Trudeau Gives the Finger to English-Speaking Voters

Let’s face it: very FEW Canadians attend political rallies, turn out for election events, study political speeches, read full party platforms or get to see our prospective “leaders” in action beyond quick clips on the news.

In this country of 37 million people … with 26 million eligible voters … the televised Leaders’ Debates offer a window into what the Leaders are like under more spontaneous conditions than in their professionally-produced ads; can explore their personal beliefs; show how they perform under pressure; hear directly where they stand on a variety of issues; and, maybe … just maybe … reveal what they intend to do for … and to … us, if elected.

All of it hopefully exposed through questioning, prodding and challenges by experienced, knowledgeable, probing journalists.

Which is why it is disappointing, to say the least, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has (so far) agreed to take part in only ONE English-language televised debate … the bare MINIMUM … during the entire 2019 election campaign.


Especially when the same Prime Minister has agreed to take part in TWO French-language televised debates.

Am I missing something?

The portion of the Canadian population who identify French as their primary language is now only 20.6%.

How can the Liberal leader justify taking part in TWO televised debates in Canada’s MINORITY language … but only ONE televised debate in the country’s MAJORITY language?

Trudeau is clearly giving the finger to English-speaking Canadians.

And not just the VAST MAJORITY of voters in British Columbia, the West, Ontario and the Maritimes … but also the sizeable number of English-speaking Canadians in Quebec as well.

It’s a coast to coast to coast insult.

Readers of this blog know that I am a strong supporter of Canada’s official bilingualism; respect for minority rights; proud of my own Quebec roots; and, worked hard to learn Francais in La Belle Province many decades ago, at a time when many Anglos sadly did not.

But I believe the MAJORITY of Canadians deserve consideration and time that EQUALS the consideration and time Trudeau’s willing to devote to the minority when it comes to televised debates … and not be treated as second class citizens and voters.

There are TWO additional English-language debates being offered in addition to the one already accepted by Trudeau: he should join the other national leaders and take part in at least one of them.

His will send out a message of EQUALITY if he does …. and a message of PREFERENTIAL catering to French-speaking voters if he does not.

Harv Oberfeld

(This will be a very close, critical federal election: I invite ALL readers to participate in the discussions on here and to pass along the link to this Blog to friends and family to encourage a full discussion of issues and ideas … before they vote Oct 21.

And, of course, anyone can get FREE First Alerts to all new topics on the blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam … just FREE First Alerts. )

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39 Responses to Trudeau Gives the Finger to English-Speaking Voters

  1. Tim says:

    Harvey, you asked; “How can the Liberal leader justify, etc, etc…”

    It is a rhetorical question, we both know the answer to; “because he can” and we allow him to do it by way of apathy.

    Of the 80% Angelos you mentioned above, 40 to 50% will vote and a small percentage of those will be engaged “beyond quick clips on the news” or in this modern world, social media.

    This liar will be victorious, because the likes of Gerald Butts, are serious professionals in this sport.

    (Response: Canada is truly changing: although stats show only 20.6% of Canadians give French as their primary language; the number for English is not 80% … but 50.6% … the rest have other “first” languages … but I’d bet the VAST majority of those too would identify/tune in to English debates rather than in French. So he’s dissing not just Anglos, but most new citizens from other nations as well. h.o)

  2. DBW says:

    I don’t know Harvey. I am not defending Trudeau but five debates is a bit excessive in a six week election campaign. And with five or six people shouting at each other for a couple of hours trying to get some gotcha 10 second sound bite the “debate” is actually reduced to reality show political theatre.

    I watched a debate between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris and the first question was how to you view the other person’s position. The other person then had an opportunity to correct the person and then they argued their differences. Fascinating and informative.

    You don’t get that it these shoutfests. Maybe we could have several debates but with only 3 or 4 of the leaders participating at a time, ensuring that Scheer and Trudeau meet at least once and that each of the other leaders are on stage with Scheer and Trudeau at least once but not necessarily with each other.

    And all the other microphones should be shut off while the person answering the question is talking.

    (Response: I’ve suggested four: two in English and two in French. That seems to me quite manageable, And fair! Or, speaking of fairness, his strategists should look at the population/language numbers … if he’s weak and only wants to do three debates… then surely TWO should be in the MAJORITY language of the country … and ONE in the MINORITY language. But to do two in French and only one in English is very unfair to the majority. h.O)

  3. BMCQ says:

    I just arrived home from doing some Environmental Research and i am pleased to see there is a new Blog Topic open for discussion .

    Once again, the subject should prove to be of great interest .

    I fully agree that once again PM Justin as he has so many times before just “Gave the Middle Finger to the Great Unwashed of Canada” .

    I wonder, could that be Hereditary ?

    Of course we should not be surprised because even PM Justin and his “Handlers” fully understand that “His Arrogance” is absolutely hopeless and in fact unintelligible unless he is on a Teleprompter .

    Of course some on this Blog may/might not ever acknowledge or accept that fact .

    Then again, there is plenty of evidence why he wants to avoid “Off the Cuff” whenever possible . I suggest you fast forward to 1:21 of the attached, it explains everything .

    All Federal Leaders who qualify should appear on Legitimate Debates providing those Debates are sanctioned by Elections Canada and even those so sanctioned events should be limited due to logistics and the short time for the Campaign .
    No eligible Leader should be made to look like they are avoiding a Debate when it is an event that is reognized as a legitimate event .

    PM justin and his Handlers are oing their best to minimize his exposure and they are more than likely doing the right thing, he cannot think on his feet and he has nothing but Liberal Talking Points, some silly juvenile Symbolic throw away quotes and his usual “Because we uh are uh Canadians” B.S. .

    It is more than obvious that “The Emperor has No Clothes”, why is it so difficult for so many of the electorate and the fawning media to see that fact ?

    Yes he SHOULD Appear in any Legitimate Debate but I certainly understand why his Handlers want to keep him away from the touch questions as he has absolutely no credible answer for so many offensive things he has done to Canada and the Canadian People .

    How can anyone so Intellectually Challenged, Imbecilic, Ill Informed, Dishonest, Deceitful, Sexist, Misogynistic, Incompetent, and Incapable become Prime Minister of a wonderful Country like Canada ?


    “Make Trudeau a Drama Teacher Again” !

    It is more clear to me that Legitimate Debates could very well finish off PM Justin and Mr. Singh and i do not believe either one of them will appear at any Debate scheduled unless they feel that by not showing up it will hurt them on Election Day .

    Who and How will they/PM Justin be held to account ?

    Is the only recourse Voters/Citizens have to send a message at the Ballot Box on Election Day ?

    This topic brings me to another question .

    Who writes and plans the Questions for the Debates, who gets which question ?

    Will PM Justin be asked about JWR , Pipelines and the inability of Canada to “Build Anything, How can we Convict Criminals, Deport Migrants deemed unacceptable for Canada, How do we defend our Borders, and so many other questions ?

    Will anyone in Media ask PM Justin and others why the “First Nations Leadership Accountability Act” was cancelled by PM Justin a few weeks after he was Elected PM ?

    Will any Media Individual on the Panel ask any Leaders that are there if they will finally begin to Demand more from the Judiciary right across Canada ? One of the main reasons our Justice System is failing Canadians is because Judges are “Derelict in Their Duty” and Politicians are afraid to discuss that huge problem .

    Judges need to be held to Account .

    Will PM Justin avoid all of these by a “Colluding Media” who refuse to ask important questions ?

    Can he or any other Leader avoid proving questions by intentionally not showing up for Legitimately Authorized Debates ?

    Once again it appears like everything else in Canada rules are flexible and fluid and it is impossible to hold anyone to account for anything .

    Should we really be surprised ?

    (Response: It bothers me that, although the media have reported the issue of his refusal to take part in either the Maclean’s or Munk English debates … but taking part in the original French and then also a TVA debate. NONE of them (even those from BC, the West, Ontario) …. unless I’ve missed something … have raised the UNFAIRNESS with him or expressed OUTRAGE over Trudeau dissing the MAJORITY of Canadians by his decision … while clearly giving PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT to French. It’s a great story … could be a huge issue … if they would only stop following the press releases and carefully crafted media availability sessions. h.o.)

  4. Gene The Bean says:

    At the risk of being brief, I have lost interest in political debates.

    They are contrived reality TV nonsense. They never answer the questions asked and just bloviate their talking points that are scripted for a 13 year old intellect – sort of like some comments here. The ‘professionals’ think up some witty zinger and then try and set the other clown up so they can use it.

    In my world, if you do not answer the moderators question then you get asked one less question.

    I understand Trudeau is only taking part in ‘debate commission’ authorized debates due to the Cons abuse (surprise!) of the process under Herr Harper. Not really up on it because I don’t really care to take part or even dignify the process. ZZZZzzzzz

  5. e.a.f. says:

    perhaps some one in the time management office thought it would be less useful for English speakers to hear from the leaders. Perhaps they believe the real contest will be in Quebec and that is where the focus needs to be.

    there are Conservatives who switched to the Liberal party because the Conservatives weren’t that proactive when it came to the LGBTQ debate. Some people are switching to the Liberal brand because they fear the NDP is not going to make it this time and the Greens don’t offer them the social programs they want. With all of that, the federal Liberal operatives, just think they’ve got English Canada sewn up. Quebec, one can never tell and they have another option, the P.Q.. If I were in Quebec, who knows I might even vote for them. Not for their separatist attitude, but some of their other platform issues, aren’t bad, as I recall.

    Two in English is enough for me and two in French. Then let them do one in Cree. Hey it would be fun to watch., and they’d all be at a disadvantage or Omniglot for the Mohawk or Aleut for the Inuit or no we won’t go into languages for Coastal Salish–there are 14 languages and then all the dialects.

    It maybe Trudeau is doing more French language debates because the French speakers are more engaged in politics.

    Personally don’t feel offended Trudeau is doing more debates in French and I’m sure a lot of others don’t care either. It maybe as simple as that, lots of people don’t care.

  6. Gilbert says:

    Prime Minister Trudeau did better than expected in the debates of 2015. This time, though, it’s unlikely that he’ll surpass expectations. His advisers have probably concluded that he won’t benefit by participating in all of the debates. It’s unfortunate for voters, though, and shows that he’s really in politics for himself and not to serve Canadians. Giving preference to the French debates indicates that he really wants to do well in Quebec, and he thinks his French is superior to that of his rivals. The exception is of course the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

  7. Art Smith says:

    Hi Harvey, I find it hard to believe anyone is surprised that Trudeau would dodge the debates that are not a set-up, with the moderators all from his cheering section and probably being given a list of questions which they can ask. He couldn’t even answer a simple question about how he and his family reduced their use of plastic without turning into a babbling idiot. Let’s face it, he can only memorize so many answers that Butts provides him with. He is an embarrassment to Canada every time he opens his mouth.
    I hope and pray that Canadian’s think of the good of the country when they enter the voting booth, if this man is elected again I don’t see the country as we know it surviving another 4 years.
    We are a country of vast resources and great people, and this inept government is squandering billions of dollars trying to act like the saviours of the world, yet causing untold misery at home. With a government this useless and possibly corrupt, I don’t think a fate similar to Venezuela is completely far-fetched. Capital investment is leaving this country because of all the road-blocks and red tape and an anti-business attitude and we never seem to be able to get any major projects done without a litany of protestors and lawyers being involved adding years and years to the time frame.

  8. 13 says:

    I read the blog topic and thought to myself, how will the usual bloggers defend this obviously indefensible charge that Trudeau is telling us to eff off.
    So let me ruin their fun. They will try to tell us that Harper did this . Harper did that. Golly gosh folks we gotta vote for Trudolt or were gonna git another Herr Harper.
    (Edited topic.)
    Trudeau is an embarrassment, everyone knows that.(except for a few that prefer to dig a hole and bury their heads) The less he shows his face the better his chance of having a job as leader of the opposition.

  9. 13 says:

    Harvey, I am surprised at the edit. Can I assume calling supporters of ANY particular political ideology names is now unacceptable.

    (Edited topic.)

    (Response: Yes… calling people derogatory names is not acceptable. And I shouldn’t even have to bother explaining that. h.o)

  10. Tim says:

    When in the Quebec debates, I’m wondering how he will answer the SNC question, if anyone has the knackers to ask.

    Will he vow to let SNC off the hook because of “all those jobs”?

    (Response: You can bet your poutine Trudeau will defend “all those jobs” in both official languages… any and every time the question comes up. It’s a strange argument, though: OK to break the law IF the argument is just trying to save jobs: hear that, illegal pot growers/harvester/dealers?? h.o)

  11. Tim says:

    Harvey, yes, I understand he will double speak and defend the action of saving jobs but, I want to hear someone ask him if he will “direct” the Public Prosecution Service to subvert yhe rule of law and give SNC a mulligan.

  12. D. M. johnston says:

    Somehow not surprised.

    The Liberals are in trouble, not big trouble, but in trouble. To mitigate that trouble, he will be almost unavailable to the “Anglo” media, but will be very available in “Franco” Quebec.

    I would assume the poll crunchers and other strategists have mapped out a electoral strategy of winning maritime, Ontario (easy with Ford) and Quebec votes largely at the expense of Western voters.

    Sheer will clean up in Alberta and probably Saskatchewan and and Manitoba and pick up seats in BC, but what does that matter if the gold ruing in Canadian politics is Quebec and Ontario.

    The real race in Canada is; “Will the Greens beat the NDP is seats?”

    And this is important if there is a minority government situation.

    But what do I know as all the federal political parties leave me as cold as a corpse.

    Evil days, evil days.

  13. BMCQ says:


    Ford you say ?

    Of course the Democratically Elected Ford Conservative Government of Ontario does not hold a candle to the Wynne, McGuinty, and Rae Governments of the NDP and Liberal Brands . Those three premiers did so much for the People of Ontario .

    Now those were Good Governments that really did work for the people !!!! Yeah, sure .

    “One must never be Bound by the Straight Jacket of Ideology” .

    The more i think about the Debates the more concerned i become about the quality of the questions, the bias of the questioners, the transparency of which questions should be asked and why, and the more concerned I become about the deflection of questions by any of the Leaders . The Debates should provie an opportunity for rebuttal from the panelist after the Leader answers .

    Can we depend on the Panel/Questioners to be Fair and Balanced and n we depend upon and trust that Moderator to guarantee fairness .

    I agree very much with the comment that the Microphones of all Leaders should be turned off while the Leader being questioned is addressing any question .

    I also believe that there should be a hard line on time limits and there should be a tone signal to signal the end of time is near and after another 10 seconds the Microphone of that Leader also goes silent .

    This may be and more than likely is the Most Important Election in Canadian History and the “Great Unwashed” need to be well informed so they can cast a Ballot for any Party that works best for them and their families no matter which Party they happen to vote for .

    As Harvey points out that is why we need two English and two French Debates .

    I have been out in the car a bit today and it is as though there no Debates anytime soon, Media are ignoring the Debates and there is no discussion about the Questions that might and should be asked by the Panel .

    What is wrong with Media ?

    At this point I would like a Panelist to ask each of the Leaders if Canada should accept any Legitimate Bahamian Citizen Refugees .

    Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and a handful of other prosperous Free Nations should each accept 25oo Bahamian Citizen Refugees while at the same time enforcing our own Defined Borders and at the same time not allow Economic Migration from Illegal Individuals from any country crossing our Southern Border or any other means of entering Canada Illegally .

    the Panelists must be urged to ask this question and the Leaders should be forced to answer .

    (Response: I find it disappointing …even sad …that neither “national” or “local” English speaking media have even challenged Trudeau or Liberal candidates on his second class treatment of the MAJORITY of Canadians in agreeing to only one debate. I have to hand it to the francophone media: if the situation were reversed, they …and all the French language Open Radio shows in the country … and especially the French-language newspaper columnists and pundits would be all over the issue … because, it’s a GREAT STORY and a REAL ISSUE of discrimination at the TOP. h.o.)

  14. e.a.f. says:

    will the Greens beat the NDP? not after Elizabeth May’s comments regarding party policy regarding voting on choice. Expect there to be vigorous debate.

    Given there are two debates in French, if the English debate does not go well for Trudeau, he may decide to participate in a second. Last week, the Canadian Human Rights made their decision regarding Indigenous children and their treatment from 2006 and on. the bill maybe $2B and change to double that. the question will be will the Liberals pay it out.

    (Response: You raise an interesting scenario: Trudeau could decide to take part in a second English debate IF the first goes bad. Wouldn’t that be hilarious … and make many of us then watch for even more stumbling, bumbling second time ’round. Who knew Canadian political debates could be such fun! h.o)

  15. 13 says:

    Morning Harvey. Just listened to Mike Smyth with McComb talking about your blog topic. After hearing the analysis by Smitty I hope Trudeau sticks to his guns and misses the debates. One of the debates on foreign policy has indicated they will leave an empty chair where Trudeau would have set. Oddly , an empty chair would be a very appropriate way to describe Trudeau wouldnt it? Imagine the field day Scheer could have asking the mt chair a tough question and the doing his impression of Trudeau answering with a completely idiotic talking point.
    “Mr Prime Minister what have you done to secure the release of two Canadians being imprisoned in China?”
    We uh in uh Canada do not use water boxes uh and are not sure of anyones gender”
    So with the debates blocking Max and being avoided by the gutless Justin it plays well for the stain.

  16. DBW says:

    In 1980 there were no televised debates because the Liberals wanted Trudeau out of the picture as much as possible. The Liberals won handily.

    Just clarifying Harvey, you seem most upset that Trudeau is doing two debates in French and only one in English. If he dropped out of the TVA debate and only participated in the two official debates would that be more acceptable or do we expect the leaders to attend every debate. Apparently there had been talk of a debate specifically on climate change. How many debates is enough?

    I know some here are outraged at Trudeau’s lack of participation but everything is a strategy. The writ hasn’t been dropped yet but here we are with a scheduled debate in two days. Trudeau sits it out which may or may be a winning strategy. But I kind of like the chance to listen to the three party leaders without Trudeau’s presence. We know that Trudeau’s and his party’s record will be the focus of any debate where he is involved. It may not be quite as exciting, but we will get a chance to hear what each of the other parties has to offer without the distraction of Trudeau.

    By the way, BMCQ, when you accuse others of being bound by the straight jacket of ideology, that is the very definition of irony.

    (Response: No one …especially me ..has suggested any leader must participate in “every debate”. As for how many …the most important thing, I believe, is EQUALITY. If he does only ONE in either official language, he should do only ONE in the other. But, in the interest of expanding public access … I’d prefer TWO in each official language. Surely, someone who aspires to lead the country for four years and have control of a $338 Billion annual budget …and control our lives through laws passed … should have time for FOUR total debates over 38 days or more!!! All the rest are just phoney photo ops, propaganda, posturing and sometimes preposterous promises. h.o.)

  17. Gene The Bean says:

    DBW – great comment. Some seem to forget his job is to win, not appease everyone.
    Ya, I laugh at the irony too!

    Harvey, your last line in response to DBW “All the rest are just phoney photo ops, propaganda, posturing and sometimes preposterous promises.” well, that is the definition of the debates now. The whole political process has been so ‘$%@*ed’ up now we have no more normal. It has unfortunately become a class war and I cant see it changing for generation. There are no more politics, just morality differences.

    2019 – when taking refugee kids away from their parents and putting them in cages doesn’t even make the news anymore. How far we have fallen….

    (Response: You’re wrong in suggesting the debates are virtually the same as announcements, photo ops etc. Because at least during the debates, there are journalists … usually quite experienced and knowledgeable … taking part in the event who ask pointed questions, challenge statements etc … unlike partisan events, where there only hapless performing Pavlovian pooches waving placards and applauding on cue. h.o)

  18. BMCQ says:


    I voted for John Turner, I believe PAUL Martin was a very good PM, i support a responsible Refugee Program, i am Pro Choice First Trimester in cases of Rape or Medical circumstances .

    if I was an American Citizen I would support a fix for Obama Care, I am in favour of a fairly strict Gun Control with the abolition of AR Rifles and anything Automatic, Pistol or Rifle .

    I cannot see where those could allow me to be accused of being “Bound by a Straight Jacket of Ideology” .

    In my opinion I believe I am as open minded as anyone on this Blog, I am just a stickler for common sense and practicality .

  19. 13 says:

    Harvey response “hapless preforming Pavlovian pooches……..” Every now and then I read or heard a line that sticks with me for life. That will be one of them. Reminds me of a BCTF rally.
    The best other quip Ive heard in ages and Ill be using for a long time was Boris Johnsons reply to a Brexit deadline extention . ” Id rather be dead in a ditch”.

  20. Gene The Bean says:

    Ya, I hear ya Harvey but the problem is, they don’t answer the questions!!

    You can have the most experienced and knowledgeable journalist who is completely non-partisan and who has done her/his research on the platforms and asks great probing questions …. but if the candidate just goes down their list and answers with “talking point #6” Pffftttt – waste of time.

    If they were made to answer the questions, not talk over each other and act like adults – I’d be in.

    How about having some massive hard-ass as moderator who has control and uses it. She/he asks the questions, the candidate answers then a panel of journalists get to ask a follow up. Anybody acts out, doesn’t answer the question or talks over anyone gets cut out or cut off. Would love to see that.

  21. e.a.f. says:

    (Edited … off topic.)

    Political debates are all about the drama. its not, in my opinion, about substance. That is the unfortunate part. I’d rather the t.v. stations run a program which simply outlined what the various people have done in their lives. Yes, for new comers it might be short, but they usually have something which demonstrates what they’re all about. Some people even in school join clubs to improve life around them. I’d be interested in that sort of thing. How have you lived your life, how have you improved the lives of people around you, etc
    Some people are good at flapping their gums, but don’t say much.

  22. 13 says:

    Once again Harvey, this am the McComb political segment plays at 637 am . His guest was Mike Smyth and the discussion of the writ drop included discussion re Max and debates and the possible ramifications of Max and the PPC. The one point that Smyth made was the polls might not be as even as the media wants us to believe. He then went on to name the endless conservative victories across Canada and the rest of the world. He likened it to many voters that are quietly behind conservatism. Ford Trump Brexit etc. Even a 13 year old with no intellect can see that world wide conservative push back is on the rise. So the 13 year old might be pleasantly surprised and if Max gets to shred Justin good for everyone that is still interested in the debates.

  23. DBW says:

    Harvey sometimes your topics peak my curiosity so I have been researching other countries’ TV debates and found some interesting stuff from the UK. At the risk of being accused of practising for my doctoral thesis here goes.

    In 2010 (the first time they had TV debates) there were three debates limited to the leaders of the three main parities. Sturgeon and Farage were upset that they weren’t included.

    However, there was a wrinkle that might be worth considering for Canada. There were weekly debates between an important cabinet minister and the shadow cabinets of the two main parties. The economy, immigration, foreign affairs, the environment crime etc were given added focus and from the supporting cast rather than the leaders.

    In 2015, there were four main debates but again with wrinkles that may be worth considering.

    One debate was between Cameron and the Labour leader, Milliband. One on one. It might be interesting to see just Scheer and Trudeau have at it.

    Another debate included all of the leaders so the Scottish Nationalists, the Plaid from Wales, the Greens, the Liberal Democrats UKip and maybe another that I can’t remember.

    Another debate had just the opposition parties without Cameron.

    And the final debate was between Cameron, Milliband and Clegg from the Liberal Democrats, the third party.

    Not sure if any of those are worth considering in future years.

    (Response: really happy when a blog topic I write about causes people to look into the issue further and offer up information for discussion. That’s fine use of the Internet and the blogosphere. As for the idea of weekly debates between cabinet ministers and opposition critics… I don’t think that would work in Canada… Because no one would watch except those already who are political junkies. However the TV debates of the leaders draft fairly large audiences considering they are about political issues… sometimes. ho)

  24. BMCQ says:


    If I may, interesting stuff .

    Of course the UK Election is made up of different Parties as in Canada but there are also a handful of once (and still to some) Independent Nations who have very distinct differences and indeed Cultures . Of course there are also Cabinet Posts representing those different Countries .

    Perhaps it is even more important for Citizens from all of those Nations to see and hear how Key Politicians from different Countries that may end up in Government influencing decisions respond and react to the various needs and wants of Countries that are not their own while at the same time hopefully voting for Legislation for the Greater Good . It is important to know how someone from Scotland feels about N. Ireland .

    It has been pointed out up the page that there can be and is a saturation point when it comes to the number of Debates but I believe you illustrate some ideas and thoughts that Canada should consider when setting up Debates in the future .

    There is always room for improvement .

    There is no reason that a Bi-Partisan Debate Commission could not be set up to overseas the number, types, and structure of Debates for each Election and that structure could be reviewed and tweaked for improvement after each subsequent Election .

    If we could manage to do that we would ensure Debates going forward would provide accountability, fairness, transparency, and we would ensure that in the end we would provide more information for the Voter .

    If Debates were managed and structured in a way you suggest it would be almost impossible for PM Justin or any other Party Leader to “Call in Sick” without causing themselves problems at the Ballot Box .

  25. 13 says:

    When Trudeau exited the gov gens he faced the media. They asked some pointed tough questions . If his performance was an indication of his ability to deal with pointed tough questions then he should NOT participate in ANY debates. Liberal talking points dont cover RCMP investigation, or SNC Lavalin or JWR. Trudeau lost his luster and the shine is gone. His credibility doesnt amount to a hill of beans.
    He played the Harper card at every opportunity because just like so many the only answer they have when asked pointed tough questions is HARPER blah blah blah
    That might play endlessly on this blog but likely wont help Justin explain his dismal performance over the past painful 4 years

  26. DBW says:

    BMCQ has said this more than once.

    “There is no reason that a Bi-Partisan Debate Commission could not be set up to overseas the number, types, and structure of Debates for each Election and that structure could be reviewed and tweaked for improvement after each subsequent Election .”

    For clarity, this is the actual make up of the Debate Commission.

    “David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, is the commissioner. Journalist Michel Cormier serves as the commissions’ executive director. The body also has a seven person advisory board. The current members are former Members of Parliament John Manley, Megan Leslie, and Deborah Grey, history professor Chad Gaffield, human rights activist Craig Kielburger, judge Louise Otis and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network CEO Jean LaRose. ”

    A former Harper appointed governor general, three former MPs, one each from the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP, a journalist, a judge, a history professor, a human rights activist and a First Nations CEO sounds pretty bi-partisan.

    Here is the mandate.

    “The core of the mandate of the Debates Commissionner is to organize two leaders’ debates for the 2019 federal general election—one in each official language. Other elements of the Commissionner’s mandate include…

    following the 2019 general election and no later than March 31, 2020, providing a report to Parliament outlining findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to inform the potential creation in statute of a “built to last” Debates Commission.”

    They were to organize two debates and will report to Parliament with lessons learned and further recommendations.

    I think all of the concerns listed by BMCQ have been addressed. We may not like what we see, but the process is there and problems can be corrected.

    Having said all that, I believe the confusion lies in the three extra debates put on by Macleans/CityTV, Munk, and TVA. I suppose I could invite the leaders to my living room and livestream the debate through facebook if I were able to convince anybody to show up. Tonight’s debate and the Munk debate will not include the uninvited Blanchet and Bernier nor the invited Trudeau. The TVA debate will not include Bernier and May. These are not debates under the Debate Commission so I presume leaders can pick and choose if they want.

    By not showing up Trudeau runs the risk of looking weak and/or giving the opposition a chance to attack him without rebuttal. On the other hand, he gets to see the opposition’s main talking points ahead of the debates he will attend.

    Some people say politics is a blood sport emphasizing blood. I tend to emphasize sport. This is all a game and we can debate Trudeau’s strategy like we debate a coach’s decision to gamble on third down or pinch hit or change goalies. We will find out on Oct. 21 if he worked or not.

    BTW, right now I am staying at a place with no television and my computer isn’t picking up the debate through the Macleans site although I did get a video ad and livestream commentary which I read for a couple of minutes before giving up. Did I miss anything??

  27. BMCQ says:

    Full agreement, on the surface the Commission appears to be exactly as I hoped and you confirm . Good News .

    Having said that that Commission needs to employ more structure and there needs to be better control of the participants and their deflections and the very annoying many times they spoke over one another tonight .

    Anyone that watched the Debate saw that the Debate Structure has potential to shed a light on policies of parties and some very interesting exchanges and in fact there were many examples of great debating tonight .

    Having said that as was mentioned up the page Microphones could and should be turned off while one participant is addressing a question or point .

    I will not go on here unless Harvey allows as I may be running off topic.

    Getting back to PM Justin .

    He gave Both Fingers to Canadians from Coast to Coast to Coast Tonight and his absence from the Debate was Shameful and Attack On Democracy .

    I commend all three of the other Leaders for their efforts tonight, even though they spoke over one another on several ocassions they all performed well .

    Not saying their were all correct and factual but they all represented their Parties well .

    PM Justin showed nothing but arrogance and contempt to Canada and Canadians

  28. BMCQ says:


    Not doing there were

  29. Gilbert says:

    My wife said Andrew Scheer was calm in the debate and appeared prime ministerial. The other two candidates made promises that would simply bankrupt the country. It’s clear they’re not business owners!

  30. Leila Paul says:

    > Anyone who thinks Canadian elections have not always been race-based (or language based) has failed to objectively read our own history. The Franco-Anglo wars that ultimately conceived this nation continued to nurture, or divide, it until recently. It is no longer a political contest of “two solitudes” but is now a near tower of Babel.
    > Canada has become a membership club where an easily and quickly acquired passport suffices as a membership card along with entitlement to taxpayer funded giveaways. Those giveaways being the dividends denied to the beneficiaries of the previous generations who invested in this country hoping to bequeath their progeny their rightful investment payoffs.
    > As a result of migration, or so-called irregular refugee entries, into our once clearly defined national boundaries, we now have multiple solitudes – and most of them probably do not care who governs. Their primary concern may be their federal or provincial benefits continue to be automatically deposited in their bank accounts.

    Another factor is that many new voters come from countries where voting is unknown or undervalued. And migrants may vote as blocs according to a leader’s assurances that party will protect them from discrimination. Those same leaders often benefit from the party in power which may also have been the party that enabled the new voters to be legal residents and beneficiaries of the safety nets built over previous generations by Canadians working and possibly suffering. It is likely they never imagined these safety nets would be given away so cheaply and, perhaps, unjustifiably.
    > The issues that once defined conservatives vs liberals have now become almost mundane and no longer fire up the passions that motivate people to support any political party with enthusiasm, other than those with a near religious fanatacism, absent dictates for bloc voting by ethnic communities that have been courted by (especially) Liberal leaders. I’ve witnessed such events with great dismay.

    In any case, the parties have been so busy hopping from one to the other side of the fence on any issue they can, that to some extent, they’ve become centrists with only minor variations left or right of center – fdepending on when the music stops and they’ve landed on their policy chair.
    > As for Maxime Bernier, he has had no qualms about hurting the conservative voters assuming they care enough to be a cohesive group. Max is right on some issues and too extreme on others; however, on the issue of migration Max is right.
    > Pity that Max’s first language is the Quebecois version of French. I could not endure listening to his accent for too long (being an Anglo from Montreal who refused to speak Quebecois) so I will not vote for the PPC candidate, if I vote at all. Despite the fact too many PMs have been from Montreal in the past, they all spoke an acceptable level of the king’s English to make their missives non-irritating to hear; assuming one did not base the issues on which they spoke to be irritants in themselves.
    > In any case, Harv, you’ve written another good column which arouses thought and even arouses some of us to write our reactions.
    > In truth, the Canadian election has little importance for me. I’m convinced we, as have too many other countries, have become subjects of the U.N. and its dictates. So, IMO, it matters little who is actually in the PM’s chair or who holds portfolios. The only major policy difference that might motivate some voters is the excessive taxes we’re now paying.

    (Edited…off topic of the Canadian election debates and don’t want to send discussion off in whole new direction. 🙂

    (Response: Thanks Leila … The Citizen factor is indeed changing the face of Canadian elections. For example, The French speaking population of Canada used to equate to about 25% of the population… Now down to 20.6% because of the influx of immigrants from non-French speaking countries… and most the newcomers choose English as their second language… not French. This is why I find it even more ridiculous that Trudo is taking part in only one English speaking debate but to French speaking debates. h.o.)

  31. 13 says:

    Ms Paul has an interesting perspective on the evolution of Canadian politics. Still based on her closing remarks (prior to edit) she wants to pay less taxes. That pretty much puts her solidly in the conservative camp. Trudeau, May, and Singh have made promises that if carried out would bankrupt the nation.
    Only the conservatives have any plans to control spending . Hopefully some of that control is forthcoming by way of finding efficiencies . IE smaller government (cut back civil servants and pension plans and bureaucracy.)

    (Response: Important questions that will only be adequately answered by ALL the parties IF we have enough public debate… not ONE in English and two in French. H.o

  32. Leila Paul says:

    Harv, it’s almost quaint that debates occur at all. No promises made have any enforcement option so they’re often not more informative than a beauty pageant. Trudeau did well on that level in the previous election but this time a beauty contest for Trudeau is of little, if any, merit. He’s revealed his vacuous mind and his prettiness is fading.
    An old adage stated that one dates a person of beauty but marries a person of substance. I do not think we have anyone of leadership substance in this election so I have very little interest in the outcome other than its effect on future taxation.
    Meanwhile, I hope you’ll post a comment under your “international” tab on the other topic. I agree it is irrelevant to this column but would dearly love to exchange ideas with your readers on the other election.

    (Response: Really no inspiring g leadership potential …so far …. in any of them this time. Clearly this election choice will be which is least offensive and will do least harm. That’s why I believe they should get as much exposure as possible to help voters decide. H.o.)

  33. Leila Paul says:

    Sorry to write again, Harv, but I just remembered one reason Trudeau may be catering to French speakers. Remember the Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1916 divided up the Ottoman mideast – and FRANCE GOT LEBANON AND SYRIA where French was always one of the official languages along with their respective Arabic Levantine dialects.
    Where have most of the recent mideast migrants come from? Yup, Syria and Lebanon.

    As for the English speaking Liberals, they’re a pretty sure bet. I’m reminded of the line in the old movie “Pretty Woman” where the Julia Roberts character tells the rich guy who hired her, the Richard Gere character, that he need not wine and dine her – she’s a sure bet. Liberals have long had the English speaking ethnic votes locked in – a sure thing.
    (Edited…getting way off topic of debates)

    However, I suspect no matter how much Trudeau appears to hold his Anglophone base of supporters in low regard, he’s still likely to win enough seats at least for a minority.

  34. e.a.f. says:

    given the divorce rate in this country, it is doubtful many are marrying people of substance and the political end of it, well politics and marriage are very too different things.

    Political parties sell sizzle, and not always much steak. With the current crop of leaders, what is defined as steak, can differ from person to person. Leila Paul would perhaps consider reduced taxes the steak. (that name is familiar, from somewhere). Reducing taxes, defunds government and with a defunded government, which programs do voters/citizens wish to loose.

    (Edited…getting further and further off topic…which is the debates)

    Every election is important. Every vote is important. Some may not care who forms government, because they can afford to avoid any negative impact that government may have, but in my opinion, that is a selfish attitude. Government’s impact, our health, safety, national security, etc. We have to look no further than what some local Delta police and politicians have voiced concern about this time. It has been on the radar of others ever since the abolished the Port Police.

    From a political perspective two French debates makes sense. they will most likely determine who forms government.

  35. BMCQ says:

    Each and every Hard Working, Tax Paying, Contributing, Citizen including Pensioners needs Accountability from every Politician in Government and Opposition .

    We do not get better Government simply because that very Government we elect or in many cases do not elect increases Taxes of all kinds just “Uh it is uh 2015” .

    For anyone to think we get better Government just because we pay more Tax is simply imbecilic and really quite Bizarre . More and increased Tax in a country like Canada with a high cost of living and high Real Estate Prices has a very negative affect on the Standard of Living and those Tax Increases threaten Government Services .

    All Canadians should want to pay less Tax and that is possible without having an affect on Government Services if Government is efficient, we need to hear more questions about that in the remaining Debates .

    In B.C. alone Health Care is over 40% and Education is close to 20%, they both increase every year, should that not be discussed? Should that have come up in the first or future Debates ?

    PM Justin should have been there and the Moderator could and should have asked him why Canadians are forced to pay a ridiculous Carbon Tax when only one Province endorses that usurious Tax . There is absolutely no evidence it does anything but keep vegetables off the table of Hard Working Tax Paying Canadians .

    I would have loved the Moderator ask the empty Podium, Singh, and May, “How and why do you expect Hard Working Tax Paying Canadians to pay a Carbon Tax when Canada’s contribution to Carbon is barely 1% of the Worlds when China and India who have so many once Canadian and American manufacturing jobs are not required to take any meaningful measures for 25 years or so” ?

    I am certain we would get the same answer from the PM if he was there as we would have been given from the empty Podium and much the same from Singh and May .

    Canadians need to have an absent PM and other National Party Leaders how they can control Government Bloat and Government Waste, we already pay enough Tax, Tax Increases Do Not Make Canadians better off, Tax Increases without Government Efficiencies just make the Canadian Tax Payer poorer .

    That is one of the many reasons we need to have a set number of televised, on-line, and radio broadcast Debates for Eligible Party Leaders so all Canadians regardless of how remote they may be have more opportunity to cast an informed Ballot .

    For any Leader especially a PM to so arrogantly not appear is indeed “Give the Finger to Canadians of all descriptions .

    As has been discussed up the page we need Hard Rules set out for Four Debates and all invited Leaders must attend .

    I find it absolutely incredible that Media over al dropped the question so quickly and did not demand more accountability from PM Justin on why he “Blew Off” Canadians and did not appear in the Maclean’s City Debate .

    That is something I might expect in Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, or other similar Country .

    The Arrogance of PM Justin tels me exactly what he thinks of the Canadian People .

    Hell, even some of his most ardent supporters must question his character and respect for his fellow Canadians on this one .

    May speaks well but spouted absolutely nothing that makes sense or is in fact affordable, attainable, or even hopeful to take place for decades .

    As to SNC Lavalin doing Community Service ? I am embarrassed for her .

    Singh was quite good considering his Party is collapsing under him . He gave the old Ed Broadbent points a good work out but it does not matter, the NDP are a spent force .

    Scheer was quite good as well and he like the other two cares for his Country .

    I would have liked to hear them all much harder on the absent PM Justi, he deserved to be given the same consideration he showed the Canadian Citizens .


    Migration was not discussed at the first Debate but if Canadians do not talk about Migration, Immigration, and Borders in the next two Debates and on the campaign Trail our Canada could be forever changed .

    I hope Harvey allows us to discuss just that in the very near future, Media will not and that discussion needs to begin somewhere and soon.

    (Response: Yes, migration, immigration, refugees and even melting pot versus assimilation will be a topic during the campaign… but not today. H.o)

  36. Leila Paul says:


    I fear our country has already changed irrevocably. There is no going back. Perhaps the best we can hope for is we will see a slow down in the negative aspects.

    (Edited… off topic)

    Harvey identified the importance of the debates.

    This election may be the historical milestone in this country. The role of the debates could have made the election a meaningful restoration of our former sociopolitical standards of the governed being the ones who guide government’s policies.

  37. Lela Paul says:

    I just watched the debate and I think Paul Wells should be the first to be praised for the objective and professional manner he displayed as moderator.

    Andrew Scheer was, IMO, the best of the three. He was so much more animated without too much unnecessary arm or hand movement. His face was warm and he had the perfect combination of confidence in himself while also projecting confidence in the party. That was a surprise for me as my early thoughts on Scheer was that he was too wooden.

    I think in this group, Maxime Bernier may have been a disruptive element; perhaps more of an impediment for himself as well as Scheer and conservative voters.

    Jagmit Singh was also very likeable but seemed too tense as though he was trying too hard. But Singh is clearly sincere despite the possibility he may be too unrealistic.

    I have nothing positive to say about Elizabeth May except I found her almost smug and close to disdainful of her rivals. On the other hand, both Scheer and Singh seemed more courteous of their rivals even though they did argue over one another.

    I don’t think Trudeau could possibly have done himself any good by being there. Trudeau does well when he’s interacting with crowds especially when they already are fans. On the stage, Trudeau would have been isolated from the milieu in which he can exploit his audience’s willingness to suspend their disbelief.

    I’m now wondering if Trudeau may possibly lose the election with Scheer doing better than I’d earlier thought.

    Substantive issues were avoided, as expected, and generalities that cannot be enforced were thrown out as bones with no meat.

    I’d be curious to know what others think, if they watched.

  38. BMCQ says:

    I am not one that believes in conspiracy theories as a rule but after the all of a sudden inclusion of PPC Max into the next two I am beginning to wonder if the Debates are being manipulated .

    DBW was kind enough to take the time to point out how the Commission is made up and it truly appears that on the surface that Commission is bipartisan .

    Having said that who really controls that Commission, who influences the decision to all of a sudden include Max ?

    Who gave Comm Chair Former GG Johnson his Ouija Board so he could all of a sudden determine Max qualified for the Big Dance ?

    Do you not find that rather convenient ?

    What kind of Mumbo Jumbo criteria was used to come to the conclusion Max is in ?

    Of course I am unlike PMJustin who has his very Feminist Gift and of course I am not as gifted as eaf who can sense when someone or something is creepy but just the same my Spidey Senses make me wonder just what is at play here .

    All of a sudden Max is as Good as Gold and he is yes indeed a Prime Time Player .

    Surely that decision to include Max in the Debates all of a sudden could not be because the Libs have Polling that suggests Scheer and the Cons are getting more support than expected and are in fact gaining momentum and are a real threat to win the Majority, nah, no way, they would not uh stoop that low would they ?

    There is no way that Max would be included to help Split the Conservative Vote is there?

    Of course not PM Justin, other Politicians and Commissions are beyond reproach, they would not lie, cheat, manipulate, bully, or anything close to that would they Jody ?

    I do not like what I am seeing here and unfortunately the Libs and Johnson will get away with this as Media as usual will Turn Turtle and instead cover the silly juvenile Climate Change Story thst will do more harm than good to Canadians as they continue to pay an ever increasing ridiculous Carbon Tax .

    What a Sham !

    Of course there is also the possibility that the Commission may have been paying attention to this Blog and they did the morally correct thing and included Max for virtuous reasons .

    This whole decision by Commissioner Johnson leaves me with the distinct odor of Mercaptan and Canadians should be very suspicious, this is far too convenient for me .

  39. 13 says:

    In light or recent developments the title of this topic

    should have read


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