Politics

How to re-watch the federal leaders' debates

Six federal party leaders will face off in the French-language debate tonight. Here's how to watch.

English-language debate was Oct. 7; French Oct.10

Debates have been a hallmark of Canadian elections since 1968, but what effect do they actually have on voters? Strategists will tell you they’re critical to elections and a lot of planning goes into them. Researchers, on the other hand, say there’s evidence they can change votes, though often they don't. 8:39

On Monday, Oct. 7, six federal party leaders faced off in an English-language debate. 

On Thursday, Oct. 10, the same leaders participated in a French-language debate.

Participants included:

  • Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer
  • NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
  • Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
  • Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet 
  • People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier

Where

Both events were held in front of a non-partisan live audience at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., overlooking Parliament Hill.

How to watch or listen

The debates are produced and distributed by the nine media outlets that make up the Canadian Debate Production Partnership, with additional distribution from other partners. 

This page will be updated with links to streams as they become available.

English debate

The English debate was held Monday, Oct. 7.

You can re-watch the entire English debate on CBC Gem by following this link.

To read about and watch key moments from the English leaders' debate, follow this link.

French debate

You can re-watch the entire French debate on CBC Gem by following this link.

To read about and watch key moments from the French leaders' debate, follow this link.

The leaders were be asked questions submitted by Canadians as well as from the journalists moderating the debates.

We acknowledge the support of interpreters in sign languages, official languages and Indigenous languages, for services provided through the Translation Bureau and Public Services and Procurement Canada. 

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 proposals, 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. 

The Canadian Debate Production Partnership comprises: 

These are the additional distribution partners: 

During the 2015 election, the Conservatives refused to participate in an English consortium debate, opting for alternative formats and triggering a debate about debates. The snub resulted in the creation of the Leaders' Debate Commission.

The commission decided parties had to meet at least two of three requirements to participate in the debates:

  • Have a member in the House of Commons elected under their party's banner.
  • Be running candidates in at least 90 per cent of all ridings.
  • Have candidates who secured at least four per cent of the vote in the last election or have a legitimate chance of winning seats based on polling data and the discretion of the debate commissioner.

Initially, Bernier did not qualify to participate in this election's debates, but after sending more information about his party's potentially competitive candidates, the commission changed its mind.

"I consider that more than one candidate of your party has a legitimate chance to be elected," Johnston wrote to Bernier.

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