CTV holding Montreal mayor debate on Sunday; CBC to follow

Updated with post-debate comments.

It’s not often that CTV Montreal has special programming anymore, a fact that has left many people who remember the good ol days of CFCF-12 less than impressed.

But Sunday, Oct. 6, saw one of those special programs: A debate between the three leading candidates for mayor of Montreal: Denis Coderre, Marcel Côté and Richard Bergeron.

The debate was one hour, commercial-free from 6pm to 7pm on Sunday, Oct. 6. It will be moderated by anchor Mutsumi Takahashi. It was also livestreamed on its website and simulcast on CJAD, which is now also owned by Bell Media.

The debate did not take the place of the regular CTV Montreal newscast, which instead was moved up by an hour so it ran from 5pm to 6pm.

Where’s Joly?

You might notice that the name of Mélanie Joly is not listed above. She wasn’t invited.

“We made the call, essentially using a similar logic that the consortium applied to Elizabeth May in the last federal debate: The threshold is having elected members,” CTV Montreal news director Jed Kahane explained to me. “She would surely be a dynamic and interesting participant;  but that was not the criteria we used.”

Choosing who will participate in a televised debate is always a controversial issue. Limiting to those parties with elected members is a good way of filtering out the no-chance candidates. But it also rewards incumbency, and this is an election where Montrealers are really looking for change. Only one of the three leaders invited to the debate (Bergeron) currently sits on Montreal city council.

Montreal currently has 12 official candidates for mayor, seven of whom are listed as independents. (Michel Brûlé is the only other one with a party.)

Though the first televised debate included Joly, it looks like the broadcasters are moving toward three-way debates for the rest of the campaign.

Or they did until a poll came out on the morning after the debate showing Joly with 16% support, only one point behind Côté. That prompted Radio-Canada to change its mind and invite Joly to its debate despite previously excluding her.

Even Kahane admits that had this poll come out before the debate, CTV might have acted differently.

“We had decided that if she made a very strong showing in the polls we’d have to reconsider our decision,” he said. “This first major poll came too late for our debate, but I see it’s caused others to take another look, as we surely would have”.

The format

The debate took place at CTV Montreal, and included pre-recorded questions from the public. Beyond that, Kahane wouldn’t give details, such as where exactly the candidates would be. (In the “cozy corner” interview area? Behind the anchor desk? Somewhere else?)

“Tune in to see,” he said.

As it turned out, the candidates stood on the floor near the windows, each with a transparent podium (and a fourth for Takahashi).

CTV Montreal hasn’t hosted that many debates. Federal debates happen in Ottawa, and provincial debates are low-key affairs because the Parti Québécois doesn’t bother trying to appeal to anglophones. During the last provincial election there was a short sit-down debate with members of the three main parties that was done during a noon newscast.

The debate is posted online if you missed it, along with post-debate scrums.

Among those covering the CTV debate:

CBC coming too

CBC Montreal is also working on a debate, set for Oct. 22. McGill will be hosting it, two weeks after their French debate. Joly is being invited to that one.

The debate, which will air live from 5-6pm on television, radio and online, will be moderated by Andrew Chang.

23 thoughts on “CTV holding Montreal mayor debate on Sunday; CBC to follow

  1. Media Man

    It’s too bad for Joly, as she probably has or is the best chance to be Mayor and not be part of any dirty past whether in opposition or having members like the other guys who were in that administration..

    Could it be that the broadcasters are taking sides, Steve ??

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Could it be that the broadcasters are taking sides, Steve ??

      They have to draw the line somewhere. I think if CTV was taking sides they wouldn’t have invited the PQ to the last debate.

      I’m not saying I agree with the decision to exclude Joly. But what criteria would you use that would accept her but not the eight other candidates for mayor? (Or would you have a 12-person debate?)

      Reply
  2. Marc

    Could it be that the broadcasters are taking sides

    Asked and answered.

    But what criteria would you use

    The ones who are running the fullest slates of candidates, I guess.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The ones who are running the fullest slates of candidates, I guess.

      According to the latest figures, Joly’s party is running candidates in only about half the possible seats. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad criteria for judging debate-worthiness.

      Reply
  3. Kate M.

    Hey, wait a second. That business about “no elected members” is absolutely bogus.

    Neither Coderre nor Côté has elected members either! They had nothing to do with municipal politics back in 2009 and nothing to do with the administration of the city or any borough between then and this campaign.

    Coderre’s party didn’t even exist in 2009, and the party Côté took over had a different name, a different leader and was arguably not really of the same political stripe, given that Louise Harel is a péquiste and Côté is a federalist.

    Absolute bogosity. Joly should be up there.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Neither Coderre nor Côté has elected members either!

      Members of their party are currently sitting on city and borough councils. You can split hairs all you want, but the meaning of that criterion is obvious to me.

      Reply
  4. Batman

    I think if you have a section entitled “Where’s Joly”, she probably has a high enough profile to be included.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think if you have a section entitled “Where’s Joly”, she probably has a high enough profile to be included.

      Michel Brûlé has a high profile too. Does that mean he should be included?

      Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Do we know if it will be on the net?

      Good question. At the very least you can stream the audio from CJAD’s website.

      UPDATE: I’ve just been told it will in fact be livestreamed online at CTV Montreal’s website.

      Reply
  5. Dilbert

    So is CTV Montreal (not CFCF, they are long gone) going to have to import all the equipment again to do this special locally produced show, which will lead to a write up about how amazing it all is?

    Reply
  6. William

    Too bad they didn’t solicit question from us poor taxpayers.

    I guess “What is your favourite colour?” will carry the day

    Reply
  7. Ted Bird

    “She would surely be a dynamic and interesting participant, but that is not the criteria we used.” Not much call for dynamic and interesting when you can get away with safe and predictable.

    Reply
  8. Steve W

    According to the CJAD website, on their CJAD schedule grid their coverage of CTV Montreal Mayoral Ddebate starts at 5:45pm today. So they got 15 minutes of extra coverage, before simulcast with CTV Montreal at 6pm?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      According to the CJAD website, on their CJAD schedule grid their coverage of CTV Montreal Mayoral Ddebate starts at 5:45pm today. So they got 15 minutes of extra coverage, before simulcast with CTV Montreal at 6pm?

      That would make sense.

      Reply
  9. Steve W

    Wonder if CBC Montreal TV & Global Montreal will be having their reporter covering the CTV Montreal Mayoral Debate tonight on their newscasts.

    Reply
  10. Steve W

    Any idea for Friday’s Gazette/CJAD Radio debate later today, who will be the moderator(or people asking the questions) to the Montreal Mayoral candidates? Don’t see it mentioned anywhere by The Gazette or CJAD radio. It seems that Dan Delmar is involved in some way. Maybe it’s James Mennie who works at The Gazette & also does some work at CJAD radio.

    Reply

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