Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A proposed leaders’ debate on foreign policy already has one confirmed participant, with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer quickly accepting an invitation to participate in the Munk Debates event scheduled for Oct. 1.

The Munk Debates, which organizes several events on different issues each year, announced Thursday its plans for a federal election debate involving the leaders of the Liberals, the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party.

On its website, the group says the event will go ahead once all four party leaders confirm their attendance, with a Sept. 24 deadline for replies. The website includes a petition aimed at pressuring the four to take part in the foreign policy-focused debate.

Story continues below advertisement

“In a normal election debate, foreign policy often becomes an afterthought,” Rudyard Griffiths, the organizer of the Munk Debates, said in an interview.

Griffiths, who will also be the prospective event’s moderator, said the current global context makes a debate centred specifically on foreign policy even more relevant now than in the last election.

“We are living through a once-in-a-generation period of global tumult,” he said.

Scheer jumped at the chance to debate foreign policy – an area in which he contends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shown “weakness and poor judgment.”

A spokesperson for the Liberal Party said Trudeau has not yet decided whether to participate, though he has committed to two official televised leaders’ debates. The NDP said it would respond to the invitation once work on the Jagmeet Singh’s campaign schedule is complete.

The Green Party did not immediately respond to requests to confirm whether Elizabeth May would participate in the proposed Munk debate.

Soon after the announcement, People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier critiqued the decision not to offer him an invitation.

Story continues below advertisement

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesperson for the PPC said the decision was a “blatant betrayal of the democratic process” and the invited leaders “will have nothing to debate.”

The spokesperson said excluding the PPC meant the debate would not reflect the views of many Canadians who share Bernier’s perspective, which is different from the “homogeneous” beliefs of the four invited leaders.

The PPC cited its opposition to the United Nations and its promise to abolish development aid as examples of its unique policy positions.

Griffiths said his organization has a responsibility to “strike a balance” between providing Canadians with a look at the views of parties they might vote for while also keeping the debate manageable and informative.

He emphasized that the invited leaders represent parties supported by roughly 90 per cent of Canadians, based on current polling. His organization had to draw a line somewhere on who could be included, carefully balancing the value to voters with the constraints of actually holding the event, he added.

“It would be ideal to have the leaders of every party on this stage, but that’s no longer a debate, that’s something else,” Griffiths said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are not the only debate happening, so we don’t have to be all things to all people,” he added.

Since 2008, the Munk Debates said it has provided a civil, substantive forum for leading thinkers to discuss the pressing issues of our time.

The Munk Debate’s website says the debates are financially underwritten by the Canadian charitable foundation, Aurea, founded in 2006 by Peter and Melanie Munk to support institutions involved in the study and development of public policy in Canada.

The Munk Debates held a foreign policy debate during the 2015 campaign, when controversy over traditional network-organized debates meant English-language events were limited to smaller settings.

This time, a Munk debate will have to co-exist with the two official debates to be produced by a broad partnership of media organizations and organized by an independent commission.

It’s possible Bernier will be allowed to participate in those events, currently scheduled for Oct. 7 and 10 in the Ottawa area. His attendance will depend on a determination by the debates commissioner, former Governor General David Johnston, on whether PPC candidates have a chance at winning seats this fall.

Story continues below advertisement

Similar to the two official debates, the Munk debate will be broadcast for free online, and the feed will be provided at no charge to media outlets who want to carry it.

Unlike most televised debates in Canada, the proposed Munk event would take place before a live audience at Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall. Tickets would only be available to paid members of the Munk Debates, something Griffiths said is meant to avoid disruptions by partisans.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies