Maclean’s National Leaders Debate: One (and only?)

After Economics the conversation turned to Environment, focusing on the controversial Pipelines.  No leader gave a clear answer.  While Harper spoke of the Keystone XL Pipeline pending approval from American President Obama, the others opposed it, speaking of investing in other resources and ending energy reliance on oil.  May clearly referred to Ontario reducing greenhouse gases after shutting down Coal Powered Plants.

Next on the list: Security.  Harper was under attack by all on the controversial Bill C-51.  Using NATO and UN as his reference, Mulcair said he would only go into a mission if it included allies.  Similar to May, Trudeau said Canada would only go into missions if it included allies.  At the same time he said there were missions Canada would enter such as Syria pre-ISIL to take action against Bashar Al-Asaad, to take action against his stock of arms which Trudeau said have fallen into the hands of ISIL.  Throughout the Security round Harper was the only one to use the words Jihad and Islam.

The final round: Democracy.  Without surprise Harper’s Senate record was first on the list.  After appointing Senators that have classified them as Conservative brought the governing body to the front light Stephen Harper has said not to appoint any more Senators leaving open seats.  Contrary to Mulcair’s attack against Harper on the Senate, laying the foundation for a round of words about its reform, Trudeau and May both opened with democratic reform beginning with the voting system.  Neither spoke of a plan but said they were against opening the constitution but for working with the provinces and Canadians to change the amending formula.  Mulcair did mention changing Canada’s current First-Past-The-Post voting system to Proportional Representation.  He also became part of a squabble with Trudeau about separation.  When Trudeau spoke of the Clarity Act as a start of democratic reform in Canada, using Quebec Separation as a reference, Mulcair went at him, asking why he was bringing separation again.  Harper picked up on it too.

Although each made their own closing remarks, Mulcair and Harper both concentrated on the night’s issues and improving the economy using the party’s stance.  Mulcair spoke to move the NDP closer to the centre from the left.  On the other hand May included as much of her full platform as she could, including reforming Healthcare and bringing Pharmacare into the Health Plan.  Rather than clearly speaking about his platform or debate issues Trudeau spoke about the qualifications needed to become Prime Minister.  Saying it was love for the country, a desire to better it for families, referring to himself being a 40-year-old with three children, Trudeau stole hearts.

Standing on the left, Mulcair and Harper shook hands as the camera backed out.  On the other side Trudeau and May embraced.

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