Politics

CBC/Radio-Canada part of media group that will host leaders' debates in next federal election

CBC/Radio-Canada is part of a partnership of news organizations that will produce two debates during the next federal election, according to the Leaders' Debates Commission.

English and French debates to be broadcast nationally for free during election campaign

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and then-Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer are seen taking part in the federal leaders' French-language debate in Gatineau, Que., on Oct. 10, 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

A partnership of news organizations that includes CBC/Radio-Canada will produce two debates during the next federal election, according to the Leaders' Debates Commission.

The independent commission announced Thursday that the Debate Broadcast Group will be the official producer of the federal leaders' debates — one in each official language. 

The partnership is made up of:

  • CBC News.
  • CTV News.
  • Global News.
  • APTN News.
  • Radio-Canada.
  • Noovo.
  • La Presse.
  • Le Devoir.
  • L'actualité.
  • Les Coops de l'information (Le Soleil, Le Droit, La Tribune, Le Nouvelliste, Le Quotidien et La Voix de l'Est).

The English debate will be produced, promoted and distributed nationally by CBC News, CTV News, Global News and APTN News. 

The French debate will be produced, promoted and distributed by Radio-Canada, Noovo, La Presse, Le Devoir, L'actualité and Les Coops de l'information. 

Both debates will be broadcast for free and also carried by partners OMNI Television, CPAC, Toronto Star and on third-party platforms.

The debates will be available in English, French, some Indigenous languages and non-official languages, plus American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language (known in French as Langue des Signes Québécoise), closed captioning and described video.

No election call yet

The dates of the debates depend on when the next federal election is called. Currently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leads a minority government in the House of Commons after the Liberal Party won the most seats in the 2019 election.

The Liberal government formed the Leaders' Debates Commission in 2018 to organize officially sanctioned leaders' debates after the 2015 campaign saw leaders, including then-prime minister Stephen Harper and then-opposition leader Tom Mulcair, decide not to appear in traditional contests organized by a consortium of broadcasters. Instead, other media outlets, foundations and technology companies organized their own debates, with varying levels of participation.

review of the 2019 federal election leaders' debates argued the Leaders' Debates Commission should be separated more fully from government and that the criteria for participation should be reworked.

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