Putting Bernier in debates will help make Scheer's extremist associations seem reasonable - 2019-09-16
One of the central fallacies of modern capitalism is the idea that the market is largely free from interference and operates by a set of axiomatic rules codified in the discipline of economics like the "law of supply and demand." Anyone experienced with the economic relations of the 21st century knows this to be nonsense. Modern capitalism is a massive set of exceptions, loopholes, subsidies, and arbitrary restrictions justified by a galaxy of nonsensical claims and special pleading. Essentially, when those wielding large-scale state and economic power reach a consensus about what should happen, laws are changed, rules are amended, new categories are introduced and old categories are abolished. All this became nakedly obvious to anyone watching after the 2007-08 financial crash.
But this is not just the way our "free" market works; it is how our "free" elections work, as exemplified in Canada's oligopoly of broadcasters. Just as in the free market, here is what happens: a group of financially self-interested elites get together and craft a set of rules for the next leaders' debate that delicately balance two things: (1) the debate not seeming so egregiously unfair as to lose all legitimacy and (2) the debate showcasing the candidates and biasing the election towards the political outcomes they desire or, at least, find most acceptable.
Back in the '90s, when I was with the B.C. Green Party, we met our local broadcast consortium's requirements before every debate: 1986, run more candidates than a party that has been in the legislature in the past 10 years; 1991, run candidates in a majority of ridings; 1996, run in a majority of ridings and call your spokesperson your "party leader." Yet each time, the requirements were changed during the writ period because they had actually been designed by broadcasters who thought we would either be unable to meet them or refuse to do so. But, in 2001, the Greens were admitted to the debate, even though no new criteria had been established or met.