Trudeau tops Twitter stats, Google searches during Munk debate

Justin Trudeau received nearly twice as many mentions on Twitter as Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair combined.

Liberal leader had the most mentioned handle on Twitter

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, right, walks on stage as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair prepare for the Munk Debate on Canada's foreign policy in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

While Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau jousted over Canadian foreign policy issues in Toronto, the Internet followed the Munk debate via Google and Twitter, weighing-in and responding in real-time.

While the federal election is still weeks away, there was a clear winner in online searches based on statistics from Google and Twitter — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau's Twitter handle was by far the most mentioned during the debate.

Cam Gordon, a communications spokesman for Twitter Canada, told CBC News in a written statement that Trudeau's Twitter handle was mentioned 8,934 times over the course of the debate.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's Twitter handles were mentioned far fewer times, at 2,544 and 2,182 mentions respectively. Though she was not invited to the debate, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's Twitter handle was mentioned 1,144 times.

For comparison, Trudeau's handle was also the most mentioned during the Globe and Mail's leaders' debate (8,126 times), when Mulcair's account was mentioned 5,562 times and Harper's profile received 5,394 mentions. May had the most mentions that night, with 14,161, even though she was also not invited to the Globe's debate.

During Monday's debate, Trudeau was the most searched leader on Google, just barely edging out Harper. Both leaders easily eclipsed Mulcair, by a 3 to 1 ratio, according to Google Canada.

Two of the three main leaders' Twitter accounts remained active throughout the debate, with Mulcair and Trudeau tweeting out short debate video clips, pictures and memorable zingers. Trudeau's account tweeted the most (83 times), while Mulcair's account tweeted 52 times.

Neither Harper's personal account nor the Conservative party account tweeted during the debate.

Trudeau also had the most re-tweeted post of the night, with a photo and quote about helping Syrian refugees. It was sent from his account 22 minutes into the proceedings. The photo was re-tweeted more than 360 times as of 11 p.m. ET.

Topics during the debate ranged from Syria and citizenship to maternal health and anti-terror Bill C-51. Twitter users were searching these issues and policies as they were being discussed.

The most mentioned issue on Twitter was Canada-U.S. relations. That is no surprise given that the topic took up a sizeable chunk of the debate, with the leaders sparring over the Keystone pipeline and Harper's relationship with U.S. president Barack Obama.

The next most-discussed topics on Twitter were climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis and international trade. Russian President Vladimir Putin, ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also made the top 10.

Twitter Canada's Steve Ladurantaye tweeted out the full most discussed list, which also included some colourful honourable mentions, like Trudeau's "big sled, no dogs" zing to Harper and the accents of the debate translators. 

Twitter users also searched for Pierre Trudeau, who was brought up in the debate by his son. Monday marked the 15th anniversary of his death.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.