Chris Selley: Leaders’ debate fiasco is Red Bull for cynics

I am rarely accused, least of all by myself, of not being cynical enough about politics. But the record shows that as recently as Aug. 9, I held out some hope that the leaders’ debates during the upcoming federal election campaign could continue in the spirit of innovation and enterprise that began four years ago, when we suddenly had five debates instead of the usual two, organized and moderated by parties other than the usual consortium of broadcasters and their journalists.

I harboured this strange inkling, that something in Canadian politics might actually turn out better than possible, despite very ominous portents. The Liberals created the Leaders’ Debate Commission, led by former governor-general (and two-time federal leaders’ debate moderator) David Johnston, after the last election to fix a problem that was very difficult to identify — 2015 was the high-water mark for debates, after all — and it did nothing but reinvent the wheel.

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