Politics·Video

At Issue panel rings the bell on the Globe economy debate

The National's At Issue panel panel rang off on the second federal leaders' debate on the economy, bell and all, on how each of the candidates fared.

The National's At Issue panel panel rang off on the second federal leaders' debate on the economy, bell and all, on how each of the candidates fared.

Postmedia/National Post columnist Andrew Coyne started by saying it was a very good night for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

Harper "was very relaxed, very conversant, and was able to make warnings about his opponents without sounding shrill," said Coyne, who ranked NDP Leader Tom Mulcair as having a "mixed night."

As for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Coyne felt he had rehearsed his lines and "shouted way too much."

Toronto Star national affairs columnist Chantal Hébert laughed and said she could overhear colleagues in Montreal saying Trudeau had a really good night.

"And I'm not saying they're right, or Andrew's wrong," Hebert told CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge. "But I believe that this debate will not break the deadlock... I don't think we'll see one of them breaking away from the pack as a result."

Pollster Bruce Anderson of Abacus Data said the debate marked a beginning with "three leaders who really know what they want to sell and they're actually getting better at selling it."

Trudeau, Anderson said, established on Thursday that he "had the most urgent idea of change, that we really need to get on with change."

"Whether it comes of as too aggressive for some or just the right tone for others, it's just to early to tell."

At that point, Mansbridge deployed Thursday night's frequently used (and equally mocked) tool of Globe and Mail debate moderator David Walmsley — a timer bell.

Watch the full segment above, and find more stories and features from The National here.

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