CBC Digital Archives

2000 leaders' debate (highlights)

After months of anticipation and weeks of campaigning, it all comes down to one night. Televised leaders' debates can be the defining moments of federal election campaigns, a couple of hours that can make or break a politician's chances of running the country. From Pierre Trudeau's 1968 small screen debut to the fireworks and finger pointing of Mulroney vs. Turner and ending in 2011, the CBC Digital Archives presents each of the English debates from 1968 to 2011. Follow the news recaps with the "highlights" clips, or watch the debates in their entirety.

For the second night in a row, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien absorbs a verbal barrage from the four challengers for his office. Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark and Canadian Alliance neophyte Stockwell Day supply much of the fireworks in this heated encounter, while New Democrat Alexa McDonough and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe join in the attack. "You're a prime minister without a plan, except to stay in office," accuses Clark, one of many accusations flung at Chrétien in an intense debate.

• This debate marked the second tough night in a row for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who faced abundant criticism in the French-language debate the night before.

• Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day's "No 2-tier healthcare" sign is not only an illegal prop for such debates, it also became an instant object of scorn. Tory leader Joe Clark remarked that Day appeared to be "running for office as some sort of game-show host" and Alliance strategists apologized after the debate.

• Day had served as Canadian Alliance Leader for less than two months before this debate occurred, making this debate a pivotal introduction to Canadians. While acknowledging he got in some good shots against Chrétien, both the Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail concluded Day was "the big loser" of the encounter.

• The biggest losers on election night were the New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives, both of which lost several seats and finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Jean Chrétien's Liberals won a third straight majority with 172 seats and the Canadian Alliance formed the Official Opposition with 66 seats.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Nov. 9, 2000
Guest(s): Jean Chrétien, Joe Clark, Stockwell Day, Gilles Duceppe, Alexa McDonough
Anchor: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Tom Kennedy
Duration: 4:15

Last updated: April 12, 2013

Page consulted on April 12, 2013

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