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Leaders debate women’s issues in 1984 (highlights)

The Story

It's the first, and so far, only federal election debate on women's issues in Canadian history. In 1984, the leaders of the country's three main political parties spar about abortion, daycare, equal pay, cutting the deficit and world peace. In this final of the 1984 election's three televised debates, John Turner and Brian Mulroney play it safe, with Mulroney staying mum on abortion and Turner afraid to make a gaffe. But NDP Leader Ed Broadbent fires away, his policies in sync with feminists' priorities.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 15, 1984
Guest(s): Ed Broadbent, Brian Mulroney, John Turner
Anchor: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Bill Casey
Duration: 4:25

Did You know?

Watch the complete two-hour debate.


• The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) organized the 1984 debate on women's issues. Over 2000 women lined up for two hours outside the Royal York Hotel in Toronto to get into the live debate. 


• The panelists were journalist Eleanor Wachtel, director of the Ontario Women's Teacher Associations Kay Sigurjonsson, University of Montreal business professor Francine Harel-Giasson and Le Devoir columnist Renee Rowan. 


• A theatre critic interviewed on CBC Television after the debate said Mulroney had the "best style," before labeling him "glib" and "superficial."  She said John Turner "tries too hard and looks like he doesn't expect anyone to believe him." Broadbent came across honestly, as "he wears the coat of his convictions."




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