Post-debate roundup· September 25, 2015
Health care, the right to die with dignity, the Senate, ISIL and the economy were all featured in the French-language debate last night.
Each of the leaders projected a strong and calculated image to Canadians as a result of very solid rehearsals and preparations. The extemporaneous nature of the debate was refreshing — even though the moderator and audience were clearly frustrated with some questions being totally derailed by the leaders. Likely the most egregious example: Trudeau talking economics during the assisted dying portion. It almost felt like Question Period in the House of Commons.
The feistiest clashes of the night were between Mulcair and Harper, with one particular, on the matter of the Niqab, being a moment to remember.
The return of Gilles Duceppe was something to behold last night. A shadow of his former self, the Bloc leader seemed to try anything and everything to project relevance in a province where he’s increasingly being seen as yesterday’s man.
Elizabeth May again proved herself worthy of the national stage, exemplified by her response to the ongoing Bloc/CPC fixation with the niqab.
“We’re in the middle of an election campaign and we have real challenges in Canada. What is the impact of the niqab on the economy? What is the impact of the niqab on climate change? What is the impact of the niqab on the jobless? It is a false debate meant as distraction from the real challenges for Canada.”
Observers and opinion makers are split on who won the debate. The next round of polling will be very interesting.
- CBC: The National’s At Issue Panel on the French-Language Debate
- Vancouver Sun: Who gets to govern? If none of the federal parties wins a majority, a variety of scenarios could unfold
- Canadian Press: Selected quotes from Thursday night’s French-language leaders’ debate
- CBC: Why is NRC’s fuel price report suspended during election?
- The Star: Canadians have had a steady diet of public opinion polls. Are they for the dogs?
- Globe and Mail: Liberals will not count revenue from proposed marijuana tax in fiscal platform
Chantal Hébert’s view on last night’s debate is right on the mark. She rightly points out the prime minister “had one of the easiest rides an incumbent has ever lucked into on a debate podium.” She suggests “if Stephen Harper wins his long-shot bid for a fourth consecutive mandate next month, it will be in no small part because his main opposition rivals were too busy tearing a strip off each other to remind voters of why regime change would be a good idea.”