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Leaders debate women's issues in 1984

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.

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In 1984, the leaders of the country's three main political parties spar about abortion, daycare, equal pay, cutting the deficit and world peace. It's the first, and so far, only federal election debate on women's issues in Canadian history. This is the last of the 1984 election's three televised debates, with John Turner and Brian Mulroney playing it safe, with Mulroney staying mum on abortion and Turner afraid to make a gaffe. But NDP Leader Ed Broadbent fires away, his policies in sync with the feminist agenda.

This is the first half of this televised debate. The second half is currently unavailable due to technical issues.

• The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) organized the 1984 debate on women's issues.  Over 2,000 women lined up for two hours outside the Royal York Hotel in Toronto to get into the live debate. 

• A theatre critic interviewed on CBC Television after the debate said Mulroney had the "best style," before labelling him "glib" and "superficial."  She said John Turner "tries too hard and looks like he doesn't expect anyone to believe him." Broadbent came across honestly, as "he wears the coat of his convictions."

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Aug. 15, 1984
Guest(s): Ed Broadbent, Brian Mulroney, John Turner
Anchor: Peter Mansbridge
Host: Chaviva Hosek
Moderator: Caroline Andrew
Panellist: Kay Sigurjonsson, Eleanor Wachtel, Renée Rowan, Francine Harel-Giasson
Duration: 1:51:43
This clip is bilingual with English translation.

Last updated: March 30, 2012

Page consulted on May 28, 2014

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