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2008 leaders’ debate

The Story

The Green Party is new to the table for the leaders' debate going into the election of October 2008. For that matter, the table is new, too. Rather than standing at podiums, the leaders are seated for a round-table discussion. And rather than taking questions from journalists, the leaders -- Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois, Stéphane Dion of the Liberals, Stephen Harper of the Conservatives, Jack Layton of the NDP and Elizabeth May of the Green Party -- are hearing from voters across the country. Steve Paikin of TVOntario moderates the debate.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Oct. 1, 2008
Guest(s): Stéphane Dion, Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Elizabeth May
Moderator: Steve Paikin
Duration: 1:57:41

Did You know?

• Some 4,500 questions poured in from Canadians, and during the debate Paikin noted that a dominant theme among them was that of trust. From among those 4,500 entries, eight people were invited to record their questions on camera, and these were what the leaders addressed. Paikin posed follow-up questions.

• This debate took place the same night as the U.S. vice-presidential debate between Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Democrat Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Paikin, aware that the U.S. debate would compete for viewers, makes reference to it twice.


• The faltering North American economy was the topic for fully one-quarter of the debate's two-hour running time. The rest of the debate topics, and the times at which they happened in this broadcast, are as follows:


• Balancing environmental protection with a sustainable economy, 32:00
• Doctor shortages and the public health-care system, 45:30
• Funding of the arts, 58:00
• Tougher sentences for violent crime, 1:10:00
• Canada's withdrawal date from Afghanistan, 1:23:00
• "What's the very first thing that you're going to do when you get into office?" 1:35:00
• "How can I, a frustrated young voter, sort through the political rhetoric and decide which is the right person or party to vote for?" 01:46:00


Leaders' Debates 1968-2011: Arguing for Canada more