In a shocking press release, the Independent Press Gallery of Canada (IPG) has announced it will be cancelling a planned debate between Conservative Party leadership contenders. Three of the six candidates, namely Roman Baber, Jean Charest and Leslyn Lewis, had all confirmed their attendance — but the other three, Pierre Poilievre, Patrick Brown and Scott Aitchison, did not.
In an email to IPG members, IPG President Candice Malcolm said:
"the Independent Press Gallery of Canada has cancelled its planned Conservative leadership debate due to an insufficient number of candidates participating.
Our goal in hosting this debate was to give candidates the opportunity to address the important issues facing Canadians that are overlooked, ignored or misconstrued by the legacy media and in the official debates. This would have given candidates the unique opportunity to speak directly to the growing number of Canadians, and especially Conservative party members, who don’t trust the legacy media and consume their news entirely from independent media.
Unfortunately, this vision of an independent debate did not come to fruition."
It's no surprise that Patrick Brown refused to attend. He refused to attend the Canada Strong and Free Network debate that all other candidates participated in. What was surprising, however, was Pierre Poilievre's refusal to participate.
This cancellation comes days after Poilievre praised independent media on the Jordan B. Peterson podcast. It seems as if Poilievre is repeating platitudes to the Conservative Party base, but when given the chance to show he is serious about his statements, he has so far disappointed.
Poilievre is working with many of the same people that were behind Erin O'Toole's campaign and Andrew Scheer's. Both O'Toole and Scheer were accused of saying one thing while running in their leadership elections, and then once leader, governing in a different way — flip-flops that arguably cost those Conservative leaders their jobs. It's almost reminiscent of Patrick Brown's disgraced time as leader of the Ontario PC Party.
How can Poilievre say he will defund the CBC and mean it, while being unwilling to go to the IPG debate? Poilievre has a lot to do in order to prove he is serious about being a freedom-oriented Conservative, and his refusal to attend the IPG debate is another step in the wrong direction.