Representatives from five national parties took to the stage for the Catholic debate on Oct. 3, 2019 in Toronto. Photo by Michael Swan

COVID cancels Toronto archdiocese debate

  • August 27, 2021

In a quick, COVID-constrained, snap federal election, the Archdiocese of Toronto has decided against trying to stage the kind of big, public, regional all-candidates event that was a highlight of the 2019 election campaign.

The October 2019 all-candidates event attracted about 1,000 people to a downtown venue, in addition to a large viewership on YouTube and Facebook. But this year is different, said Archdiocese of Toronto communications manager Mark Brosens.

“COVID-19 protocols make it impossible for Catholics to fill the John Bassett Theatre, like we did in 2019,” said Brosens. “And the energy of that room was a really special part of that debate. Also, the financial challenges of the pandemic have resulted in limited staffing in many departments of the Archdiocese of Toronto, so we don’t have the human resources to plan a debate at this time.”

That doesn’t mean the Church is backing off of its commitment to democratic engagement. Just wait until next time.

“We are planning to organize our first-ever Ontario provincial election debate in 2022,” Brosens said.

The archdiocese continues to encourage parishes to get out the vote whenever and however possible.

“In most Greater Toronto Area ridings, Catholics make up a large portion of the population, so our prayerful votes could significantly influence this, or any, election,” said Brosens.

The Church in Toronto is also promoting the election discernment tools of Catholic Conscience, the organization that helped organize and promote the 2019 event.

“Parishes in the archdiocese are welcome to share Catholic Conscience’s materials or any other non-partisan resources,” Brosens said.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.