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1993 leaders’ debate

The Story

Just one day after the barking match that was the 1993 French-language debate, the party leaders are at it again - this time in English.  Prime Minister Kim Campbell struggles to explain her deficit-reduction plan as her opponents - Liberal leader Jean Chrétien, the NDP's Audrey McLaughlin, Reform party head Preston Manning and Lucien Bouchard of the Bloc Québécois - wag their fingers so vigorously it's a wonder they don't fall off.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Oct. 4, 1993
Guests: Lucien Bouchard, Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Preston Manning, Audrey McLaughlin
Moderator: Ann Medina
Panellists: Peter Kent, Joe Schlesinger, Leslie Jones
Duration: 2:26:17

Did You know?

• The stage had never been so crowded as in this 1993 debate - marking the first time five party leaders squared off on television.

• The Conservatives tried to block Preston Manning from the debate, demanding all party leaders participate fully in both the French and English language debates.  Unilingual Manning called the move partisan, saying it interfered "with basic freedom of speech." The Reform leader gave an opening and closing statement in the French debate and answered a few (translated) questions.  Although the party didn't have official status before the election, it went on to take 52 seats.

• In 2008, Green Party head Elizabeth May would cite Manning's case when lobbying for a spot in the 2008 leaders' debate.
• CBC's The National called the "savage" debate "a night of political skirmishes," while the next day's Globe & Mail yawned that it was "more of a seminar than a debate."

• The election results: Liberal Party 177, Bloc Québécois 54, Reform Party 52, NDP 9, Progressive Conservative 2, and 1 Independent.


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