Canada’s broadcast consortium has settled on two October dates for its televised election debate — but the prime minister won’t be in attendance.
A news release on Thursday confirmed participation from the NDP, Liberals and Green party for the 1.5-hour English-language debate on Oct. 8. It will air at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Bloc Quebecois will join the other parties the day before on Oct. 7 for the French-language debate. The Bloc wanted to take part in the English debates as well, but was turned down by the consortium.
An extra 30 minutes will be added to the French match-up due to the addition of the Bloc, and it will run from 8 to 10 p.m. ET.
Conservative Party communications director Cory Hann told The Huffington Post Canada the number of debates they’ve agreed to participate in — up to five — is a “record in modern Canadian political history.”
He did not explicitly state if Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains unequivocal about his absence from the consortium-organized debates.
“We’ve already confirmed debates with Maclean’s/Rogers, Munk Debates, TVA, and Globe and Mail and Google, and will confirm another French debate later,” Hann said.
“As we’ve said all along, we believe the diversity and innovation inherent in different debate sponsors and approaches is valuable.”
The broadcast consortium is made of up TV networks including the CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV News, Global News and Tele-Quebec. The group promises “unprecedented reach” with its upcoming debates, which they say will be made available across all platforms.
Earlier in the year, the Conservatives made headlines after turning down a debate invitation from the TV consortium. Instead, the party accepted debate proposals from Maclean’s/Rogers, the Munk Debates, The Globe and Mail and French-language broadcaster TVA.
Conservative campaign spokesperson Kory Teneycke told HuffPost earlier this year the party was willing to participate in up to five debates, at most.
With files from Althia Raj
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