CBC Digital Archives

2004 leaders' debate

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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Incumbent Paul Martin and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are closer than a newlywed couple in the latest polls - and each is hoping the English-language debate will catapult them to the top. But both men, along with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe and the NDP's Jack Layton, hold their ground on the key issues of health care, economic reform, Quebec sovereignty and Canada's involvement in the war in Iraq.
• The federal election was held June 25th. At dissolution, there were 301 seats in House of Commons. For this election, 7 ridings were added for a total of 308 seats.

• Just 60.5 percent of all eligible Canadians voted on June 28 - the lowest turnout since John A. MacDonald swept to victory as Canada's first prime minister in 1867.

• Paradoxically, the close race fired up many Canadians, who tuned into the debates and picked up the newspapers to follow election coverage, according to political science professor Larry LeDuc of the University of Toronto.

• The Liberals squeaked to victory with 135 seats, enough to form a minority government. The Tories won 99 and were denied an even hundred after former Conservative Chuck Cadman, then running as an Independent, won the riding of Surrey North. Cadman was the only Independent to win a seat that year. The Bloc Quebecois won 54 seats and the NDP won 19.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: June 15, 2004
Guest(s): Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Paul Martin
Moderator: Anna Maria Tremonti
Panellist: Keith Boag, Craig Oliver, David Vienneau
Duration: 1:58:34
This clip has left channel audio only.

Last updated: May 8, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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