Skip to content

Guest Editorial: Civility needed in election campaigns

Joyce Walter's guest editorial from this week's issue of The Moose Jaw Express
Guest Editorial by Joyce Walter

Is it possible to achieve civility in the throes of debates over such topics as religion and politics?
One would hope so, but the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden showed little of what is meant by civility, defined in writings by philosophers as “an authentic respect for others that requires time, presence, willingness to engage in genuine discourse, and intention to seek common ground that governs both speech and behaviour toward others.”
Brutish bullying and name calling (even if clown might have been an apt description) did nothing to improve anyone’s opinion of political figures during that 90 minutes, time that cannot be gotten back.
It is unlikely that such behaviour will be witnessed in a forthcoming debate between Scott Moe and Ryan Meili, leaders respectively of the Saskatchewan Party and Saskatchewan NDP. Neither is known for this type of boorish behaviour, even in the heat of the moment that often comes with an election campaign.
Hopefully, the moderator will be equipped with a shut-off button should either man go off the rails and start interrupting and shouting. A bit of vim and vinegar is acceptable but voters want to hear the facts, just the facts please, and not some fairy tales that have been written as speaking points for each platform.
The provincial television debate is scheduled for Oct. 14 from 6:05 p.m. to 7 p.m. on most local stations and via live-streaming on websites of the province’s two largest daily newspapers. Viewership, I suspect, will not be overwhelming.
On the local election scene, at the time that this editorial was being written, there had not been any word of a local debate for mayoralty candidates. Nor was there any word on a forum, virtually or otherwise, for council nominees.
The COVID-19 situation has put a crimp on regular election practices, such as public forums with candidates asked specific questions with answers required within a certain time. Hopefully some agency with the IT capability will dream up an idea that would allow such interaction so voters have a better idea of the positions of candidates on a variety of topics of local importance.
Civil debate and exchange of opinions should be the primary focus for provincial and municipal campaigns. Personal sniping and name-calling would be frowned upon by both levels of the electorate.
Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks