CBC Digital Archives

2005 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.

It's a Friday night during the busy holiday season, but there's a gift on TV for those Canadians who enjoy a little political sparring with their eggnog. Four leaders - Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois, Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, Jack Layton of the NDP and Paul Martin of the Liberals - are in Vancouver to debate questions from Canadians. In this CBC-TV recap, supporters wave signs outside as the leaders inside argue about same-sex marriage, the sponsorship scandal, national unity and relations with the United States.
• According to the Canadian Press, 10,000 Canadian submitted questions for the debate. Though the format was meant to force the leaders to directly address voters' concerns, noted the review, "All four [leaders] found a way to draw blood from what was supposed to be a bloodless format."

• The French debate the night before also took questions from voters. As in the English debate, the moderator was authorized to ask follow-up questions.

• The debates in the previous election in 2004 drew criticism for their often chaotic mix of cross-accusations, chatter and leaders talking over one another. In this debate, each leader answered the question in turn as the microphones for the other three were turned off.

• Unable to counter attacks as they came, the leaders responded in various non-verbal ways, according to the Canada Press. They fidgeted, furrowed their eyebrows, smiled serenely and raised their fingers.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Dec. 16, 2005
Guest(s): Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Paul Martin
Anchor: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Terry Milewski
Duration: 4:29

Last updated: February 3, 2012

Page consulted on June 17, 2013

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Paul Martin, prime minister no longer

Paul Martin is defeated at the polls and steps down. Two Liberal insiders perform the politica...

2004 leaders' debate

A close race makes for a high-stakes debate in 2004.

Untold Stories of 9/11

One year after 9/11, Canadian decision-makers recall how the day unfolded for them. 

Not so smooth sailing on the St. Lawrence Sea...

The Seaway experiences one of its worst shipping seasons.