The two-hour debate featuring the leaders of four parties began with bang, as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper fended off criticism from his rivals over his record in managing the economy as prime minister over the past decade.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was quick to say that Canada is in a recession, presuming the country is at risk to continue with Harper at the helm.
This was the first appearance in a national debate for Trudeau and Mulcair, and the fifth leaders’ debate for Harper.
It has been suggested that this “Netflix Tax” which Mulcair insists he said nothing of the sort (Trudeau has yet to comment, but no doubt will come out with a statement soon) was a last-ditch attempt to appeal to the young voters, and make them feel he is interested in their wants and needs, The Huffington Post reported.
Harper acknowledged in Thursday’s debate that Canada might be in recession.
Analysts say the election is a toss-up and Harper’s Conservative celebration faces an uphill battle to type one other majority authorities in Parliament. The election is October 19.
Analysts say Mulcair and the opposition New Democrats have a chance to gain power for the first time after the party won control of the legislature in Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, a few months ago.
The leaders spent more than 20 minutes debating energy policy, with Trudeau criticizing Harper for failing to win U.S. approval for the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline.
Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats would implement a pan-Canadian food strategy called “Everybody Eats” in which they lay out a number of initiatives including investing in rural communities, grow farm incomes, ensure agriculture’s sustainability, ease barriers for new farmers and support agricultural marketing boards. “And the fact is, you have become completely disconnected from the reality that people are facing right across the country”, Trudeau told Harper.
For instance, he said his opponents would hike taxes through higher payroll premiums for the Canada Pension Plan.
Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, said Harper performed well in the debate despite repeated attacks and will hold onto his base support. This is not to say that the Prime Minister has not or does not still watch the hit series, but it just seems highly unlikely that it was a casual name-drop during a video in which he is attempting to show Canada’s youth that he is in touch with their interests and therefore is deserving of their votes.
However, a long campaign season could benefit the well-funded Conservative Party. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.