EDITORIAL – Bernier should be included in federal leaders’ debates

Maxime Bernier. (Image: Facebook)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE PEOPLE’S PARTY OF CANADA and its leader Maxime Bernier aren’t every Canadian’s cup of tea, and I’m one of them.

But he should be heard.

The federal Leaders’ Debates Commission has decided to exclude Bernier from a pair of leaders’ debates in the runup to the October federal election, thereby robbing him of an important platform and robbing voters of an opportunity to figure him out.

Rationale for the refusal is that, in the opinion of the commission, the PPC doesn’t have a reasonable chance of electing more than one member.

That conclusion is based on opinion polls, including websites that aggregate various poll results.

The commission might reconsider if things change between now and the debates, and has invited Bernier to list three to five ridings by Aug. 23 he figures he can win.

In the meantime, five parties have been invited — the Liberals, Conservatives, Bloc, NDP and Greens.

To be sure, not all party leaders can be included. There are many with absolutely no chance of electing anybody, ranging from the Animal Protection Party to the Marxist-Leninist Party to that venerable standby, the Rhinoceros Party. They exist for a lark or to espouse some fringe philosophy or other.

But Bernier and his PPC aren’t among them. Though he wasn’t elected under the PPC banner — since the party didn’t exist in the last election — he holds a seat now. He is a high-profile leader with a credentialed political background.

True, he holds some controversial views, such as ending multiculturalism (what he calls the “cult of diversity”), restricting immigration, redefining hate speech and abolishing subsidies for green technology.

But the issues in themselves are mainstream, and Bernier’s voice should be heard, whether or not we agree with him.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7843 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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