“Conservative leadership debate in disarray after Lewis, MacKay back out” was the gleeful CBC headline.
The state broadcaster was cheering for the failure of the first event hosted by the brand new Independent Press Gallery. Leslyn Lewis had to back out of the IPG organized Conservative leadership debate because of an illness, and Peter MacKay jumped at the first opportunity to avoid prickly conservative questions.
He was a good ear infection ally, or something.
But besides rooting for the IPG to fall on its face right out of the gate, CBC was just wrong, as usual. There was no disarray to speak of. But how would CBC even know? Unlike the CBC, we were actually there in the Toronto Centre Sheraton Conference center to cover the event. CBC was not.
The IPG quickly switched their format from a traditional debate style to a fireside chat after the loss of half the participants and the transition was absolutely stemless. You see, you can move fast in the private sector when you don't have to pull the weight of bloated government bureaucracy with you.
CBC wouldn't understand.
True North's Andrew Lawton served as the moderator and I caught up with him post-event to talk about the role of the IPG and the masterclass he put on asking the remaining candidates, Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan, tough questions conservative voters want answers to.
While no-show Peter MacKay seems to be the loser of the revamped debate, Lawton and the IPG was the real winner.