CBC Digital Archives

2006 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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Liberal scandals are the overriding theme of the 2006 leadership debates as Prime Minister Paul Martin seeks to kick-start his campaign and beleaguered party. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pounds away at themes of scandal and corruption, while New Democrat Jack Layton and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe make a case for their own parties and policies. It's high stakes for the prime minister as the election is now just two weeks away.
• This election was called after a vote of no-confidence toppled Paul Martin's Liberal government in November 2005. This was the first time a Canadian government had fallen on a no-confidence vote.

• Two weeks after this debate, Stephen Harper's Conservatives won 124 seats to form a minority government. The Liberals took 103 seats, the Bloc Québécois claimed 51, the NDP won 39 and there was one Independent.

• The Conservative minority was the smallest, but also the longest-serving minority government in Canadian history.

• Paul Martin stepped down as Liberal Leader in February 2006 and the party handed the reins to outgoing defence minister Bill Graham as interim leader. Graham retained the position until the Liberal leadership convention in December 2006, which saw former environment minister Stéphane Dion emerging as party leader.

• The Mayerthorpe incident that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper refers to in this clip is the 2005 shooting deaths of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta. It was the worst single-day loss of life in the RCMP in over a century. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Jan. 9, 2006
Guest(s): Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Paul Martin
Moderator: Steve Paikin
Duration: 1:57:48

Last updated: February 3, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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