There was supposed to be a federal election debate on foreign policy, but it has been cancelled because Justin Trudeau will not be in attendance. The prime minister will only be participating in three electoral debates this year, down from five in 2015. Justin Trudeau's Munk debate cancellation has sparked criticism online.
The Munk Debates tweeted that the debate has been cancelled because of Trudeau’s "refusal to debate."
Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, said that they "never had the courtesy of a formal response from the Liberal Party" in regards to Trudeau's participation, and therefore had to cancel the debate, which was scheduled for the evening of October 1 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
Trudeau was the only political candidate who did not respond to the invitation.
"It’s a shame that voters won’t have the opportunity to hear political leaders discussing issues of global importance because Justin Trudeau was too afraid to defend his record of failure," Conservative campaign spokesman Simon Jefferies told The Globe and Mail.
Spokespeople for the other political parties had similar sentiments about Trudeau's refusal to debate foreign policy.
The Munk Debates had also previously started a petition to get Trudeau to participate.
In an email to Narcity, Carlene Variyan, Media Relations representative for the Liberal Party of Canada, said, "Prime Minister Trudeau will take part in both debates organized by the Leaders’ Debates Commission. The Commission was established after the last election where the governing party tried to game the system and make sure the fewest number of Canadians engaged in the debates. We think that’s wrong."
"The Commission debates will be widely distributed on television, radio, digital and social streaming platforms and reach the largest possible audience. We have also confirmed the Liberal Leader’s participation in the TVA debate, as the only major Canadian network not included in the Commission. We hope and encourage TVA to consider participating in the Commission’s debates in the next election."
On Twitter, some say that Trudeau is less open and transparent than he was during the 2015 election. Others say that politicians skip debates all the time.
Here are some public reactions to the Trudeau no-show:
As you can see, Canadians are divided on their opinions about this.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Conservatives are in the lead as of today, September 24, according to the CBC poll tracker: