Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I have a series of questions, all of which stem from Mr. Perrault's excellent presentation. I thought it was one of the most thoughtful presentations I've heard on any subject before this committee for some time. But before I do that, I just want to respond editorially to Mr. Graham's inquiry about local debates.
There are no formal standards for local debates, as he knows. If you look around, you'll discover that they take on a very similar character across ridings and within a riding, despite the fact that these groups clearly don't talk to each other. The scheduling of debates in my own very large, rural riding confirms this. We are constantly driving back and forth from the far ends of the riding. That being said, they do have a natural symmetry.
I just wanted to say that once you get into having some kind of central control, you have to start getting into centralized criteria such as accessibility. In a rural riding like mine, or yours—our Chief Electoral Officer can confirm this—trying to find suitable polling locations that are accessible and meet all the relevant criteria is a logistical nightmare. We frequently fudge on that, the chambers of commerce and so on that organize these things. I think allowing that fudge factor to continue to exist is the right way of handling things. A decentralized system is the best way of achieving it. Those are my thoughts.
My questions are for Mr. Perrault.
Let me start with page 3 of your presentation. You suggested there are three important objectives that need to be met. You said that debates should be organized in a manner that is fair, non-partisan, and transparent, and that debates should be as broadly accessible as possible to the public. You then made specific reference to making sure they are available to persons with disabilities. I imagine you're thinking primarily of visual and auditory disabilities, although you may have others in mind as well. The third criterion was that they should inform the electorate of the range of political options they have to choose from. I assume that is a reference to the various political parties.