The first leaders’ debate: the battle for small advantages
Stephen Maher: Trudeau and O’Toole, two leaders who are fighting for their political careers, stood out in a debate that may have lacked substance but no drama
Wednesday night’s debate on the French language seemed to signal that we will be in a war of attrition for the next 12 days, a fierce battle for the little perks in an election that will be decided by the little perks.
According to a major poll by Léger, arguably Canada’s top pollster, in the days leading up to the debate, the Conservatives and Liberals were tied.
Justin Trudeau, a talented artist when he has fire in his stomach, managed to get back into contention after Erin O’Toole, a moderate and reasonable man with many reasonable sounding plans, appeared to run away with the race. But the Tory freight train appeared to be running out of steam this week, after a VAT debate in which O’Toole tried not to explain his position on a ban on assault weapons, which sent him days to days stories where he tried not to clarify his position, then clarified it, then changed it. The daily grind of gun headlines seems to have waned in the face of his support, which is quite natural considering that much of it was new, from people who, there just a few weeks away, had planned to vote for the Liberals.
After overtaking Trudeau so early in the campaign, it was natural for the media to subject his plans to a more natural and natural scrutiny for Trudeau to attack him, and it seems to have worked, so the two parties are now close.
O’Toole’s French is professional, much better than before, but he’s not as comfortable as Trudeau, and he failed to connect emotionally on Wednesday night, but who knows? For francophones who did not know him before the campaign, he at least had the opportunity to introduce himself.
Trudeau, on the other hand, was intense, speaking quickly and urgently, defending his government with confidence and passion, effectively enough that I sometimes find myself forgetting that we are going through an unnecessary election because of him.
He appeared to mark the blood twice, once from O’Toole and once from Yves-François Blanchet.
O’Toole created a tax room in his platform by promising to cancel the Liberal childcare agreements with the provinces, which would amount to taking $ 6 billion from Quebec, which they do not like. This policy was a winning election strategy for Stephen Harper in 2006, and should appeal to families with a stay-at-home parent, but O’Toole, in the French language debate with the wider public, has come under attack for taking Quebec money, which seems unlikely to help him.
Late in the debate, Trudeau turned against Blanchet, in what appeared to be a rehearsed piece of theater, accusing the leader of the Bloc of questioning his status as a Quebecer: “I have always been a Quebecer, I will always be a Quebecer.” , ”He stormed, while Blanchet told him to relax.
I have no idea how this is going to play out with the Francophone voters Blanchet and Trudeau court, but Trudeau tweeted the exchange right after the debate, and he was cheered on by supporters online, so he seemed to think that ‘ he had logged in, and there There is no doubt he showed fire, which might help inflate his own supporters, who must be feeling depressed by the way this whole election thing is going.
None of the other leaders seemed to stand out or connect in any meaningful way overnight, although Blanchet’s charms are often lost on me, so I won’t be surprised to learn that I missed something. from him that French-speaking Quebecers loved.
Polls have not shown large fluctuations in Quebec since the start of the campaign. The NDP and the Conservatives are both up a bit. Trudeau was probably trying to polarize the struggle between the Liberals and the Bloc with his intense attack on Blanchet, eliminating the Conservatives in the manner of the Liberals of the last campaign. We will have to wait to see if it works.
That means the big show will be the English debate on Thursday night, in which O’Toole gets a kick, in his own native tongue, to deliver his speech to the Canadians and score points on Trudeau.
Both men are fighting for their political careers, and both have considerable skills, so there is no reason for either of them to save ammunition for later. It will likely be intense and could help voters choose between these two leaders.
This election, while unnecessary, turns out to be much better than the previous one, in which the uncommunicative Andrew Scheer was unable to properly explain himself to voters after Trudeau was revealed to have worn blackface in several times, and Jagmeet Singh, although he was an attractive presence, underperformed. Everyone seemed to have done worse than expected, and voters must have ended up feeling like they were making the most of a bad situation when they marked their ballots.
This time, so far, nothing horrible has been revealed about the Prime Minister and the opposition has presented him with a more acceptable alternative, which is good news for voters, who need only take care for another ten days.