Leaders' Debate Commissioner David Lloyd Johnston confirmed that federal leaders debates scheduled for September will not include People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier. The Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat, Green and Bloc Quebecois leaders are all expected to participate.
The independent and non-partisan Leaders' Debate Commission (LDC) determines criteria for admission to the leaders debate. The criteria are established by a panel of experts consisting of seven university professors from across Canada. To qualify for the leaders debate, a party leader must meet at least one of these three criteria:
- The party has at least one MP in the House of Commons who was elected as a member of that party.
- The party's candidates in the 2019 federal election received at least four per cent of the total number of valid votes cast.
- The party has a national support level of at least four per cent, five days after the date the election is called. That is measured by leading national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recently publicly reported results.
Party leader Maxime Bernier lost his seat in the 2019 Federal Election, and according to the calculations of the Debates Commission, the People's Party of Canada average level of national support currently stands at 3.27%, below the 4% threshold they've established.
In a statement responding to the news, Beriner said he "is dissapointed, but not surprised. I do not blame the commission, whose criteria were clear and objective," he said. "Rather, I blame the political establishment cartel, which refuses to debate the crucial issues we raise and has done everything to marginalize us since the founding of the PPC."
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he did not think Bernier should be invited to the debates on the grounds that he is "opposed to science" and has put out "dangerous rhetoric."