Leaders being grilled in leaders’ debate
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Now that the entire country is focused on an election that most did not want, especially during the fourth wave of the pandemic, the party leaders are in full force presenting their vision of Canada’s future post-pandemic.
The Federal Election this year is an election like never before. It could have been called when there are not a lot of cases of COVID or after the pandemic ends. The first few weeks of the campaign may not have had a lot of attention since it happened during the end of summer.
Now that the entire country is focused on an election that most did not want, especially during the fourth wave of the pandemic, the party leaders are in full force presenting their vision of Canada’s future post-pandemic. For some candidates, they were introducing themselves for the first time in the Federal Leaders Debate. The debate happened on September 9 at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Québec, and aired on all the major channels at 6 PM; a later time for the debate to air than usual. It was moderated by Shachi Kurl, head of the Angus Reid Institute, and who previously moderated the debate in the 2020 BC Provincial Election.
The party leaders also answered questions from undecided voters and journalists including CTV News’s Evan Solomon, CBC News’s Rosemary Barton, Global News’s Mercedes Stephenson, and APTN News’s Melissa Ridgen. Most of the party leaders were in the debate including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet. The topics in this debate were similar to topics in previous debates but with a section on Coronavirus relief.
The structure of the debate led to confusion as to who should talk when questions were asked. This led to some interrupting other party leaders, preventing them from getting their point across, and Kurl frequently interrupting to restore order. Blanchet complained that he did not have a lot of time to talk and that Kurl and the journalists were not treating him fairly with their frequent questions about Québec’s secularism laws. This led to a confrontation where he called Paul’s invitation to get lessons on racism an insult.
While Blanchet’s presence added to the conversation, he asked the rest of the party leaders to define certain English words at times. They were also asked about their own problems. Kurl and the journalists made sure to interrogate Singh on his optimistic ideas which did not have specific plans; Trudeau was pressed on his environment plan which questioned which party has the best plan for the environment; O’Toole faced pressure about pulling the country backwards and his opinions that do not align with his party’s and Paul faced similar questions regarding her leadership.
Some on Twitter said they wished they could vote for the moderator. Trudeau spoke the most and did a great job in my opinion, though he looked like he was answering questions on the spot a lot. Singh did a great job as well and looked honest. Hopefully, he will give more information about his plans.
O’Toole still looked optimistic but not friendly and stiff at times. Paul had a lot of great ideas and her performance in the debate could lead to a Green wave not only in Québec but maybe the rest of the country; despite their lack of candidates in every riding. Overall, the Federal Leaders Debate did get everyone talking and I think it could change the outcome of the election this year which is still too close to call.
The future is in your hands. So, go vote.