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2005 leaders’ debate

The Story

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. Supporters brave the cold to wave signs outside as the leaders inside argue about same-sex marriage, the sponsorship scandal, national unity and relations with the United States.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Dec. 16, 2005
Guest(s): Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Paul Martin
Moderator: Trina McQueen
Duration: 1:58:51

Did You know?

• 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.


• The election results: Conservative Party 124, Liberal Party 103, Bloc Québécois 51, NDP 29 and 1 Independent. 




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