Liberals to establish commission for independent leaders’ debates

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OTTAWA — Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says the government is establishing an independent leaders’ debates commission to the tune of $5.5-million.

She says the commission’s initial mandate will involve organizing two leaders’ debates, one in each official language for the 2019 election.

Gould says the government has nominated former governor general David Johnston to lead the commission, adding he is planning to appear before a Commons committee to speak with MPs about his work.

She says the commission will work to make sure leaders’ debates are accessible to all Canadians on different communication platforms.

The commission’s mandate includes a requirement to report to Parliament following the 2019 debates to outline findings and draft recommendations to create a permanent commission.

During the 2015 election campaign amid much controversy over format, Justin Trudeau promised to create an arm’s-length body to organize future leaders’ debates.

The Canadian Press