Clumsy format, too many moderators made 2021 election debates less effective: report

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The federal debates commission says the next federal election's events should have a simpler format and better moderation to focus more on what the leaders say than what they are asked.

The Leaders' Debates Commission's final report on the 2021 televised events said they were not as informative as they should have been, largely because of a clumsy format that left leaders too little time to explain their positions.

The commission also seems to agree with feedback from many Canadians that there were too many moderators on the stage.

The 2021 English-language debate became a lightning rod in Quebec after moderator Shachi Kurl asked Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet why he defended "discriminatory" provincial laws about religious symbols and the French language, which she said marginalized minorities and anglophones.

The question became one of the most memorable moments of the election, with Blanchet accusing Kurl of calling all of Quebec racist and Premier François Legault demanding an apology.

The commission recommends the next moderators be selected following expert consultations, and the overall format decided by the commission itself well in advance of the election.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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