?

This is a case where the devil isn’t in the details, but the devil is in the lack of details!?

Elections aren’t won by debates (for the most part, but an argument can be made in rare exemptions) elections are won by who has the biggest pile of money or who can raise the biggest pile.?

Perhaps here on a political forum, most of the posters will actually care about a debate and think it’s somehow important, but out in the real world, it’s a?variety of different advertising and campaigning that’s effective.?

LB Cultured Thought

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think that it should include any leader whose party has a seat in parliament or whose party polled at least 5% in the previous election.? In FPTP it is hard to win a single seat so it is a very limiting factor.

Does the rest of the country really need to hear about weird BC hippy crap like how wi-fi is evil? Seems like a local issue, which is why May isn't invited to the debates.

voice of the damned

LB Cultured Thought wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think that it should include any leader whose party has a seat in parliament or whose party polled at least 5% in the previous election.? In FPTP it is hard to win a single seat so it is a very limiting factor.

Does the rest of the country really need to hear about weird BC hippy crap like how wi-fi is evil? Seems like a local issue, which is why May isn't invited to the debates.

Well, whatever you think about the topic, "wi-fi is evil" actually is a national issue, since wi-fi is used across the country, and can plausibly be subjected to legislation passed in Ottawa. So the fact that?concern about?this issue(dubious as it may be) is concentrated?in one area doesn't neccessarily preclude its partisans from appearing in national debates. ?

voice of the damned

FWIW, the most inclusive debate I have ever seen was in the 1986 Alberta election, when the local CTV affiliate hosted eight party leaders, including two western separatists and a Communist(Moscow-line, so I guess the Hoxhaites were pissed off)?on one stage.

With the exception of the now-defunct Representative Party, who already had seats going into the campaign, none of the?minor parties won any seats in that election.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

LB Cultured Thought wrote:

Does the rest of the country really need to hear about weird BC hippy crap like how wi-fi is evil? Seems like a local issue, which is why May isn't invited to the debates.

Well, I am personally not very concerned by the dangers of wi-fi. I have it in my home just as most computer users do. On the other hand, I wouldn't describe all worry about its possible health effects as "hippy crap". BTW, you identify yourself as a very right wing thinker by using "hippy" as an insult the way you do. People who speak that way generally believe that the sexual revolution of the 1960s ultimately led to all the problems in the world today.

In any event, it is not physically implausible that wi-fi radiation could interact with vertebrate nervous systems. 2.4 GHz radiation has a wavelength of about 12 cm. 5 GHz is proportionally shorter. There are many axons in the human body which are of a length to be a resonant antenna to some of these waves. So, while this is not ionizing radiation which can disrupt DNA, leading to cellular mutations, it could have more subtle effects on the functioning of the nervous system, and all the other bodily functions which are co-ordinated by it.

bekayne

voice of the damned wrote:

FWIW, the most inclusive debate I have ever seen was in the 1986 Alberta election, when the local CTV affiliate hosted eight party leaders, including two western separatists and a Communist(Moscow-line, so I guess the Hoxhaites were pissed off)?on one stage.

With the exception of the now-defunct Representative Party, who already had seats going into the campaign, none of the?minor parties won any seats in that election.

The same happened with a federal election in the 1990's on Newsworld I think.

voice of the damned

bekayne wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

FWIW, the most inclusive debate I have ever seen was in the 1986 Alberta election, when the local CTV affiliate hosted eight party leaders, including two western separatists and a Communist(Moscow-line, so I guess the Hoxhaites were pissed off)?on one stage.

With the exception of the now-defunct Representative Party, who already had seats going into the campaign, none of the?minor parties won any seats in that election.

The same happened with a federal election in the 1990's on Newsworld I think.

Hm. Interesting. I don't recall that(though I'm sure it's true).

In 1979, the organizers of the federal debate apparently saw no need to include the Socreds, even though they had seats in the Commons. I'm guessing the excuse was that they didn't have party status.

https://tinyurl.com/ooffqgh

All I can remember from that '86 Alberta debate is one of the media panel talling the minor-party leaders that they were all a bunch of insignificant nobodies, and zeroing in on the Communist to ask him to defend the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The Communist replied with what sounded like a generic stump speech.

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iyraste1313

Where does it say in the charter about anything in regards to the media??? The charter only says that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote and the right to run for politics. ...

The Charter is an evolving document, determined by decisions of Court judges......

To understand the Charter, you must read the judges decisions....which I referred to in my above message.

And judges decisions are determined not just by who sits on the bench, but the evolving court of public opinion...this is where our real power as uncorruptible minority, lies.

voice of the damned

iyraste1313 wrote:

Where does it say in the charter about anything in regards to the media??? The charter only says that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote and the right to run for politics. ...

The Charter is an evolving document, determined by decisions of Court judges......

To understand the Charter, you must read the judges decisions....which I referred to in my above message.

And judges decisions are determined not just by who sits on the bench, but the evolving court of public opinion...this is where our real power as uncorruptible minority, lies.

?

Yes, but I don't think any amount of "reading into" the Charter is going to get you from "Everyone has?the?right to be qualified for membership in the House Of Commons" to "Anyone who?registers a political party has the right to be included in televised debates".

Sean in Ottawa

voice of the damned wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

Where does it say in the charter about anything in regards to the media??? The charter only says that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote and the right to run for politics. ...

The Charter is an evolving document, determined by decisions of Court judges......

To understand the Charter, you must read the judges decisions....which I referred to in my above message.

And judges decisions are determined not just by who sits on the bench, but the evolving court of public opinion...this is where our real power as uncorruptible minority, lies.

?

Yes, but I don't think any amount of "reading into" the Charter is going to get you from "Everyone has?the?right to be qualified for membership in the House Of Commons" to "Anyone who?registers a political party has the right to be included in televised debates".

Sorry you are incorrect here.

Rather than argue let me give an example of how the Charter extends into the arena of party politics by reminding you of this:

เกมออนไลน์http://irpp.org/research-studies/choices-vol10-no4/

Also be aware that political fairness rights come from two directions: The rights of the voter to access this as well as the rights of the candidate and or parties.

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The example above may not be identical in terms of issues but it does demonstrate just how much can lead from a couple simple, briefly stated rights.

When it comes to indiviudal freedoms and democratic right, the courts recognize that there is a political pocess and system that has to be correct to avoid infringing on these rights. For this reason the extensions of simple-sounding rights are pretty deep.

WWWTT

Sorry Sean in Ottawa but I think you are taking your example out of context.?

I sincerely believe that any Canadian government isn’t going to be inclined to change rules around that would ultimately lead to their demise. Not knowingly anyways.?

As far as judges making rulings redifinig the charter, it’s up to someone to make the challenge first, the government can then appeal or use section 33.?

Going to court to challenge the media to be included in a televised debate and or the government making up laws that could have an impact is in my opinion a big long shot of ever having any success.?

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If it ever turns out to be a breach of Charter rights to deny a party with one member, polling at 0.0004% nationwide, a podium at the televised debates then I have to wonder how we would ever get away with denying that same party a seat under PR because they failed to reach a completely arbitrary threshold.? Everybody who runs gets to be on the 15-podium debate panel because the Charter says so, but if you get 1/338th of the vote you don't get a seat because we need to keep the k00Ks out?

Here's my thinking:? allowing every party to participate equally in the debates isn't going to result in some anti-capitalist parties winning the hearts and minds of Canadians and kickstarting the revolution; in practice what we'd get is more religious cranks, niche-issue parties, and far-right parties. ?

Here's the list of current federal parties.? Whose voice is sorely missing from debates?? Whose truths and ideas are going to change everything?? If the inclusion of everyone is going to mean the incumbent PM speaks for three minutes instead of thirty, I certainly hope we get some real information that can guide our choices at the polling station and not a bunch of k00Kery that we can only vote for if we live in ONE riding out of 338.

How long are televised debates, typically?? Because 88 minutes (two hours, minus commercials) divided by 15 is about six minutes per party.

bekayne

voice of the damned wrote:

bekayne wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

FWIW, the most inclusive debate I have ever seen was in the 1986 Alberta election, when the local CTV affiliate hosted eight party leaders, including two western separatists and a Communist(Moscow-line, so I guess the Hoxhaites were pissed off)?on one stage.

With the exception of the now-defunct Representative Party, who already had seats going into the campaign, none of the?minor parties won any seats in that election.

The same happened with a federal election in the 1990's on Newsworld I think.

Hm. Interesting. I don't recall that(though I'm sure it's true).

It was 1993, found an article (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 6, 1993):

Christian Heritage party leader Heather Stilwell suggested Canada needs to put common sense back into the House of Commons.

Libertarian leader Hilliard Cox blamed ``more government, big government, taxes and regulations'' for wiping out the Canadian dream of prosperity in the last 30 years.

And Natural Law party president Neil Patterson suggested the solution to all of Canada's problems would be for 7,000 ``yogic flyers'' to get together to practise Transcendental Meditation to exude love, peace and harmony.

It was the great TV?debate?for the non-mainstream political parties Tuesday on CBC Newsworld.

Green party leader Chris Lea put it best when he said during his opening statement: ``All the people on this stage are here because the political system has failed them in some way.''

Mel?Hurtig?of the National party must have thought the system failed him in an even bigger way. He chose not to attend the one-hour session. The leader of the Abolitionist party also did not show up.

The Alberta Court of Appeal rejected last week Hurtig's request for an order that would force broadcasters to let him into the two?debates?among Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell, Liberal Jean Chretien, New Democratic Party leader Audrey McLaughlin, Reform leader Preston Manning and Bloc Quebecois leader Lucien Bouchard.

Moderator Peter Desbarats, dean of journalism at the University of Western Ontario, said Tuesday's?debate?was historic because it allowed Canada's lesser-known parties to be in the national spotlight.

voice of the damned

Thanks. But that's a little different from the CFRN debate in '86, because in '93, the non-mainstream candidates were only debating each other, not the mainstream candidates. While I understand the logistical reasons for holding that as a separate debate, it's still somewhat odd from the voters perspective, because there aren't likely a lot of people who are?wavering between some combination of Christian?Heritage, Natural Law, Libertarian, Green, and National Party, without also considering the mainstream parties as well.

That said, my sketchy recollection of the Alberta debate is that the mainstream parties got considerably more attention, at least in the televised presentation, than did the fringe parties. So, in terms of amount of exposure, Newsworld likely did a better service for the non-mainstream.

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Sean in Ottawa

I never liked also-ran debates. The debates are not just about the rights of the debators. They provide a forum on the issues that the viewers can see where the main leaders respond to each other and the issues as raised. Many times also-ran leaders have provided some of the most important exchanges that viewers have been able to draw information from about the front runners.