The media has described Saturday's provincial Liberal leadership debate as a "group hug," "tame" and a "colossal dud." But that wasn't just by accident. It was by party design. Despite efforts from leadership candidates Kevin Falcon and Mike de Jong to "juice up" the debate format, the "revised" rules for that event allowed for "no formal rebuttal opportunities" and "no Qs" from the convention floor. The candidates were also provided a list of the topics they'd be asked about - with just 90 seconds allocated for responses. And there were even restrictions on the partisan material their supporters were allowed to bring to the debate. "No large signage, placards, balloons, or other materials that would block views of other attendees," read an internal party document exclusively obtained by Public Eye. The following is a complete copy.
Debate Format Update:
Based on agreement from candidate representatives, we have updated our debate format as follows. The format of the Vancouver debate is as follows:
Opening statements (4-min, draw for position)
Eight questions from moderator to subsets of candidates. (up to 90-seconds response, no Qs from the floor)
Each question will be asked of three candidates, rotated sequentially, based on opening statement draw.
Subsets for question & answers: 123, 456, 234, 561, 345, 612, 456, 123
Closing statements (2-min, reverse order of opening)
Partisan material allowed, but no large signage, placards, balloons, or other materials that would block views of other attendees.
No formal rebuttal opportunities
Confirmed Moderator: Vancouver: Graham Bruce, Former Cabinet Minister
MLA Topics (Random will not correspond to order of subsets):
Seniors and health care funding
Regional economic development