Federal Election 2021 – Federal Leaders Debate (English) Set for September 9

Vote - Elections Canada

OTTAWA – Election 2021 – The federal leader’s debate in English is set for September 9th.

Today the Leader’s Debate Commission released the information, along with the list of political party leaders who have been invited to participate.

The People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxine Bernier will not be participating. The fledgling Maverick Party is also not invited.

Commissioner David Johnston has invited the leaders of five political parties to participate in the upcoming leaders’ debates taking place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Québec on Wednesday, September 8 (French) and Thursday, September 9 (English).

The Leaders’ Debates Commission based the decision on the participation criteria set on June 22, 2021.

Leaders of the following political parties are invited to participate in both debates:

  • Bloc Québécois
  • Conservative Party of Canada
  • Green Party of Canada
  • Liberal Party of Canada
  • New Democratic Party

In order to be invited to participate in the leaders’ debates, the Commissioner decided that a leader of a political party had to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Criterion (i): on the date the general election is called, the party is represented in the House of Commons by a Member of Parliament who was elected as a member of that party; or
  • Criterion (ii): the party’s candidates for the most recent general election received at that election at least 4% of the number of valid votes cast; or
  • Criterion (iii): five days after the date the general election is called, the party receives a level of national support of at least 4%, determined by voting intention, and as measured by leading national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results.

On Monday, August 16, 2021, Commissioner David Johnston sent letters to the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada and New Democratic Party inviting them to participate in the two leaders’ debates.

All five parties meet criterion (i) and criterion (ii).

Bernier in a statement says, “I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that I will not be invited to the leaders’ debates. Several polls unveiled in recent days give the People’s Party 4, 5, and even 6% in the voting intentions. In my opinion, those that give us barely 1 or 2% have a flawed methodology and do not reflect reality at all.

“I do not blame the Commission, whose criteria were clear and objective. Rather, I blame the political establishment cartel, which refuses to debate the crucial issues we raise and has done everything to marginalize us since the founding of the PPC.

“I blame some national media, which two years ago worked with Warren Kinsella, who was paid by the Conservative Party, to portray us as racist and intolerant when that is a complete lie. Also those media that today don’t even include us in their daily coverage of the campaign, while they cover the Greens, whose support in the polls is at the same level as ours.

“The reality is, the more Canadians hear about us, the more they realize that we are the only party that offers a different view than everyone else. Support for the People’s Party continues to grow for this reason. My exclusion from the debates will not stop this wave. It is simply a confirmation of the existence of the establishment cartel. But I can make this promise to Canadians today: debate or no debate, you will keep hearing from us!”

On Friday, August 20, 2021, no additional political parties qualified under criterion (iii).

In making the above determination, the Commission selected polls that:

  • were completed and released in the window from 9 days before to 5 days after the issuance of the writs;
  • were conducted by public opinion polling organizations that are either members of the Canadian Research Insights Council or are providing public opinion data to major media organizations, using the polling organizations’ most recent publicly-reported result;
  • reported explicit information about the support level for the party;
  • were conducted on a nationally representative sample of at least 1,000 respondents; and
  • publicly released methodological information sufficient for verification of the integrity of the poll, including question wording for the vote choice question(s), fielding dates, and details on sample size, weighting criteria, and survey mode.

The Commission did not consider internal party polling or polls commissioned by a political party.

The polls used to make the determination within the 14-day timeframe are:

  • Abacus Data (August 18, 2021)
  • Angus Reid Institute (August 19, 2021)
  • EKOS Research Associates (August 20, 2021)
  • Forum Research (August 15, 2021)
  • Innovative Research Group (August 18, 2021)
  • Ipsos (August 17, 2021)
  • Leger (August 17, 2021)
  • Mainstreet Research (August 20, 2021)
  • Nanos (August 13, 2021)

The Commission determined which political parties had an average support level equal to or exceeding 4% (unrounded) of decided voters across at least two polls.

The poll results for criterion (iii) are as follows:

Party Name

Average Level of National Support

Polls included to determine average, and percentage received in each

People’s Party of Canada


  • Abacus (3.5%)
  • Angus Reid Institute (3.5%)
  • EKOS Research Associates (5.2%)
  • Forum Research (5.2%)
  • Innovative Research Group (3.0%)
  • Ipsos (0.7%)
  • Leger (2.4%)
  • Mainstreet Research (4.0%)
  • Nanos (1.9%)

Maverick Party


  • Angus Reid Institute (0.9%)
  • Innovative Research Group (0.5%)

The Commission made these decisions following its request for and receipt of advice from a Polling Advisory Group convened by Professor Peter Loewen. The group of experts are André Blais, Claire Durand, Allison Harell, Richard Johnston, Daniel Rubenson, and Laura Stephenson, in addition to Dr. Loewen.

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