03.17.2015 07:16 AM

Ottawa-based guy chimes in


 Warren Kinsella, another Ottawa-based political strategist and former Special Assistant to Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien agrees. “The NDP never wants the Green party there, the Liberals would prefer not to have the NDP there, the Tories would probably prefer to have nobody there. All of them have their preferences,” Kinsella chimes in.

I knew we moved yesterday, but not that far! (We didn’t.)

Anyway, it’s in the new iPolitics thing for today, by subscription. 

What’s your take, debating commenters? Which debate lineup works best for which leader? Which format? How many debates? Which moderator? When? Where? Bueller?

Comments are open. Back to unpacking, for me. 


  1. As many debates as possible. Let the Greens in. Seconds for comments; everyone gets the same questions; gets told to shut up if being repetitive or insulting. Bueller would be a great moderator.

    By the way, I will email you and BL about KW soon. As you know, some personal matters recently withdrew my attention to such things.

  2. SaskaGuy says:

    Sorry Warren, but as much as I love your writing and thoughts, I’ll never go to a news site that requires a subscription.

  3. Billy Boy says:

    You never let intellectual honesty get in the way of being cute and clever. For one, your characterization of the NDP position is a wholly disingenuous.

  4. SD says:

    Television broadcasters: two debates (English and French). The over-the-air channels will not show the debates except for the CBC. The news channels will air both debates.

    Stephen Harper: Three debates in time-order: Calgary (English), Montreal (French), and Toronto (Bilingual). He will just debate Mulcair and Trudeau in the first two. He will accept Elizabeth May in the third so that she can split the opposition support. Harper will constantly look at the camera when speaking.

    Tom Mulcair: Two debates (English and French). He won’t want May present. However, he will have to accept Harper’s terms if he wants to debate Harper. Mulcair will look at the camera unless attacking Harper.

    Justin Trudeau: Two debates maximum. He will accept May because she will not attack Trudeau. She will only go after Harper and Mulcair. He will attack Harper in the first debate. In the second debate, he will also go after Mulcair.

    Elizabeth May: she will want to be in any debate. However, she will be lucky if she is in one.

    Bloc leader: the other parties will not consider having the Bloc leader in any of the debates.

    Host: Steve Paikin (English).

  5. doconnor says:

    Usually any party with a seat gets to join the debate. Currently there are six parties with seats. Besides the usual three there are Green, Bloc Québécois and Forces et Démocratie with two seats each.

    Judging from their website Forces et Démocratie want to run Quebec wide, and it isn’t just a party created to get around the disadvantages of running as an independent (who can’t raise or spend money between elections).

  6. James Bow says:

    Happy unpacking. We’re surfacing from a sea of boxes ourselves over here.

  7. Matt says:

    I’m not a fan of Ms. May, however I was always of the opinion she not be included in the debates until the Green Party managed to get an ELECTED MP.

    Well, they have, so she should be included.

    But the format really needs to change. Too much talking out of turn and people all talking over each other to the point you can’t hear wha anyone is saying.

  8. Matt says:

    Should add, elected, as opposed to what happened in IIRC, 2008 when an MP crossed the floor to the Greens just before the election was called and never actually sat in the HOC as a Green Party member.

  9. Bill says:

    All leaders should be at all debates.

    And all leaders should be hooked up to lie detectors.

  10. davie says:

    Have on media debates the leaders of parties that are within 5 polling points of the % of mainstream media coverage that party and its ideas receive.

  11. Jeff Ferrier says:

    Canada ought to take back control of the debates from the parties and networks, and put it in the hands of a non-profit, non-partisan body like the United States’ Commission on Presidential Debates.

  12. GFMD says:

    The only things I am pretty sure of is that the French debate will make Harper look bad and cost him a bit of his current rise (regardless of substance, it will just be his anglo french), and that they’ve been trying to make Trudeau look so dumb that even half-way decent performance will come off like a win.

    • Barry B says:

      And conversely, if an ‘anglo’ leader struggles to speak French well and it will ‘cost’ him in Quebec debates, why should anglos in the RoC vote for a PM from Quebec where they discriminate against such anglos?

  13. Pat says:

    A vote for no Green Party side-show even if it helps the NDP. It would be like watching a concert with Hendrix, Clapton and Leo Sayer.

  14. harvey bushell says:

    Disqualified from being a moderator:

    Steve Paikin and Peter Mansbridge because of their pathetic softball interviews with the Fords last year.

    I think they should get Patrick Duffy out of retirement for one last hurrah as a moderator for a debate. I can only imagine the look on Harper’s face LOL.

    Actually, I do think Wendy Mesley would make a good moderator.

    • Andre Goulet says:

      FWIW Patrick Duffy, much-loved star of prime-time soap Dallas and mid-90s family friendly comedy Step By Step on ABC’s TGIF block, would make an excellent moderator for what’s sure to be a tough-as-nails and high-spirited debate this October. If he’s unavailable perhaps the networks can look into hiring ‘Perfect Strangers’ Bronson Pinchot, a potentially stronger host IMHO ^o^

  15. harvey bushell says:

    Opps! Of course I meant Mike Duffy.

  16. Michael says:

    Why have we set the bar so low to get into the leaders’ debate? There is nothing particularly noteworthy about having one seat in the House. Having one seat in the House does not even entitle you to ask a question in Question Period.

    All allowing the leaders of the smaller no hope parties in the debate does is take away time and oxygen from the other leaders.

    • doconnor says:

      Having one seat does allow you to ask questions in Question Period, although not every day. They even get to ask more questions then back bench government MPs and sometimes even opposition MPs.

      As the last election showed, it’s not always easy to tell who the no hope parties are, especially then the debate trigger sudden changes.

  17. Lance says:

    Warren, happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  18. kre8tv says:

    Ottawa based? Whaaa? And here I long thought you were living in the land of the monocled and top-hat folks in Toronto.

  19. Joe says:

    I’m one of those guys who believes that in a debate all sides need to be heard. Unfortunately that does not mean that I like hearing all voices at once which to my mind happens way way way too often.

  20. e.a.f. says:

    debate: all 5 party leaders, the 3 boys, the nice female at Green and whomever is leading the BQ these days. Its a national debate for what will be the P.M.’s job so they all get to talk and there ought to be at least one in the west, one in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in the Maritimes. That way we can really have a good look at all of them.

  21. Mark says:

    While they may be afraid of Mulcair looking strong against Harper, they probably believe that any vote gains Mulcair would gain from a debate would be at the Liberals’ expense. I think they are counting on Trudeau’s debating being a real point of weakness.

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