English Debate in Federal Elections: What Every Leader Should Do – Macleans.ca

Andrew MacDougall: From Erin O’Toole deflecting gun safety attacks to Annamie Paul saving furniture, every leader has a must-do list in Thursday’s showdown.

The impact of political debates on campaigns is, for some, overrated. Well, ask Erin O’Toole if her answer on assault weapons in the TVA leaders debate in French last week had any impact. The fact that we’ve been talking about guns for much of the intervening period suggests that they do matter.

But some debates matter more. That’s why tonight’s English debate, the first of this campaign, a day before the early polls open and just 11 days before Canadians vote en masse, matters a lot. With polls showing a stalemate at the top, tonight’s debate offers the best opportunity for leaders to come forward and make their case.

The biggest barrier to clear communication with Canadians could be the format of tonight’s debate: there are five moderators accompanying the five party leaders, meaning each leader will have precious minutes to speak and little chance to speak further. beyond a fragment. If last night’s French version is any indication, tonight will be some doggy breakfast.

So what should each leader accomplish? What do they need to say? Let’s think.

Justin Trudeau (Liberals)

You need to do?

Trudeau has to rally the cautious progressives back to Camp Liberal and revitalize his base, which must be quite disappointed with how the electoral “campaign” has gone to date.

How will do?

Smashing the NDP’s climate “blueprint” and encouraging progressives to join Canada’s best plan to tackle climate change.

Once the NDP’s climate plan has been properly attacked, Trudeau will remove the concealed AR-15 strapped to his back, point it at the camera and say, ‘Erin O’Toole wants you to meet this bad boy on the streets of Canada. ‘. ‘.

Desired clip (other than the AR-15 line above, natch)

“Mr. O’Toole will take us back and Mr. Singh does not have a climate plan to move us forward. Only a liberal government has a plan to meet our challenges and move everyone * forward as we emerge from the pandemic.”

* Except legal gun owners.

Erin O’Toole (Conservatives)

You need to do?

A lot. Reach out and reassure suburban voters (particularly in Ontario) who are struggling with the cost of living and home prices, but mistrust some elements of your party. Draw Quebec nationalists into your field and stop any drift to the right towards Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada.

How will do?

Speaking of job creation, your housing plan, worker-friendly policies, and desire to reduce household bills, particularly telecom bills. Represent your party as the party that keeps your word and delivers the goods.

O’Toole should also focus any gun discussion on urban firearm crimes (of concern to the suburban cohort) and not on Trudeau’s list of recently banned weapons used by law-abiding shooters and sport hunters (which are have been used in some of the rare cases in Canada). mass shootings).

Desired clip

“Mr. Trudeau called this unnecessary election amid a deadly pandemic of political opportunism. But this campaign has shown that it is time for a change. Only conservatives have a plan to make life more affordable.”

Jagmeet Singh (NDP)

You need to do?

Convey purpose and drive so that your supporters do not weaken and fall into the trap of voting for Trudeau and his liberals again out of fear. The fact that polls indicate that another minority parliament should help Singh advocate for the NDP to return to being the balance of power.

How will do?

By positioning Trudeau as a centrist in socialist clothing, a man whose actions often fall far short of his soaring rhetoric.

Singh will also present himself as the fundamentally decent choice to cash in on Trudeau’s forced change during the campaign to an angrier and more divisive leader who denounces the screaming anti-vaccine crowds.

Desired clip

“Canadians have gotten the help they needed during this pandemic because the NDP was there to keep Mr. Trudeau honest. A vote for the NDP is a vote to keep our country in the right direction ”.

Yves-François Blanchet (Bloc Québécois)

You need to do?

The usual bloc: portraying Canadian nationalists in Parliament as antithetical to Québec’s needs. He will attempt to paint Trudeau and O’Toole as out of play with his province’s culture, with a particular focus on O’Toole, who will seek to challenge Bloc headlines in and around Quebec City and Montreal.

How will do?

The cunning Gilles Duceppe was the master of stirring the pot in English debates. Blanchet is not Duceppe, but there is no incentive for him to be constructive or reasonable in his second language. Expect him to throw grenades, from Bill 21 to the Montreal school board’s decision to deny Quebec nationality, as recognized by Parliament in 2006. Don’t expect him to make a mistake again and open a path for the Trudeau’s “I’m Quebecer” too. response from Wednesday night debate.

Desired clip

“Only the Bloc Québécois can defend Québec’s interests, either against Mr. O’Toole and his oil companies, or against the bureaucrats who woke up and seized the power of Mr. Trudeau.”

(Sorry that’s all I have)

Annamie Paul (Green Party)

What does she need to do?

What doesn’t Paul need to do? The federal Green Party is collapsing, and the problem comes largely from inside the house. These debates will be the first time that many Canadians have seen Paul, but things are too far away for her to have an impact on the race. That said, Paul needs to take this opportunity to reclaim his dignity and keep the inner wolves at bay.

How will she do it?

Speaking instead of having them speak for them. Paul impressed during the leadership race and those qualities are still there, presumably, and ready for his stellar turn. And since climate change is a problem, the Green Party should have a few words to interest Canadians.

Desired clip

“First, I will put out the dumpster fire in my group and then I will extinguish the planetary emergency.”

Or, more realistically:

“Canada needs a voice that sees everything through the lens of climate change, not just the parts that play on the issue when it is popular. We are running out of time and we need more action on the climate and faster. “


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