09.18.2015 08:31 AM

KCCCC Day 47: when a newspaper runs a TV debate

  • This is going to be a long post, because I’ve decided to embed some of my tweets from last night.  I will do two or three on each protagonist – the leaders, the moderator, the format, the pundits, and the aftermath.  Got a comment at the end of it? Make it!








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    Matt says:

    Twitter stats for the debate:

    145,000 generated during the debate

    Elizabeth May received most mentions and retweets.

    Not sure exactly what what means. Could be because she was using twitter to “participate” in the debate.

    Report this morning just 60,000 watched online at the G&M site.

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    Matt says:

    Sorry, should read 145,000 tweets.

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    Christian says:

    Good post. I laughed out loud when you posted your tweet wondering what Trudeau had for dinner. Also agree with your rankings. The biggest loser of the night for me was the Globe and Mail. The way their moderator/editor handled the debate was appalling. Maybe this will help convince the powers that be that we need a far more formalized approach to the way election debates are set up (like the US Presidential debates) and that it takes someone who actually KNOWS what they’re doing to effectively moderate.

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    Matt says:

    David Akin:

    “The big loser? Voters. Anyone who wanted to learn something. Please Globe and Mail – don’t ever host a debate again. You’re just not ready.”

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      ralphonso says:

      Agreed. That moderator made Steve Paikin’s preening look professional.

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    Vancouverois says:

    But why have you ranked the leaders as you have?

    Why Mulcair first by a whisker (heh) ahead of Harper? And why Trudeau far behind the other two?

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    S. Maldon says:

    Agree with the ranking. Trudeau continues to come across as the new guy on the Varsity Debating Team. Last night he was an obnoxious yappy new guy on the VBT.

    Mulcair. He did well and had all the best zingers. However, for the love of god Tom: Lose. The. Beard. Hit. The. Gym.

    Harper was Harper and did ok. He’ll need to up his game if he wants a majority.

    Totally agree that all the factoids and stats being thrown around are very off putting — nobody believes them coming from a politician so they are a waste of time the leaders could be using to sell-sell-sell. ABC. A – Always. B – Be. C – Closing. That’s a leader’s job.

    Disagree about May. Leaders of fringe parties do not belong. Not about being a woman. About not representing enough voters.

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      davie says:

      Lol…at the campaign beginning I thought Mulcair a tad portly, more so than even the well cared for Harper…by contrast Trudeau looks like a greyhound. I though that in a long campaign, Trudeau’s fitness would be a factor.

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    Mitch says:

    I was one of the few Canadians to bother watching it live (As an aside it is deplorable that we will not have a debate broadcast in a format accessible to all Canadians this election. This alone would be reason enough not to vote for Harper) and I had a very different interpretation than Warren. I thought Trudeau clearly won the debate (and I am traditionally an NDP voter. I even give them money every month.). He was passionate and he had presented a clear alternative to the other two leaders.

    I think what is happening here is that those predisposed to like Trudeau find his presentation appealing and authentic. Those who are predisposed not to like Trudeau do not.

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      Maps Onburt says:

      I have five kids… the one that screams the loudest isn’t always the one that is right. Trudeau needed to be sent into the timeout corner to learn how to behave like a respectful teenager.

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        Mitch says:

        Good line but doesn’t really respond to what I said. 🙂

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        Danny Aldham says:

        I am on the same page about Trudeau. I thought he came across as a petulant adolescent. I nearly turned the debate off as I was sick of hearing him, but stayed to see what the two grownups in the room had to say.

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    JAM says:

    Gotta disagree about the ranking.

    I think you have to put Trudeau in 1st. Not for the presentation (slow down buddy) but because of what he was able to accomplish vs. what the others were not. I thought Trudeau was able to seperate himself from the pack in terms of future agenda… Harper seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be pushing an agenda of “more of the same” and frankly if more of the same is what people want his approval rating wouldn’t be in the tank and he’d be ahead. Running a frontrunner campaign is fine… but only if you’re actually the frontrunner. As for Mulclair, you said it yourself “When did @ThomasMulcair become a conservative?” he’s leaving his left flank exposed to Trudeau but unlike Trudeau he doesn’t have a party brand with any history of sound management. Ultimately I think it won’t move much of the needle for any of them… just not enough eyeballs.

    Just my 2 cents

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    doconnor says:

    I don’t know why they thought focusing on one topic would result in more depth. It just limited their selection of talking points so they repeated them over and over.

    I’m not happy how right-wing Mulcair has been.

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      doconnor says:

      I’m looking forward to when the post-Bernie post-Jeremy Corbyn world comes to Canada.

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        Mitch says:

        You and me both

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        Peter says:

        I agree entirely, doconnor. We’ll all be much better off after Bernie and Corbyn are gone.

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    Michael says:

    I think Trudeau actually won the debate. Leftist voters will prefer the Liberal platform over the NDP platform which is exactly what happened in last year’s Ontario election. The French language debates will matter a lot as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if Quebec voters switch from the NDP to the Liberals if that’s the only way they can get rid of Harper.

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      Scott says:

      Chantelle Hebert said many French reporters felt Trudeau won. This will play well in Quebec and could be the turning point in Quebec for Justin.

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      Thomas Gallezot says:

      Francophone Quebec will NEVER vote for Trudeau. I have been saying it for a year. How many time did I heard that the Orange Wave won’t last, that it was all because of Jack Layton, that the Bloc Quebecois will come back under Gillles Duceppe, bla-bla-bla. The reality is our number in Quebec are increasing. And they will keep on increasing. So much so that the ROC will have no choice but to realize that voting NDP is the only way to beat Harper. A piece of advice to the many anglophone pundits who are saying all kind of nonsense about Quebec. Learn the language! You can’t understand a Nation if you don’t understand what they are saying! Not mentioning that it’s an official language for ALL Canada.

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        Scott says:

        Looks like the polls have Trudeau winning the debate, especially in Quebec. He clobbered your guy, angry Tom. I would suggest you mellow out somewhat or you’ll have a stroke on Eday.

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    SD says:

    I turned off the debate because it wasn’t interesting. First, there were the talking heads which caused me to change the channel to the Jays game. The pre-commentary by the Globe reporters and columnists made it seem like they thought that the viewers were imbeciles. Once the debate got underway, I found that all the facts and faux-facts spewed by the leaders were boring. For Stephen Harper, that might be fine. However, for the other leaders, they needed to tell stories about Canadians. I don’t mean full stories. I mean using those facts and telling about how Stephen Harper is making life difficult for Canadians.

    All the leaders did well by not sticking strictly to the Globe’s economic topic. Economic stuff is dry. They talked about other things. I expect we will hear the same thing at the debate on foreign affairs. The leaders won’t talk specifically about creating a solution for peace in the Middle East. They will talk about foreign affairs issues that directly affect Canadians.

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    William says:

    AKA Joe Calgary,

    I agree with your ranking but in the end it’s a loss for both Mulcair and Trudeau. Harper is the most likely beneficiary of anyone sitting on the fence. The other two are unknowns, and for that reason alone one of them needs a knock-out blow in order to unseat Harper. Were Harper in the low 20% mark, or high teens, that would be totally different, but he isn’t, he’s neck and neck with both, and the vote split and the hesitant voter will end up going to Harper.

    Angry Tom peaked way to fast, Justin isn’t selling his program to the centerist, and Harper is exactly where you want to be at the top of a campaign which really only started last week.

    This horseshit in the news about Canadians wanting change is exactly that, pure horseshit. “70% of Canadians want change!”, “62% of Canadians are not happy with the direction of the country!”. Who cares?

    In any given election year, at least since Mulroney, 60% of Canadians want change. Warren, correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Chretien win one of his majorities with like 37.9%? It was like the lowest percentage win for a majority gov. in the history of the country wasn’t it? My math says if that was the case, 62.1% of Canadians wanted change in that election. If 70% of Canadians don’t like Harper, that also means that 70% don’t like Mulcair, and 70% don’t like Trudeau. It’s the dumbest number the media puts out.

    Then there is the general polling… What a fricken travesty!!! How about some real sampling data. Nanos, 998 people across Canada, Enveronics 1200 people, Forum Research 1100 people. How exactly is that a realistic sampling of the population?? Give me a poll with 5000 participants who actually spoke to a live person, and didn’t have to push a button or interact with a computer.

    “If an election were held today, which party leader would you vote for:

    a) Mulcair
    b) Harper
    c) Trudeau
    d) Elizabeth May
    e) Pope Benedict

    Please state you choice now: “I chose “a”.”
    Your choice was “e” Pope Benedict, is this correct? Please say “yes” if it is, “no” if it is not correct.
    “You have confimed “e” was your selection, thank you for participating.” click.

    I agree, Mulcair needs to shave that damn beard off. Between those manical eyes and that beard, I wouldn’t let him open the door for my 80 year old mother. You want to have a beard fine, but when you are selling yourself as Prime Minister, shave the damn thing off so I can see your face.

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    CM says:

    Generally I found that people who didn’t like Trudeau’s style (too loud etc.) were older white dudes (Andrew Coyne etc sorry WK.)

    The general tone that Harper and Mulcair showed was that Trudeau was a too young, too rich kid who didn’t belong on the stage with them.

    Trudeau basically was telling them, “you can’t shut me up”

    My impression is that although this may not resonate with the older crowd JT was appealing to a many younger voters, women and visible minorities who have been treated the same way i.e you don’t belong. For these people I believe Trudeau spoke to them.

    For this group of people I think that Mulcair came off as smug and condescending and Harper just seemed too old last night — very much like a dad exasperated by all his teenage son’s new ideas.

    Trudeau was relentless about pushing his message: investing in the future, tax the top 1 percent and more money for the people who need it.

    I think Trudeau did much better than you think.

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      Bart F. says:

      Justin’s plan seemed be to keep repeating endlessly the same canned put downs and platitudes. Some of them sounded inspiring and earnest in a general sense and if you like that sort of thing you like that sort of thing. There is an audience for this no doubt.

      However the annoyance one feels when a teenager keeps loudly chiming in on an adult discussion and repeating the same couple of things ad nauseum is not a reaction experienced exclusively by rural Alberta dwelling hetero angry old white men.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    Lot of Liberal supporters here, can anyone please tell me:

    How much more is Trudeau actually going to tax the top 1% and how much more revenue will that bring to the government?

    I asked a Liberal candidate and he could not answer.

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      doconnor says:

      On the last page of this it says the tax increase will by $3 billion on the rich and the tax decrease on middle income earners will be $3 billion.

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        MississaugaPeter says:


        As I figured …

        The top 1% are those making $200,000 and more. Their Federal tax rate will go from 29% to 33%.

        The folks that will get to share the 1% folks’ money and get a Federal tax cut are those between $44,701 – $89,401 who will see their Federal tax rate go from 22% to 20.5%.

        Folks making less than $44,701 will not get any of the 1% folks’ money. I guess they do not vote frequent enough.

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    cynical says:

    As another older white dude, I was greatly disappointed in the debate. It did nothing to help me make a decision on which of the three ABC options I have. And yes, Trudeau came across as yappy and incoherent.
    For all the people that for ten years have been waiting for the opportunity to tell Harpo or one of his goons what they actually thought, maybe Trudeau was acting as our avatar, and yelling at Harper in our stead.
    For Harper and crew, accountability is showing up for an election every few years. There are a lot of us who would like to see them show up at real debates, real public speeches, and real candidate debates, not the hyper-controlled appearances that we actually get. We have buckets of rotten eggs ready, and it could be Trudeau was speaking for us, however ineffectively.
    Yes, there is a Harper Derangement Syndrome. Certainly I have it.

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      CM says:

      Yes I thought Justin Trudeau channelled the anti-Harper crowd’s exasperation with his time as PM better than Mulcair.

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    SF Thomas says:

    Personally I though the debate was a draw. Harper got his point across, stick with the status quo, although if that wins him enough votes since people are interested in change is a different story. Mulcair had the right mix of being angry at a few select moments to show some passion and appearing fairly moderate. Trudeau was likely aiming for a different audience than Harper and Mulcair, both the more left leaning side of the political spectrum or people who are a bit tired and want more government action, more quickly.

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    Lance says:

    Like I said in the earlier thread………….

    Harper “won” by not losing when both of his opponents needed him to; Trudeau “lost”by not winning when his supporters needed him to; Mulcair won overall by losing the “least”.

    It is amazing that someone that has been PM 10 years, with all the baggage which we are told that he has, isn’t getting his ass kicked to kingdom-come; not in the debate, but overall in every conceivable way.

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      Brad says:

      he is getting his ass kicked, but no-one is paying attention or cares

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        Lance says:

        Except the party and leader that gets their committed vote out the best. Care to take a stab at who that is? 😉

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    Scott says:

    You have to ask yourself, what do I remember most from that debate about any plan to speak of. Any kind of policy. It was Trudeau’s plan. Out of work oil patch guys. Get them building up the country while rates are low. Oil might stay low for years. Invest in the country. This fiscal austerity Conservative crap. If they were always in power, that’s what you’d have, an austere life, start to finish.

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    Jason says:

    What I am finding very interesting about this debate is how vastly different people are viewing it.

    The group I was with thought, unexpectedly, that Trudeau was the clear winner. Following the debate, on the At Issue CBC panel, we were shocked that Andrew Coyne thought he did poorly. Then Chantal Hebert says the opposite.

    Then this morning, the Globe front page practically endorsing Trudeau, and the NP claiming Mulcair is the clear winner.

    My father, a traditional Red Tory/Blue Liberal business type, who I would have thought would jump ship over Trudeau’s tack to the left with deficit financing, texted (which he has recently learned how to do) to say he thought Trudeau did very well, Mulcair looked too smug, and Harper doesn’t seem at all like he’s telling the truth.

    Bottom line is, there are a bunch of divergent opinions on how the debate went, how it reflects on the leaders, etc. I wonder what this all says psychologically about the electorate right now?

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    JPSD says:

    The reality of the matter is that to each of their own supporter base, each leader did a stand up job.

    You may think Trudeau did horribly, but to some he was able to clearly establish himself as the alternative to Stephen Harper. Both have very distinguishable plans and both articulated exactly why they wanted voters to vote for them.

    Mulcair? What was he selling? All I got out of that 2 hour debate from Mulcair was that a) Tommy Douglas is someone I need to google up, b) Mulcair was a provincial Minister once upon a time, and c) he took the time to memorize more about Trudeau’s voting record than he did his answers to the questions. Aside from his condescending tone, the only thing he managed to convey is that you should vote for him because he’s Canada’s loveable grandpa.

    I mean, you can chastise Trudeau for coming off as too aggressive but if his mission was not to get lost somewhere between Mulcair and Harper, I think he succeeded. In such a deadlocked race everyone is looking for something to boost them ahead. Only time will tell whether this debate achieved that, but at this point I think its fair to say that no one definitively declare a winner.

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      doconnor says:

      “The reality of the matter is that to each of their own supporter base, each leader did a stand up job.”

      Me and other NDP supporters here didn’t seem to be happy with Mulcair, while some Liberal supporters said he won.

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    gyor says:

    What I remember most was Mulcair telling Trudeau that when given 2 pieces of contradictory advise, pick one, not both! And Harper getting schooled on corporate taxes. Justin thinking he can win the debate by drowning out all the other voices. The moderator should have cut Justin’s mike several times, and Harper’s once when his finial sentance became a paragraph.

    The camera work was aweful, just really bad. Mulcair’s preformance was more lively, but that was the only improvement over the Mclean’s debate. After this election never agian should debates be given to print media who have no experience in the medium of television/web shows.

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    Jean Blacke says:

    Operation Puff the Magic Dragon

    Mulcair won big. Why? Because he went full-on Trump with his jab at puffs of smoke. People love measured ad hominem. And unlike the university debating society, for the voter, this IS ultimately about the man, rather than any position. The televised man is the message.

    As such, the barb of Justin as Trustifarian Fundy was only set deeper with shrill, loud, angry, near-hysterical freak-outs. Don’t take the brown acid people. Likewise, Trudeau’s motorcade hit to Harper didn’t land. After all, JT, like PET, was driven to school by chauffeurs. And, if JT were to become PM, he would simply take over the motorcade. Subtext of envy? Entitlement?

    The Liz May question? If Trudeau was really the sensitive feminist, he would have stood aside and let a woman become Liberal leader. Likewise Mulcair. Bottom line: May is splitting the ‘progressive’ vote. If she really believes Harper is the devil, she would endorse Trudeau or Mulcair. But, she tweets from the basement in a vaguely Unabomber vibe.

    Oddly this week, as a staunch federalist, I find myself in strange agreement with Duceppe, the only one defending the Quiet Revolution against sharia operatives. If the debate failed, it is because the things that matter most to les Canadiens are off-limits for public discussion.

    Strange times.

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      Mark says:

      So the gist of what you’re trying to say is, everyone sucks… except Harper?

      I can agree that all of these progressive leaders are playing up their “sensitivity” to social matters, but how the hell is Harper any better than them? The guy will be paid his 4 millionth [taxpayer] dollar soon and will have been in politics for most of his entire professional life. If he really gave a damn about taxpayers he would’ve got his goddamn mouth off the public teet years ago.

      Are they all disappointing? Sure why not.

      Even more disappointing, however, is your attempt to inject nobility into Duceppe’s own politically strategic pandering on a wedge-issue. Your shoe-horn stab at Canadian-patriotism is duly noted.

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    ottlib says:

    I did not see a single minute of the debate. I decided to spend that time in the gym working out. I think it was the right call.

    Who won or lost the debate today is a silly argument. As past campaigns have demonstrated the impact of debates are usually not known until days afterwards, if they have any impact at all.

    My impression from reading and viewing the coverage of the debates is that all three of them came away with positives from the debate. This was confirmed by just a cursory viewing of the three different twitter feeds.

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    Christian Giles says:

    Best take on what Robyn Urback called Thursday’s ‘Tire fire of a debate’. Courtesy of Andrew Coyne

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